Simona graduated in 2010 in Naples University, Italy with the M.Sc. in Biotechnology. Since October 2011, she's been a PhD student at the Niels Gehring's lab associated to the IGSDHD program.

PhD title: Deciphering the functions of BTZ during mammalian nonsense-mediated mRNA decay

Nonsense mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a gene expression surveillance mechanism that degrades transcripts with premature termination codons (PTCs). In mammals, the presence of an exon junction complex (EJC) downstream of a termination codon leads to the activation of NMD and degradation of the mRNA. The EJC is deposited on mRNAs during splicing and consists of four proteins: MAGOH, Y14, BTZ and eIF4A3. While MAGOH, Y14 and eIF4A3 are primarily localized to the nucleus, Barentsz (BTZ) is the only cytoplasmic core component.

Using different BTZ mutant I aim to identify the function of each domain, the specific interaction partners and the change in RNA-interactome.