Maria Vera

Maria Vera
McGill University | McGill · Department of Biochemistry

Doctor of Philosophy

About

37
Publications
6,305
Reads
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1,086
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2019 - present
McGill University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2017 - April 2019
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 2013 - September 2017
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Position
  • Associate

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
Full-text available
Neurodevelopment is accompanied by a precise change in the expression of the translation elongation factor 1A variants from eEF1A1 to eEF1A2. These are paralogue genes that encode 92% identical proteins in mammals. The switch in the expression of eEF1A variants has been well studied in mouse motor neurons, which solely express eEF1A2 by four weeks...
Article
Full-text available
All cells possess an internal stress response to cope with environmental and pathophysiological challenges. Upon stress, cells reprogram their molecular functions to activate a survival mechanism known as the heat shock response (HSR), which mediates the rapid induction of molecular chaperones such as the heat shock proteins (HSPs). This potent pro...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last decades, numerous examples have involved nuclear non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the regulation of gene expression. ncRNAs can interact with the genome by forming non-canonical nucleic acid structures such as R-loops or DNA:RNA triplexes. They bind chromatin and DNA modifiers and transcription factors and favor or prevent their targeting...
Chapter
Neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) are diverse age-related conditions also described as "conformational diseases." The hallmark of NDs is the accumulation of disease-specific proteins as toxic misfolded aggregates in some areas of the brain. They lead to the loss of protein homeostasis (proteostasis) that causes neuronal dysfunction and death. A pot...
Article
Full-text available
Fine-tuning cellular physiology in response to intracellular and environmental cues requires precise temporal and spatial control of gene expression. High-resolution imaging technologies to detect mRNAs and their translation state have revealed that all living organisms localize mRNAs in subcellular compartments and create translation hotspots, ena...
Article
Full-text available
This review focuses on imaging DNA and single RNA molecules in living cells to define eukaryotic functional organization and dynamic processes. The latest advances in technologies to visualize individual DNA loci and RNAs in real time are discussed. Single-molecule fluorescence microscopy provides the spatial and temporal resolution to reveal mecha...
Chapter
Full-text available
Visualization of single mRNAs in their native cellular environment provides key information to study gene expression regulation. This fundamental biological question triggered the development of the MS2-MCP (MS2-Capsid Protein) system to tag mRNAs and image their life cycle using widefield fluorescence microscopy. The last two decades have evolved...
Article
Full-text available
The MS2 system has been widely used, in organisms ranging from bacteria to higher eukaryotes, to image single mRNAs in intact cells with high precision. We have recently re-engineered the MS2 system for accurate detection of mRNAs in living Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Previous MS2 systems affected the degradation of the tagged mRNA, which led to accu...
Article
Full-text available
The MS2–MCP system enables researchers to image multiple steps of the mRNA life cycle with high temporal and spatial resolution. However, for short-lived mRNAs, the tight binding of the MS2 coat protein (MCP) to the MS2 binding sites (MBS) protects the RNA from being efficiently degraded, and this confounds the study of mRNA regulation. Here, we de...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advancements in single-cell and single-molecule imaging technologies have resolved biological processes in time and space that are fundamental to understanding the regulation of gene expression. Observations of single-molecule events in their cellular context have revealed highly dynamic aspects of transcriptional and post-transcriptional co...
Article
Full-text available
Transcription is a highly regulated biological process, initiated through the assembly of complexes at the promoter that contain both the general transcriptional machinery and promoter-specific factors. Despite the abundance of studies focusing on transcription, certain questions have remained unanswered. It is not clear how the transcriptional pro...
Data
(A) Primers used in this work. (B) Fish probes used in this work. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03164.022
Article
Full-text available
Translation elongation factor eEF1A has a well-defined role in protein synthesis. In this study, we demonstrate a new role for eEF1A: it participates in the entire process of the heat shock response (HSR) in mammalian cells from transcription through translation. Upon stress, isoform 1 of eEF1A rapidly activates transcription of HSP70 by recruiting...
Article
Limited chromosome mobility has been observed in mammalian interphase nuclei. Live imaging shows unidirectional and actin-dependent movement of HSP70 loci towards speckles upon heat shock, resulting in enhanced transcription. This adds further impetus to understanding compartmentalization of function in the nucleus.
Article
Full-text available
Translation elongation factor 1A2 (eEF1A2), uniquely among translation factors, is expressed specifically in neurons and muscle. eEF1A2-null mutant wasted mice develop an aggressive, early-onset form of neurodegeneration, but it is unknown whether the wasting results from denervation of the muscles, or whether the mice have a primary myopathy resul...
Article
