Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2023
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Or Gozani (Biology) and James Chen (Chemical & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, Chemistry)

Research Title: Cracking the eEF1A Code: Unraveling the Differential Roles and Disease Relevance of eEF1A Lysine Methylation States in Regulating Proteome-Wide Translation Dynamics

Research Description: The eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A (eEF1A) is an essential protein involved in the elongation step of protein translation. eEF1A is subject to extensive and dynamic chemical modification by a number of different enzymes, including those that methylate specific lysine residues within the protein; by modulating eEF1A’s activity during translation, these methylation events could alter the output of cellular protein synthesis, thus representing a new layer of gene-expression regulation in human health and in diseases such as cancer. Pradnya proposes an approach that integrates quantitative proteomics, molecular & chemical biology, and cancer physiology to precisely characterize how different eEF1A methylation states influence protein translation and cellular phenotypes in clinically relevant systems. The results will offer key mechanistic insights into the (dys)regulation of protein synthesis in recalcitrant diseases such as aggressive lung and pancreatic cancers.