Subject: Biochemistry and Structural Biology
Institution: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
From October 2019
Dr Rodriguez-Molina’s general research interests have focused on understanding how RNA is synthesised from a DNA template (transcription) as well as the many processes that accompany transcription. After completing a BS in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Juan began his doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr Aseem Ansari at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, Juan studied how enzymes regulate RNA Polymerase II (Pol II); the machinery that carries out transcription. He developed a general, covalent inhibition strategy for the targeted inactivation of kinases that modify Pol II. This new strategy has been independently and successfully adopted by other research groups highlighting its usefulness and general applicability.
Juan is now a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr Lori Passmore at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where he combines biochemistry and structural biology approaches to understand the cleavage and polyadenylation factor (CPF). During transcription, CPF releases the newly made RNA from the site of transcription through an endonucleolytic cleavage and then adds a protective polyadenosine tail. These two steps (cleave and polyadenylation) are crucial in gene expression as they prepare the RNA for export to the cytoplasm and its eventual translation into protein by the ribosome.
When not engaged in exciting research, Juan devotes most of his time to having quality time with his family, thinking about his research, and household chores (in that order).
Select publications and awards
Lidschreiber M, Easter AD, Battaglia S, Rodríguez-Molina JB, Casañal A, Carminati M, Baejen C, Grzechnik P, Maier KC, Cramer P, Passmore LA. The APT complex is involved in non-coding RNA transcription and is distinct from CPF. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Nov 30;46(21):11528-11538.
Rodríguez-Molina JB*, Tsend SC*, Simonett SP, Taunton J, Ansari AZ. Engineered Covalent Inactivation of TFIIH-kinase Reveals an Elongation Checkpoint and Results in Widespread mRNA Stabilization. Mol Cell. 2016 Aug 4; Aug 4; 63(3): 433–444.
Tietjen JR, Zhang DW*, Rodríguez-Molina JB*, White BE*, Akhtar MS, Heidemann M, Li X, Chapman RD, Shokat K, Keles S, Eick D, Ansari AZ. Chemical Dissection of the CTD code. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Sep;17(9):1154-61.
Juan de La Cierva Postdoctoral Fellowship (gratefully deferred)