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Dr Fulvia Bono

Dr Fulvia Bono

Associate Professor


 +44 (0)1392 727450

 Living Systems Institute T02.12


Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD


My research group at the LSI aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the cytoplasmic control of gene expression. In particular, we focus on mRNA localization and translational control with an interdisciplinary approach that combines biochemistry, structural biology as well as cell- and organism-based functional assays.

I am based in the Living Systems Institute



2000: PhD in molecular biology, University of Pavia, Italy

2004: Specialization in applied genetics (Master equivalent), University of Pavia, Italy


2018-present: Associate Professor, Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, UK

2011-present: Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany

2008-2011: Project Leader, MPI for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany

2002-2007: Postdoctoral fellow, EMBL - Heidelberg, Germany


Research interests

Our group has a long-standing interest in basic mechanistic questions in RNA biology, such as how mRNAs are exported from the nucleus and regulated in the cytoplasm.

The localization of certain mRNAs at specific sites within the cytoplasm is a prevalent way to regulate gene expression. mRNA localization plays a crucial role in embryonic patterning, cell polarity and neuronal function in a wide range of organisms. Studies of RNA localization in model organisms have revealed many components of the process, some of which are conserved across eukaryotes. The correct cytoplasmic localization of mRNAs and their transport and silencing in messenger ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNPs) is dependent on the earliest steps of mRNA processing in
the nucleus. The core nuclear mRNP particles associate with further components in the cytoplasm, forming large and dynamic multimolecular assemblies, underlying the various steps or mRNA maturation, transport, silencing and eventual localized translation. Even though many components of these large mRNP particles are known, their detailed molecular organization and regulation are poorly understood. Our aim is to gather structural information of mRNP complexes involved in RNA localization. We use a multidisciplinary approach, combining biochemistry, biophysics, protein crystallography and fly genetics, to tackle the complex structure-function relationships regulating mRNA localization. Our work will elucidate the structural details and molecular mechanisms of how mRNP complexes regulate mRNA localization during development. Given that mRNA localization is a conserved process, our results are expected to elucidate the mechanistic and structural details of a conserved regulatory pathway with fundamental and often medically relevant roles in the cell.


2015-2018                          DFG Research Grant in Research Unit FOR 2333

Macromolecular Complexes in mRNA translocation

2012-2017                          European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

Towards a mechanistic understanding of mRNA localization

2010-2013                          DFG Research Grant

Structural studies of a bidirectional transport receptor, Importin13

2009-2012                          Max Planck inter-Institutional Project Grant

Deep sequencing of the transcriptome of two marine annelid species for neurobiological, structural, and comparative genomic studies


Supervision / Group

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