- Undergraduate Education
- B.S. University of California, Davis (1975)
- Graduate Education
- Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles (1981)
- Postdoc. Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (1982-88)
- Joined Texas A&M in 1989
Activation of Transcription at Vertebrate Gene Promoters
An important step to control the amount of RNA or protein in particular types of cells is at the level of transcription of genes. Our lab studies a multifunctional vertebrate transcriptional activator protein known as SBF/Staf/ZNF143. This protein binds to SPH sites within promoters of many genes that produce small stable RNAs (e.g., snRNAs and others) PLUS probably over 2000 promoters of genes that produce mRNAs. Two separate activation domains in this protein direct its action at small RNA vs. mRNA gene promoters. We are using zebrafish as a vertebrate model organism to study the roles of SBF/Staf during development. In vivo studies are coupled with biochemical and molecular biology methods to decipher the mechanisms by which this protein stimulates transcription of various types of genes.
Halbig, KM, Lekven, AC, Kunkel, GR. The transcriptional activator ZNF143 is essential for normal development in zebrafish. BMC Mol. Biol. 2012;13 :3.
Hernández-Negrete, I, Sala-Newby, GB, Perl, A, Kunkel, GR, Newby, AC, Bond, M et al.. Adhesion-dependent Skp2 transcription requires selenocysteine tRNA gene transcription-activating factor (STAF). Biochem. J. 2011;436 (1):133-43.
Curran, K, Lister, JA, Kunkel, GR, Prendergast, A, Parichy, DM, Raible, DW et al.. Interplay between Foxd3 and Mitf regulates cell fate plasticity in the zebrafish neural crest. Dev. Biol. 2010;344 (1):107-18.
Halbig, KM, Lekven, AC, Kunkel, GR. Zebrafish U6 small nuclear RNA gene promoters contain a SPH element in an unusual location. Gene. 2008;421 (1-2):89-94.
Barski, OA, Papusha, VZ, Kunkel, GR, Gabbay, KH. Regulation of aldehyde reductase expression by STAF and CHOP. Genomics. 2004;83 (1):119-29.
Domitrovich, AM, Kunkel, GR. Multiple, dispersed human U6 small nuclear RNA genes with varied transcriptional efficiencies. Nucleic Acids Res. 2003;31 (9):2344-52.
Mach, CM, Hargrove, BW, Kunkel, GR. The Small RNA gene activator protein, SphI postoctamer homology-binding factor/selenocysteine tRNA gene transcription activating factor, stimulates transcription of the human interferon regulatory factor-3 gene. J. Biol. Chem. 2002;277 (7):4853-8.
Hargrove, BW, Bhattacharyya, A, Domitrovich, AM, Kapler, GM, Kirk, K, Shippen, DE et al.. Identification of an essential proximal sequence element in the promoter of the telomerase RNA gene of Tetrahymena thermophila. Nucleic Acids Res. 1999;27 (21):4269-75.
Rincon, JC, Engler, SK, Hargrove, BW, Kunkel, GR. Molecular cloning of a cDNA encoding human SPH-binding factor, a conserved protein that binds to the enhancer-like region of the U6 small nuclear RNA gene promoter. Nucleic Acids Res. 1998;26 (21):4846-52.
Kunkel, GR, Hixson, JD. The distal elements, OCT and SPH, stimulate the formation of preinitiation complexes on a human U6 snRNA gene promoter in vitro. Nucleic Acids Res. 1998;26 (6):1536-43.