The Mediator complex is a multi-subunit assembly required for regulating expression of most RNA polymerase II (pol II) transcripts, which include protein-coding and most non-coding RNA genes. Mediator is generally targeted by sequence-specific, DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) that control gene expression programs in response to developmental or environmental cues. Mediator functions by relaying signals from TFs directly to the pol II enzyme. Thus, Mediator is essential for converting biological inputs (communicated by TFs) to physiological responses (via changes in gene expression). The Taatjes lab examines the basic mechanisms that underlie Mediator function, with the goal of identifying key molecular interfaces (and/or molecular probes to target these interfaces) that contribute to its broad regulatory influence on gene expression. We are also actively studying factors that influence Mediator structure and activity, including TFs, non-coding RNAs, and the CDK8 module.
Transcription, structural biology, biophysics, cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, biochemistry and molecular biology, aging, signaling, metabolism