The long term research interests of my group are to understand the fundamental interactions regulating essential events involving RNA in the translational and post-translational processes on both the structural and cellular levels using NMR spectroscopy and various other biophysical, biochemical, and biological methods.
Currently, the lab focuses on the key structural element(s) in 3' and 5' prime UTR RNAs that are important for gene regulation. One example is the 3' UTR of the VEGF mRNA. A 3' UTR RNA fragment in the VEGF mRNA regulates its own gene expression by interacting with EPRS and hnRNAP-L. VEGF is the most dominant proteins factor in angiogensis and plays a very important role in many types of tumors, including breast cancer. My lab is studying the structural basis of an adenine riboswitch, which regulates the gene expression in response to the level of adenine as a metabolite. This riboswitch is located in the 5' end of bacterial mRNA. The structural knowledge of the switching may be important to understand the fundamental mechanism of regulation of gene expression by RNA regulators.
Because of the difficulties encountered in using existing methods to determine the structures of large RNAs, we are also engaged in developing new methods to achieve our research objectives. One such method is combined use of small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) with NMR for structure determination of large RNAs, protein complexes and large molecular assemblies in solution. This lab has been at forefront of promoting the use of SAXS as a complementary tool to NMR for structural biology research. Furthermore, we are also developing new methods for determining high-resolution structures of large RNA in solution and research to achieve this goal is well underway.
Dr. Wang conducted his graduate work on structure determination of fragments of 23S rRNA using NMR spectroscopy and UV-melting experiments in Professor David E. Draper's lab of the Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in October 1994. From 1994 to 2000 he was a postdoctoral later a research fellow in Dr. Dennis Torchia's laboratory where he studied the structure, hydration dynamics of HIV-1 protease in complex with inhibitors and elucidated the 3D structure and a new function of the antitumor/anti-HIV protein MAP30. In the late 2000 he then joined the Structural Biophysics Laboratory of NCI. Using high field NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical and biochemical methods, his group studies the functional structural biology of proteins and RNAs.