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Dimitri Pestov, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Science Center 104B


University of Illinois, Ph.D., 1997



Research Interests

Ribosomes are biological nanomachines that make polypeptide chains based on instructions encoded in messenger RNA. Cells require a large number of ribosomes to make proteins, especially during periods of active growth and proliferation. In eukaryotic cells, the elaborate ribosome structure is built through a complex assembly process that requires the assistance of more than 150 protein factors, in addition to dozens or even hundreds of small RNAs. Many molecular details of ribosome biogenesis and the functions of proteins involved in this process are still poorly understood.

One of our research interests is how cells maintain high efficiency and accuracy of ribosome synthesis. Like any other complex assembly process, biosynthesis of ribosomes generates a certain fraction of defective products and kinetically trapped intermediates. How do cells distinguish between ribosomes that are built correctly and those that are not? To learn more about the mechanisms underlying quality control in this system, we are studying the roles of several mammalian nucleolar proteins involved in 60S subunit formation. Using biochemical and molecular approaches, we are also investigating how misassembled preribosomal particles are targeted for degradation.

Another important question that we address in our work is how ribosome biogenesis is interfaced with stress responses and cell cycle control in mammalian cells. In our experiments, we find that errors in ribosome biogenesis occur more often when cells are exposed to various types of metabolic stress. In our previous studies, we have also discovered that perturbations in ribosome assembly have a strong influence on the cell cycle machinery, mediated in part through the tumor suppressor protein p53. By elucidating the mechanisms of cellular surveillance of ribosome synthesis, we hope to better understand the links between biosynthetic processes taking place in the nucleolus and proliferation control in normal and cancer cells.

Selected Publications

(Updated September 2018)

  1. Zinskie JA, Ghosh A, Trainor BM, Shedlovskiy D, Pestov DG, Shcherbik N. Iron-dependent cleavage of ribosomal RNA during oxidative stress in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J Biol Chem, 293(37): 14237-48, September 2018.
  2. Shedlovskiy D, Shcherbik N, Pestov DGOne-step hot formamide extraction of RNA from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. RNA Biol, 14(12): 1722-6, December 2017.
  3. Shedlovskiy D, Zinskie JA, Gardner E, Pestov DG, Shcherbik N. Endonucleolytic cleavage in the expansion segment 7 of 25S rRNA is an early marker of low-level oxidative stress in yeastJ Biol Chem, 292(45): 18469-85, November 2017.
  4. Sapio RT, Nezdyur AN, Krevetski M, Anikin L, Manna VJ, Minkovsky N, Pestov DGInhibition of post-transcriptional steps in ribosome biogenesis confers cytoprotection against chemotherapeutic agents in a p53-dependent mannerSci Rep, 7(1): 9041, August 2017.
  5. Wang M, Pestov DGQuantitative Northern Blot Analysis of Mammalian rRNA Processing. Methods Mol Biol, 1455: 147-57, August 2016.
  6. Shcherbik N, Chernova TA, Chernoff YO, Pestov DGDistinct types of translation termination generate substrates for ribosome-associated quality control. Nucleic Acids Res, 44(14): 6840-52, August 2016.
  7. Wang M, Parshin AV, Shcherbik N, Pestov DGReduced expression of the mouse ribosomal protein Rpl17 alters the diversity of mature ribosomes by enhancing production of shortened 5.8S rRNARNA, 21(7): 1240-8, July 2015.
  8. Wang M, Anikin L, Pestov DGTwo orthogonal cleavages separate subunit RNAs in mouse ribosome biogenesis. Nucleic Acids Res, 42(17): 11180-91, September 2014.
  9. Mansour FH, Pestov DGSeparation of long RNA by agarose-formaldehyde gel electrophoresisAnal Biochem, 441(1): 18-20, October 2013.
  10. Pestov DG, Shcherbik N. Rapid cytoplasmic turnover of yeast ribosomes in response to rapamycin inhibition of TORMol Cell Biol, 32(11): 2135-44, June 2012.
  11. Shcherbik N, Pestov DG. The ubiquitin ligase Rsp5 is required for ribosome stability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. RNA, 17(8): 1422-8, August 2011.
  12. Wang M, Pestov DG5'-end surveillance by Xrn2 acts as a shared mechanism for mammalian pre-rRNA maturation and decay. Nucleic Acids Res, 39(5): 1811-22, March 2011.
  13. Shcherbik N, Pestov DG. Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins in the nucleolus: multitasking tools for a ribosome factory. Genes Cancer, 1(7): 681-689, July 2010.
  14. Srivastava L, Lapik YR, Wang M, Pestov DGMammalian DEAD box protein Ddx51 acts in 3' end maturation of 28S rRNA by promoting the release of U8 snoRNA. Mol Cell Biol, 30(12): 2947-56, June 2010.
  15. Shcherbik N, Wang M, Lapik YR, Srivastava L, Pestov DGPolyadenylation and degradation of incomplete RNA polymerase I transcripts in mammalian cells. EMBO Rep, 11(2): 106-11, February 2010.
  16. Kent T, Lapik YR, Pestov DGThe 5' external transcribed spacer in mouse ribosomal RNA contains two cleavage sites. RNA, 15(1): 14-20, January 2009.
  17. Pestov DG, Lapik YR, Lau LF. Assays for ribosomal RNA processing and ribosome assembly. Curr Protoc Cell Biol, Chapter 22: Unit 22.11, June 2008.
  18. Lapik YR, Misra JM, Lau LF, Pestov DGRestricting conformational flexibility of the switch II region creates a dominant-inhibitory phenotype in Obg GTPase Nog1. Mol Cell Biol, 27(21): 7735-44, November 2007.
  19. Lapik YR, Fernandes CJ, Lau LF, Pestov DGPhysical and functional interaction between Pes1 and Bop1 in mammalian ribosome biogenesis. Mol Cell, 15(1): 17-29, July 2004.
  20. Pestov DG, Strezoska Z, Lau LF. Evidence of p53-dependent cross-talk between ribosome biogenesis and the cell cycle: effects of nucleolar protein Bop1 on G(1)/S transition. Mol Cell Biol, 21(13): 4246-55, July 2001. 

    Complete publication list