Kaustuv Datta

Proper mitochondrial biogenesis and its optimal functioning are critical to numerous cellular processes including adaptation to nutrient availability and stress. The importance of mitochondria is underlined by the fact that 1 in 5,000 humans suffers from a mitochondrial disease and a large subset of these diseases are due to defects leading to sub-optimal mitochondrial gene expression. Mitochondria require coordinated expression of nuclear and its own genome, thus requiring its own translation apparatus in addition to its cytosolic counterpart. Cytosolic ribosome biogenesis has been extensively studied with the discovery of ~170 assembly factors. In contrast very little attention has been paid to understanding mitochondrial ribosome biogenesis. Although bacterial ribosomes are considered ancestors of the mitochondrial ribosomes, they have numerous distinctions. During mitochondrial evolution, the RNA content of the ribosome has reduced approximately 50% in mammalian mitochondria whereas the protein content has increased, presumably to compensate for the loss of rRNA domains. Mitochondrial ribosomal proteins and assembly factors can be classified in three categories: (i) those that are universally conserved from prokaryotes to lower as well as higher eukaryotes, (ii) those that are conserved from lower to higher eukaryotes and (iii) those that are conserved from prokaryotes to lower eukaryotes.  Ribosome biogenesis is a complex multistep process involving temporal processing and modification of rRNA as well as coordinated loading of ribosomal proteins onto rRNA to form functional subunits. This requires numerous auxiliary factors that aid in maturation of precursor molecules into functional subunits including monomeric GTPases and RNA helicases. My current research is focused on understanding the regulation of mitochondrial ribosome function/biogenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have chosen to study the role of putative ribosome assembly/regulatory factors that fall in the above three categories.
Major Research Findings
Dr. Datta’slab is involved in deciphering the role of novel GTPases involved in mitochondrial ribosome function/biogenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Recent Publications
  1. Datta K, Guan T, Gerace L. NET37, a nuclear envelope transmembrane protein with glycosidase homology, is involved in myoblast differentiation J Biol Chem. 2009  23;284(43):29666-76
  2. Liu G, Guan T, Datta K, Coppinger J, Yates J3rd, Gerace L. Regulation of Myoblast Differentiation by the Nuclear Envelope Protein NET39. Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Nov;29(21):5800-12.

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