Shulamit Michaeli

In my research group we study RNA-mediated processes in the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania. Trypanosomes are the causative agent of major parasitic diseases. These organisms are ancient eukaryotes, hey lack transcriptional regulation and their gene regulation is mainly post-transcriptionally regulating mRNA stability, translation and trans-splicing (Michaeli S Future Microbiology , 2010).

In trypanosomes all mRNAs are processed by trans-splicing whereby a small RNA, the spliced leader RNA (SL RNA) donates its exon to all mRNAs. Our group is exploring the mechanism of alternative trans-splicing and two very unique processes that were discovered in our group. The spliced leader silencing (SLS) which is an apoptotic pathway that is activated under ER stress, and the SL RNA excretion mechanism that controls the social motility of these parasites (Michaeli S, Parasites and Vectors 2012).

Our group described over the years the entire repertoire of the small non-coding RNA including tens of snoRNAs that are involved in rRNA processing and modification and other unique functions. We are studying the role of RNA modification in adaption during cycling of the parasites between the mammalian and insect hosts. In the last five years, my group has begun to develop nano-carriers for gene silencing and to explore the mechanism of silencing and the role of small and long non-coding RNAs in mammalian cells.