Research Menu
Adrian R. Krainer

Adrian R. Krainer

St. Giles Foundation Professorship

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1986 | (516) 367-8417

Our DNA carries the instructions to manufacture all the molecules needed by a cell. After each gene is copied from DNA into RNA, the RNA message is "spliced" - an editing process involving precise cutting and pasting. I am interested in how splicing normally works, how it is altered in genetic diseases and cancer, and how we can correct these defects for therapy.

Adrian Krainer’s lab studies the mechanisms of RNA splicing, ways in which they go awry in disease, and the means by which faulty splicing can be corrected. In particular, they study splicing in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease that is the leading genetic cause of death in infants. In SMA, a gene called SMN2 is spliced incorrectly, making it only partially functional. The Krainer lab found a way to correct this defect using a powerful therapeutic approach. It is possible to stimulate SMN protein production by altering mRNA splicing through the introduction into cells of chemically modified pieces of RNA called antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Following extensive work with ASOs in mouse models of SMA, one such molecule, known as nusinersen or Spinraza, was taken to the clinic, and at the end of 2016 it became the first FDA-approved drug to treat SMA, by injection into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. The Krainer lab is currently using this approach for the study of other diseases caused by splicing defects, including familial dysautonomia. In addition, they are applying antisense technology to stabilize mRNAs that are destroyed by a process called nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), both to learn about the underlying mechanisms and to develop new therapies. The Krainer lab has also worked to shed light on the role of splicing proteins in cancer. They found that the splicing factor SRSF1 functions as an oncogene, and they characterized the splicing changes it elicits when overexpressed in the context of breast cancer; several of these changes contribute to various aspects of cancer progression. Finally, the lab continues to study fundamental mechanisms of splicing and its regulation, and they identified novel ways in which the U1 snRNA can recognize natural 5’ splice sites that deviate from the consensus.

2019 Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize

2019 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

2019 Doctorate Honoris Causa, Tel Aviv University

2019 Klaus Joachim Zülch Prize for Basic Neurological Research, Gertrud Reemtsma Foundation and and Max Planck Society

2019 RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award

2019 Bermuda Principles Award

2019 Peter Speiser Award in Pharmaceutical Sciences, ETH Zurich

2017 Inventor of the Year, New York Intellectual Property Law Association

Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

National Institutes of Health MERIT Award

Wong, M. S. and Kinney, J. B. and Krainer, A. R. (2018) Quantitative Activity Profile and Context Dependence of All Human 5' Splice Sites. Mol Cell,

Sinha, R. and Kim, Y. J. and Nomakuchi, T. and Sahashi, K. and Hua, Y. and Rigo, F. and Bennett, C. F. and Krainer, A. R. (2018) Antisense oligonucleotides correct the familial dysautonomia splicing defect in IKBKAP transgenic mice. Nucleic Acids Res, 46(10) pp. 4833-4844.

Aznarez, Isabel and Nomakuchi, Tomoki T. and Tetenbaum-Novatt, Jaclyn and Rahman, Mohammad Alinoor and Fregoso, Oliver and Rees, Holly and Krainer, Adrian R. (2018) Mechanism of Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay Stimulation by Splicing Factor SRSF1. Cell Reports, 23(7) pp. 2186-2198.

Lin, K. T. and Ma, W. K. and Scharner, J. and Liu, Y. R. and Krainer, A. R. (2018) A human-specific switch of alternatively spliced AFMID isoforms contributes to TP53 mutations and tumor recurrence in hepatocellular carcinoma. Genome Res,

Nomakuchi, T. T. and Rigo, F. and Aznarez, I. and Krainer, A. R. (2016) Antisense oligonucleotide-directed inhibition of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Nat Biotechnol, 34(2) pp. 164-166.

Anczukow, O. and Akerman, M. and Clery, A. and Wu, J. and Shen, C. and Shirole, N. H. and Raimer, A. and Sun, S. and Jensen, M. A. and Hua, Y. and Allain, F. H. and Krainer, A. R. (2015) SRSF1-Regulated Alternative Splicing in Breast Cancer. Mol Cell, 60(1) pp. 105-17.

Hua, Y. and Liu, Y. H. and Sahashi, K. and Rigo, F. and Bennett, C. F. and Krainer, A. R. (2015) Motor neuron cell-nonautonomous rescue of spinal muscular atrophy phenotypes in mild and severe transgenic mouse models. Genes Dev, 29(3) pp. 288-297.

Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository