Sergej Djuranovic, PhD


Sergei DjuranovicI am currently Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA. I received BSc and MSc degrees in Biochemistry at School of Chemistry at University of Belgrade, Serbia, working on interactions of dopamine and serotonin receptors with G-proteins with Dr. Vukic Soskic. I earned my PhD degree in Biochemistry at Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen, Germany, working on protein evolution and AAA ATPase proteins with Dr. Andrei Lupas. My postdoctoral training was at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in mechanisms that control gene expression at the level of protein synthesis with Dr. Rachel Green. In 2013 I joined as an assistant professor Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine where I formed my own research group. My group studies mechanisms of gene expression regulation at the level of mRNA and protein synthesis, with special emphasis on microRNAs, RNA-binding proteins, ribosomes and nascent polypeptide chain interactions. The focus of my group are translational studies within fields of early development, cancer, rare genetic disorders, neurodegeneration and malaria. My group and I authored numerous scientific papers, we are members of medical and basic science associations as well as boards for pharmaceutical companies, science and diversity groups.


Our goal is to elucidate the sequence of cellular events that govern microRNA (miRNA)- or RBP- mediated gene regulation using biochemical and biophysical assays, high throughput methods, genome-wide analyses and rigorous kinetic and biochemical assays of protein expression and targeted mRNA degradation. We use similar methods to assess other cellular processes governed by mRNA or protein sequence motifs that are thought to affect RNA metabolism. These include sequences that cause ribosome stalling during translation elongation, components of mRNA surveillance mechanisms, sequences that modify translational efficiency during early translation elongation (translational ramp), among other. We are also interested in exploring specific sequence motifs, in both mRNAs and nascent polypeptide chains that control output of protein synthesis in 2% of human genes and that are highly enriched in the pathogenic Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In addition to gaining insight into RNA metabolism and gene regulation pathways, our lab is interested in the development of experimental and biotechnological tools as well as potential therapeutics that target specific mRNAs or ribosomes.

Recent publications

  1. Kim KQ, Burgute BD, Tzeng SC, Jing C, Jungers C, Zhang J, Yan LL, Vierstra RD, Djuranovic S, Evans BS, Zaher HS. N1-methylpseudouridine found within COVID-19 mRNA vaccines produces faithful protein products. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 30;40(9):111300.
  2. Erath, J., & Djuranovic, S. (2022). Association of the receptor for activated C-kinase 1 with ribosomes in Plasmodium falciparum. The Journal of biological chemistry298(6), 101954.
  3. Jungers, C. F., & Djuranovic, S. (2022). Modulation of miRISC-Mediated Gene Silencing in Eukaryotes. Frontiers in molecular biosciences9, 832916.
  4. Powell, G., Pavlovic Djuranovic, S., & Djuranovic, S. (2021). Gene dosage effects of poly(A) track-engineered hypomorphs. Molecular therapy. Nucleic acids26, 865–878.
  5. Pavlovic Djuranovic S, Erath J, Andrews JR, Bayguinov OP, Chung JJ, Chalker LD, Fitzpatrick JAJ, Moss NW, Szczesny P, Djuranovic S. (2020) Plasmodium falciparum translational machinery condones polyadenosine repeats. eLife 9:e57799.
  6. Verma, M., J. Choi, K. A. Cottrell, Z. Lavagnino, E. N. Thomas, S. Pavlovic-Djuranovic, P. Szczesny, D. W. Piston, H. S. Zaher, J. D. Puglisi and S. Djuranovic (2019). A short translational ramp determines the efficiency of protein synthesis. Nature Communications 10(1): 5774.
  7. Jessey Erath,  Sergej Djuranovic, Slavica Pavlovic Djuranovic. Adaptation of Translational Machinery in Malaria Parasites to Accommodate Translation of Poly-Adenosine Stretches Throughout Its Life Cycle. Front. Microbiol., December 2019.