Liver injury leads to generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which can react to produce peroxynitrite (ONOO-). We investigated whether ONOO- and its metabolites modulate extracellular matrix remodeling. Stellate cells (HSC) were incubated with pure ONOO- or SIN-1 (a ONOO- donor). Western blot, nuclear in vitro transcription, Northern b...
Article
Full-text available
U1 interference (U1i) is a novel method to block gene expression. U1i requires expression of a 5′-end-mutated U1 snRNA designed to base pair to the 3′-terminal exon of the target gene's pre-mRNA that leads to inhibition of polyadenylation. Here, we show U1i is robust (≥95%) and a 10-nt target length is sufficient for good silencing. Surprisingly, l...
Article
Full-text available
Liver transplantation is the only treatment for advanced liver cirrhosis. Therapies halting the progression of the disease are urgently needed. Administration of recombinant insulin-like growth factor-I (rIGF-I) induces hepatoprotective effects in experimental cirrhosis. Therefore, we analyzed the efficacy of a recombinant simian virus 40 vector (r...
Article
Full-text available
RNA interference with viral vectors that express short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) has emerged as a powerful tool for functional genomics and therapeutic purposes. However, little is known about shRNA in vivo processing, accumulation, functional kinetics, and side effects related to shRNA saturation of the cellular gene silencing machinery. Therefore, we...
Article
Full-text available
RNA interference using viral vectors that express short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) has emerged as a powerful tool for functional genomics and therapeutic purposes. However, little is known about shRNA in vivo processing, accumulation, functional kinetics and side-effects related to shRNA saturation of the cellular gene silencing machinery. Therefore, we...
Article
Full-text available
Cancer immunotherapy has been extensively attempted by gene transfer of cytokines with viral vectors. In this work, we compared the therapeutic effects of interleukin 12 and 15 (IL-12 and IL-15) genes transferred to tumor cells or to dendritic cells (DCs), which were subsequently injected into established tumors. For this purpose, we used viral vec...
Article
Full-text available
Circulating insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is mainly of hepatic origin and its levels are markedly decreased in liver cirrhosis. Treatment with IGF-I displays hepatoprotective properties and improves nutrition and hypogonadism in experimental cirrhosis. In this study we analyzed the efficacy of a Simian Virus 40 (SV40)-based vector encoding I...
Article
Full-text available
The induction of IFN-gamma-secreting CD8+ T cells and neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 are both key requirements for prevention of viral transmission and clearance of pathogenic HIV. Although DNA vaccination has been shown to induce both humoral and cellular immune responses against HIV antigens, the magnitude of the immune responses has always bee...
Article
Like paratroopers in special operations, dendritic cells (DCs) can be deployed behind the enemy borders of malignant tissue to ignite an antitumour immune response. 'Cross-priming T cell responses' is the code name for their mission, which consists of taking up antigen from transformed cells or their debris, migrating to lymphoid tissue ferrying th...
Article
Full-text available
Most gene therapy approaches employ viral vectors for gene delivery. Ideally, these vectors should be produced at high titer and purity with well-established protocols. Standardized methods to measure the quality of the vectors produced are imperative, as are techniques that allow reproducible quantitation of viral titer. We devised a series of pro...
Article
Full-text available
Background A vaccine that elicits durable, powerful anti-HIV immunity remains an elusive goal. In these studies we tested whether multiple treatments with viral vector-delivered HIV envelope antigen (gp120), with and without IL-15, could help to approach that goal. For this purpose, we used recombinant Tag-deleted SV40-derived vectors (rSV40s), sin...
Article
Simian virus-40 (SV40), an icosahedral papovavirus, has recently been modified to serve as a gene delivery vector. Recombinant SV40 vectors (rSV40) are good candidates for gene transfer, as they display some unique features: SV40 is a well-known virus, nonreplicative vectors are easy-to-make, and can be produced in titers of 10(12) IU/ml. They also...
Article
Full-text available
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural process, originally described in Caenorhabditis elegans and plants, initiated by the cleavage of long double stranded RNA (dsRNAs) by the ribonuclease III Dicer generating short interfering RNAs (siRNAs). siRNAs induce selective degradation of mRNAs that are homologous to their sequence. In mammalian cells, RNAi...
Article
Full-text available
Tumors can be treated with cytokines that activate the immuno-response against tumor cells. Viral vectors have been used to direct cytokine expression to the tumor and surrounding tissues or to cells like dendritic cells (DCs). We decided to study the efficiency of recombinant vectors based on Simian Virus 40 virus (SV40) to deliver interleukine 12...
Article
Full-text available
One of the landmarks of advanced liver cirrhosis is the decrease of serum IGF-I levels probably due to its diminished synthesis from liver parenchyma. Patients with liver cirrhosis have a number of systemic derangements related to the reduced levels of circulating IGF-I. The administration of recombinant IGF-I in physiological doses reverts these s...
Article
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a microvasculature disorder leading to microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure. Most cases of HUS are associated with epidemics of diarrhea caused by verocytotoxin-producing bacteria, but atypical cases of HUS not associated with diarrhea (aHUS) also occur. Early studies descri...

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