I am currently working on identifying RNA thermometers in Staphylococcus aureus. RNA thermometers are typically located in the 5’-UTR of certain genes. At lower temperatures, like that outside of a host, the ribosomal binding sequence is sequestered with a double stranded region. At higher temperatures, like the core temperature of a host, these double stranded regions are denatured freeing the ribosomal binding site, allowing gene expression.
More specifically, my research is looking to identify RNA thermometers that regulate the expression of certain virulence factors in S. aureus that allow the bacteria to cause disease.