Welcome to the Guthrie lab!
In prokaryotes, gene expression occurs in a single cellular compartment and requires only transcription of the DNA into mRNA and translation of the mRNA into protein. In eukaryotes, by contrast, the RNA transcript first undergoes a series of covalent modifications, termed RNA processing, and is then transported across the nuclear envelope. In the bulk of eukaryotic transcripts, the coding sequences are interruped by non-coding stretches; in the remarkable process of RNA splicing, the non-coding sequences are precisely removed and the coding sequences joined.
The importance of RNA splicing is highlighted by the recent realization that the human genome contains a surprisingly small number of genes. The "missing" complexity is provided in large part by the process of alternative splicing, whereby different sections of RNA are removed in different cell types to produce functionally distinct proteins.
The step of mRNA export is even less well understood than RNA splicing, but has also been implicated in important biological settings, including HIV infection.
The Guthrie lab studies these processes in a highly tractable model organism, budding yeast.