Prof. Ya-ming Hou
Ya-ming Hou is interested in the specificity of translation of the genetic code, focusing on the questions of how tRNAs are synthesized, matured, modified, aminoacylated, and function on the ribosome.
The tRNA molecules are essential for the specificity of decoding, which is the key determinant in the speed and quality of cell growth. Elevated levels of tRNAs can lead to cancer, while deficiency in tRNAs can lead to cell toxicity.
During decoding, a tRNA is charged with a specific amino acid to form an aminoacyl-tRNA, which enters the ribosome at a codon position cognate to the anticodon. In the ribosome, the charged tRNA donates its amino acid to peptide bond formation and then transits through. The entire process is complex, dynamics, and includes different tRNA activities and functions that are achieved by interactions with various protein partners.