Katsuhiko Murakami started his research career as a graduate student in the National Institute of Genetics and the Graduate University of Advanced Studies in Japan, received Ph. D. in 1997. He engaged in postdoctoral study at the Rockefeller University (1998-2003) for determining the X-ray crystal structure of bacterial RNA polymerase. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and became a full Professor in 2015.
Program or Departmental Affiliations
|BMMB Graduate Program||Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biosciences (MCIBS)||The Penn State Cancer Institute|
Editorial Boards and Professional Organizations
Editorial board member, Journal of Biological Chemistry
|Center for Structural Biology|
|Center for RNA Molecular Biology|
Gene expression is fundamental to all organisms and studying how the genetic code is expressed in molecular terms is critical to cell development and understanding diseases. Our research interests are centered on understanding the mechanism of gene expression, particularly how information stored in genomic DNA is transcribed into RNA by the enzyme RNA polymerase – the first step and the key control point in the gene expression and one of the most fundamental processes required for life. We apply X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy techniques to reveal three-dimensional structures of bacterial, archaeal and bacteriophage RNA polymerases for elucidating the mechanisms of RNA transcription and its regulation. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, my group has performed studies on proteins involved in SARS_CoV_2 replication to help end the pandemic by utilizing knowledge and skills gained from our main research.
Honors and Awards
|1997 - 1998||Research Fellow of the Center of Excellence, Japan|
|1998 - 2000||Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow|
|2000 - 2001||Norman and Rosita Winston Postdoctoral Fellow|
|2005 - 2009||Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences|
- Vishwakarma RK, Qayyum MZ, Babitzke P, Murakami KS. (2023). Allosteric mechanism of transcription inhibition by NusG-dependent pausing of RNA polymerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 120(7):e2218516120.
- Narwal M, Armache J-P, Edwards TJ, Murakami KS. (2023). SARS-CoV-2 polyprotein substrate regulates the stepwise Mpro cleavage reaction. J Biol Chem. 299(5):104697.
- Lisitskaya L, Shin Y, Agapov A, Olina A, Kropocheva E, Ryazansky S, Aravin AA, Esyunina D, Murakami KS, Kulbachinskiy A. (2022). Programmable RNA targeting by bacterial Argonaute nucleases with unconventional guide binding and cleavage specificity. Nature Commun. 13(1):4624.
- Shin Y, Qayyum MZ, Pupov D, Esyunina D, Kulbachinskiy A, Murakami KS. (2021). Structural basis of ribosomal RNA transcription regulation. Nature Commun. 12, 528.
- Jun SH, Hyun J, Cha JS, Kim H, Bartlett MS, Cho HS, Murakami KS. (2020). Direct binding of TFEα opens DNA binding cleft of RNA polymerase. Nature Commun. 11(1):6123.