Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

Staff Profile

Dr Claudia Schneider

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Background

Current Post
Royal Society University Research Fellow
Qualifications
PhD in Biochemistry with Prof. Reinhard Lührmann (Philipps-University Marburg, Germany)
Previous Positions
Postdoctoral research with Prof. David Tollervey (Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh). During this time I held independent Fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program Organisation and the European Molecular Biology Organisation.
Memberships
RNA Society, Biochemical Society
Honours and Awards
2011-2019       Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF)
2005-2008       Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Long-Term Fellowship
2005                European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Long-Term Fellowship
2004                Prize for the best PhD at the Faculty of Medicine, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany

Research


Research Interests

Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are the blueprints for protein production, but other types of RNA also drive and modulate all aspects of gene expression. In eukaryotic cells, RNA is never made “ready to use“, and the generation of functional molecules requires a sophisticated network of ribonucleases and co-factors that can mature the RNA. Ribonucleases are also important players in (m)RNA quality control networks, which monitor RNA processing pathways, maintain accurate RNA levels, and recognise and remove faulty molecules.

In many cases it is unclear how target RNAs are recognised and either processed or degraded, and exonucleases were long believed to be the main players. However, this view was challenged by the identification of a group of endonucleases containing PIN (PilT N-terminus) domains, which play key roles in RNA processing and quality control.

We are particularly interested in PIN domain endonucleases involved in RNA maturation, which often requires multiple processing steps. The assembly of ribosomes, large RNA-protein (RNP) machineries that synthesise all cellular proteins, is the major consumer of cellular energy and by far the most complex RNA processing pathway. Ribosome biogenesis determines the proliferative rate of cells and defects are linked to human diseases (“ribosomopathies”) and cancer. Key events in ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing are endonucleolytic cleavages that release mature rRNAs from a large precursor transcript. Here, three PIN domain proteins are required for several RNA cleavage events. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches, we aim to characterise the roles of these PIN domain proteins and the timely and spatial regulation of their activity in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and human cells.

Using budding yeast, we also study the role of a putative PIN domain endonuclease in the nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) messenger (m)RNA surveillance pathway, which degrades faulty mRNAs that could be translated into toxic proteins. Defects in the NMD pathway are linked to ~30% of all inherited human diseases (e.g. Duchenne muscular dystrophy) and cancer. This project also examines the intriguing, but not well understood link between mRNA quality control and genome stability.

Characterising fundamental, evolutionarily conserved processes such as ribosome biogenesis and RNA quality control in two eukaryotic systems offers a strong basis to clarify underlying mechanisms of genetic diseases, cancer and ageing, and will therefore enable the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Google ScholarClick here.


Teaching

Primary and co-supervision as well as marking of PhD, MRes and Undergraduate Final Year Projects (Module CMB3000)

Contribution to Modules BGM3063 (“Biochemistry of Gene Expression”) and BGM3055 (“RNA genetic disease and development”)

Active member of the tutor-tutee mentoring program for students and Post Docs at Newcastle University

Publications