All organisms contain small RNAs that participate in diverse cellular activities including RNA processing,
mRNA stability, translation, protein stability and secretion. These RNAs are defined by their size (< 350 nucleotides in
length) and by the fact that they function as an RNA moiety that is not translated into protein. The research in my laboratory
focuses on small RNAs in bacteria using molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches to investigate the function and mechanism
of action of these RNAs. For example, the 6S RNA is a highly stable and abundant small RNA that I recently showed associates
with and regulates RNA polymerase. Further investigation of 6S RNA action should lead to a better understanding of a novel
mechanism to control gene expression. In addition, 6S RNA functions during stationary phase growth and thus may provide insights
into how cells are able to survive extended nutrient starvation.