An eminent microbiologist and geneticist, Rachel Green, Ph.D., is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. She explores the role of ribosomes in translating the genetic information found in all cells. This work is of critical importance for understanding the natural world and for discovering the ribosome’s medical relevance.
Green’s research on ribosome structure and function in bacterial, yeast, and human cells has revealed fundamental mechanisms of protein synthesis. Recently, she has focused on quality control steps imposed on the translational process in eukaryotes: Green and her group use biochemistry, genetic approaches, and ribosome profiling to understand the molecular mechanisms behind how a cell responds when protein synthesis goes awry. These studies will ultimately provide insights into a wide range of human disorders that disrupt ribosome function or the cellular responses to ribosome dysfunction. For example, her work on ribosome rescue and homeostasis sheds light on certain blood disorders and genetic diseases that include premature “stop” signals in the coding information.
Green was appointed as an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in 1998, and promoted to professor in 2007. She was named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2017.
The colliding ribosome as a hub for translational regulation
HHMI, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
mRNA surveillance pathways in eukaryotes moderate the effects of natural genetic or processing errors in the cell and mRNA-specific damage. We have used genetics, proteomics, biochemistry and ribosome profiling experiments in yeast and mammals to identify and characterize critical factors involved in these processes and the role of the colliding ribosome in signaling translational dysfunction. Key kinases that directly bind to ribosome collisions to signal downstream responses include GCN2 and the MAP3K ZAK. Current efforts are focused on biochemical and phosphoproteomic approaches to decipher the signaling networks that allow cells to mount a measured response to environmental insults.