Donald Rio

C.H. and Annie Li Chair in the Molecular Biology of Diseases
Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology 
University of California, Berkeley

The human retrotransposon LINE-1 or L1 is activated to transpose when human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) differentiate into neurons and in the human brain. We are studying a family of DNA binding proteins called THAP proteins, one of which, THAP9 is highly expressed in hESCs and which possesses DNA recombination activity in human cells. We are analyzing where in the human genome THAP9 binds using chromatin immunoprecipition and high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq). We are also interested in the patterns of alternative pre-mRNA splicing in pluripotent and differentiated hESCs. These splicing pattern changes can have profound effects in hESC pluriotency. Again, we use high-throughput mRNA-seq methods to study patterns of pre-mRNA splicing in hESCs.