Dr Peter Boag
Telephone: +61-3-9902 9117
Facsimile: +61-3-9902 9223
Office: Room 355, 3/F, Building 76
About Dr Peter Boag
Peter Boag obtained a PhD from Melbourne University in Molecular Parasitology. Peter has spent the last six years in the Blackwell lab at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA where he studied mechanisms of gene regulation in the germlineand early embryo of the model organism C. elegans. Peter is also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Melbourne (where in collaboration with Professor Robin Gasser they investigate the biology of parasitic nematodes of socio-economic importance).
The Boag lab is primarily interested in understanding how post transcriptional gene regulation influences development and cellular function. In a number of cell types, such as oocytes and neurons, many mRNAs are transcribed but are not immediately translated. Instead, these mRNAs are maintained in a translationally repressed state in predicted RNA-protein storage granules and only become translated upon specific cues. Some of the proteins involved in the storage of oocyte mRNAs are also present in Processing-bodies (P-bodies), recently identified cytoplasmic granules where many mRNA regulatory pathways are present, including decapping- and nonsense-mediated mRNA degradation and small RNA-mediated translational silencing (e.g. micro RNAs). The emerging similarities between germline storage granules and P-bodies suggests that the formation of RNA-protein granules is a conserved and important mechanism for maintaining cellular homeostasis. We are interested in elucidating the mechanisms governing the formation and function of germline mRNA storage granules and their requirement for fertility and embryonic viability.
Prof. Keith Blackwell Harvard Medical School
Prof. Robin Gasser University of Melbourne
Prof. Paul Sternberg California Institute of Technology
Dr. Ana Traven Monash University
Dr. John Kim University of Michigan
The C. elegans Model System
C. elegans is a free-living, non-parasitic round worm that has become an important model organism for the study of a diverse range of biologically important processes of both basic and medical significance. Features that make C. elegans a wonderful research tool include:
- a quick life cycle (~3 days at 20oC)
- invariant cell lineage
- relatively small genome (~97 Megabases)
- powerful genetic techniques for gene analysis
- effectiveness of targeted gene knockdown by RNA interference (RNAi).
Together these attributes have made C. elegans a valuable research tool for analysis of many biological processes such as apoptosis, mechanisms of aging, DNA damage response and gene regulation to name a few.
For more about C. elegans see the sites below
Hammell CM, Lubin I, Boag PR, Blackwell TK, Ambros V. (2009) nhl-2 Modulates microRNA activity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Cell. 2009 Mar 6;136(5):926-38.
Boag, P. R., Atalay, A., Robida, S., Reinke, V. and Blackwell, T. K. (2008). Protection of specific maternal messenger RNAs by the P body protein CGH-1 (Dhh1/RCK) during Caenorhabditis elegans oogenesis. J Cell Biol 182, 543-57. PDF
Gartner, A., Boag, P. R. and Blackwell, T. K. (2008). Germline survival and apoptosis. WormBook, 1-20. PDF
Walker, A. K., Boag, P. R. and Blackwell, T. K. (2007). Transcription reactivation steps stimulated by oocyte maturation in C. elegans. Dev Biol 304, 382-93. PDF
Lehtinen, M. K., Yuan, Z., Boag, P. R., Yang, Y., Villen, J., Becker, E. B., DiBacco, S., de la Iglesia, N., Gygi, S., Blackwell, T. K. et al. (2006). A conserved MST-FOXO signaling pathway mediates oxidative-stress responses and extends life span. Cell 125, 987-1001. PDF
Boag, P. R., Nakamura, A. and Blackwell, T. K. (2005). A conserved RNA-protein complex component involved in physiological germline apoptosis regulation in C. elegans. Development 132, 4975-86. PDF