Yi Ren, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Ph.D., Chemistry, Princeton University, Princeton, New JerseyM.S., Chemistry, Fudan University, Shanghai, ChinaB.S., Chemistry, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Research Description
mRNA is packaged with numerous proteins into a ribonucleoprotein particle (mRNP) at all stages of its life. In humans, there are tens of thousands of different mRNA sequences, and many hundreds of mRNA binding proteins. Each mRNP is a unique entity representing the functional form of an individual mRNA. To date, molecular understanding of mRNP structure, dynamics, and function remains obscure.

The Ren Laboratory seeks to investigate the mechanistic and functional aspects of mRNP biology using a broad range of tools including X-ray crystallography, single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, in vitro reconstitution, and cell biological assays. We are particularly interested in the process of mRNP export from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, which is essential for gene expression in all eukaryotes and is often disrupted in various human diseases. Our current work aims to:

(1) Characterize the molecular events that generate mature mRNPs for nuclear export.
(2) Understand how dysregulation of the mRNP export machinery contributes to human diseases.
Research Keywords
RNA biology, virus-host interaction, Cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography
Ren Y, Schmiege P, Blobel G. Structural and biochemical analyses of the DEAD-box ATPase Sub2 in association with THO or Yra1. Elife. 2017 Jan 1/6/2017; 6: PMID: 28059701, PMCID: PMC5218534, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.20070, ISSN: 2050-084X.

Quan B, Seo HS, Blobel G, Ren Y. Vesiculoviral matrix (M) protein occupies nucleic acid binding site at nucleoporin pair (Rae1 • Nup98). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2014 Jun 6/24/2014; 111(25): 9127-32. PMID: 24927547, PMCID: PMC4078809, PII: 1409076111, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1409076111, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Ren Q, Wimmer C, Chicka MC, Ye S, Ren Y, Hughson FM, Whiteheart SW. Munc13-4 is a limiting factor in the pathway required for platelet granule release and hemostasis. Blood [print-electronic]. 2010 Aug 8/12/2010; 116(6): 869-77. PMID: 20435885, PMCID: PMC2924225, PII: blood-2010-02-270934, DOI: 10.1182/blood-2010-02-270934, ISSN: 1528-0020.

Ren Y, Seo HS, Blobel G, Hoelz A. Structural and functional analysis of the interaction between the nucleoporin Nup98 and the mRNA export factor Rae1. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2010 Jun 6/8/2010; 107(23): 10406-11. PMID: 20498086, PMCID: PMC2890840, PII: 1005389107, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1005389107, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Ren Y, Yip CK, Tripathi A, Huie D, Jeffrey PD, Walz T, Hughson FM. A structure-based mechanism for vesicle capture by the multisubunit tethering complex Dsl1. Cell. 2009 Dec 12/11/2009; 139(6): 1119-29. PMID: 20005805, PMCID: PMC2806190, PII: S0092-8674(09)01375-0, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.002, ISSN: 1097-4172.

Tripathi A, Ren Y, Jeffrey PD, Hughson FM. Structural characterization of Tip20p and Dsl1p, subunits of the Dsl1p vesicle tethering complex. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol [print-electronic]. 2009 Feb; 16(2): 114-23. PMID: 19151722, PMCID: PMC2635920, PII: nsmb.1548, DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1548, ISSN: 1545-9985.

Ren Y, Wang WH, Wang YH, Case M, Qian W, McLendon G, Huang ZX. Mapping the electron transfer interface between cytochrome b5 and cytochrome c. Biochemistry. 2004 Mar 3/30/2004; 43(12): 3527-36. PMID: 15035623, DOI: 10.1021/bi036078k, ISSN: 0006-2960.

Wang YH, Ren Y, Wang WH, Xie Y, Huang ZX. The regulation of surface charged residues on the properties of cytochrome b5. J. Protein Chem. 2001 Aug; 20(6): 487-93. PMID: 11760123, ISSN: 0277-8033.