Stepanka Vanacova is an Associate Professor at the Central European Institute of Technology at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Stepanka was born in Prague, where she also received her Ph.D. (2001) in Parasitology from Charles University. Following three years, she spent at UCLA as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Patricia J. Johnson studying pre-mRNA splicing and transcription regulation in a human pathogen Trichomonas vaginalis. Being frustrated by the lack of tools in this organism, she decided to work in a more established model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In 2004-2007, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the group of Walter Keller at Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland, where she significantly contributed to the identification of polyadenylation-mediated RNA surveillance pathway in the yeast nucleus. In 2008 she established her own group at the Masaryk University, which mostly focuses on the molecular mechanisms of RNA quality control and degradation in yeast and mammalian cells. Stepanka serves as a reviewer for a number of journals and grant agencies. She is actively involved in promoting RNA science in the country by organizing meetings, workshops and together with other six colleagues they established a dynamic Czech RNA Center.
We have profound interest in using the cutting edge approaches to uncover and understand how RNA processing and modifications regulate gene expression, cellular metabolism and overall development of a eukaryotic organism. In our research, we mainly focus on the mechanism and function of the 3′ terminal tailing of noncoding RNAs and the role internal adenosine methylations in coding and ncRNAs. Most, if not all RNAs in the cell are produced in a form of a precursor. The processing steps often involve a large number of additional protein and sometimes also other RNA factors. Cells therefore had to evolve mechanisms that monitor these processes and efficiently remove any by products and aberrantly produced RNA molecules. Second, we are interested in the erasers of internal RNA modifications, namely adenosine methylation, which regulates number of steps of RNA life. The strength and competitiveness of our research is in integrating high-throughput studies, cell biology, biochemistry and structural biology approaches.
We tackle these intresting and important topics by combination of different tools of molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry with advanced high-throughput approaches of transcriptomics, genetics and proteomics. Moreover, we have well-established collaborations with developmental biologists, chemists and structural biologists.
Key publications here
Bartosovic, M; Covelo Molares, H; Gregorova, P; Hrossova, D; Kudla, G; Vanacova S. 2017 N6-methyladenosine demethylase FTO targets pre-mRNAs and regulates alternative splicing and 3′-end processing. Nucleic Acids Res, 45: 11356–11370.
Ustianenko, D; Pasulka J; Feketova, Z; Bednarik, L; Zigackova, D.; Fortova, A; Zavolan, M; Vanacova, S. 2016 TUT-DIS3L2 is a mammalian surveillance pathway for aberrant structured noncoding RNAs. EMBO Journal, 35:2179-2191.
Ustianenko D., Hrossova D., Potesil D., Chalupnikova K., Hrazdilova K., Pachernik J., Cetkovska K., Uldrijan S., Zdrahal Z., Vanacova S. 2013 Mammalian DIS3L2 exoribonuclease targets the uridylated precursors of let-7 miRNAs. RNA 9:1632-8.
Tudek A., Porrua O., Kabzinski T., Lidschreiber M., Kubicek K., Fortova A., Lacroute F., Vanacova S., Cramer P., Stefl R., Libri D. 2014 Molecular basis for coordinating transcription termination with noncoding RNA degradation. Mol Cell. 55:467-81.
Kubicek K., Cerna H., Holub P., Pasulka J., Hrossova D., Loehr F., Hofr C., Vanacova S. and Stefl R. 2012 Serine phosphorylation and proline isomerization in RNAP II CTD control recruitment of Nrd1 Genes & Dev. 26:1891-6.
Vanacova S., Wolf J., Martin G., Blank D., Dettwiler S., Friedlein A., Langen H., Keith G., Keller W. 2005 A new yeast poly(A) polymerase complex involved in RNA quality control. PLoS Biol. 3:0986-97.