Ruixue Wan earned her bachelor degree majoring in Marine Sciences in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. She completed her Ph.D. thesis research in Tsinghua University, studying the molecular mechanism of pre-mRNA splicing through structural investigations of the spliceosome. Ruixue Wan nurtures a profound interest to the world in cells and strongly believe that she as a researcher through basic scientific research will help develop therapeutics to human diseases. Ruixue also loves running and hopes to soon be able to take part in a marathon. Currently, Ruixue Wan is at the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Structural Biology, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University.
A key component of gene expression revealed
In the three decades between the discovery of the spliceosome and the beginning of this century, scientists sought to identify its constitutional components and biochemically analyze the various spliceosomal complexes by immunoprecipitation, cross-linked mass spectrometry, in vitro splicing essay and so on. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanism was impeded due to the lack of high-resolution structures of the fully-assembled spliceosome. This essay describes a project in which cryo-electron microscopy was employed to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the splicing reaction.