Subcellular Transcriptomics
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus



Welcome to the Taliaferro lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  We study how the expression of genetic information is spatially regulated within a cell. 

Individual mRNA molecules are often trafficked to specific cellular locations which facilitates robust, localized protein production where and when it is needed.  Although thousands of mRNAs are asymmetrically distributed in cells, the RNA sequences and protein factors that regulate this process are unknown for the vast majority of messages. 

Our lab uses experimental and computational methods to understand mechanisms behind this regulation and how disruption of the process can result in neurological disease.




We study the spatial regulation of gene expression 


The key to being efficient and success is having everything you need at the right place at the right time.  As it turns out, this is true even on a subcellular level.  Our group works toward understanding the sequences within RNA molecules that govern their spatial organization as well as the RNA binding proteins that mediate this process.  The effects of RNA localization are most apparent in large, polarized cells.

As such, we use neuronal models and their subcellular fractionation as a system to study localized transcripts.  The two main focuses in the lab are devoted to studying cis and trans regulators of RNA localization, respectively.

Cis elements direct RNA molecules to cellular destinations


What elements within the transcriptome have the ability to direct RNAs to subcellular locations? We and many others have shown that most such sequences, termed “zipcodes” for their sorting abilities, reside in the 3’ untranslated regions of mRNAs.  

Using high-throughput screening, functional genomics, computational biology, as well as classical molecular and cell biology, we can zero in on sequences within transcripts that drive RNA localization.

Trans factors mediate the movement


Most RNA-based processes are driven through the complex interaction between RNA and proteins.  RNA localization is no different.  Several RNA binding proteins have been identified as key regulators of RNA localization.  Mutations in some of these factors are associated with neurological disease, implicating the misregulation of RNA localization in the development of disease phenotypes. 

With a functional genomics approach, we can identify individual transcripts that depend on the activity of specific RNA binding proteins for their proper localization, allowing insights into the mechanisms and specificities that govern RNA localization.



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Matthew Taliaferro, Ph.D.
PrincipAL investigator

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT

Ankita arora, PH.D.
postdoctoral fellow

Ph.D., Heidelberg University, Germany
Postdoc, University of California, San Francisco

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We are accepting rotation students!



Postdoctoral fellows

Amaresh Panda, Ph.D.     Ramajuan Faculty Fellow, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India



matthew <dot> taliaferro <at> ucdenver <dot> edu

Office mailing address:
12801 E 17th Ave
Research 1 South 10114
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3274

Lab mailing address:
12801 E 17th Ave
Research 1 South 10403D
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, CO 80045