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Release: July 12, 2000

UI biochemistry researcher receives $1.3 million grant

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa Health Care researcher David Price, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how cellular mechanisms control the production of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). mRNA is an important intermediate molecule in the complicated series of steps by which the genetic information of DNA is translated into the proteins that allow cells to function properly.

Price and investigators in his laboratory will use the funding to learn more about how the synthesis of mRNA is controlled. In particular they will investigate the regulation of RNA polymerase II, an enzyme involved in making mRNA. mRNAs are very long, and several protein factors control the elongation stage of their synthesis. The overall goal of the proposed studies is to identify all the factors and understand the biochemical mechanisms used by those molecules.

Elongation control is known to play a role in infection by the AIDS virus, and it is likely that the process is also involved in the uncontrolled cellular growth found in cancers. Other studies in the Price lab are aimed at understanding exactly how the AIDS virus takes over the elongation control machinery during infection. It is hoped that in the long run drugs that block this process will be useful in treating AIDS or cancer.

 

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