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Dr. Luis Cruz-Vera

Associate Professor, Biology Department


My lab is interested in understanding how cellular products modulate the function of ribosomes, the molecular machines that carry out protein production, to influence gene expression, cellular metabolism and phenotypic plasticity in bacterial cells. Cellular protein production can be controlled by diverse mechanisms since a substantial number of factors and events are involved during this process. Despite the diversity, the regulation of protein production keeps two common and essential characteristics: 1) the nature of the synthesized protein plays an important role in the modulation of the function of the ribosome; and 2) inhibition, or delay, in the ribosome function leads to the accumulation of intermediary products of the protein production, named peptidyl-tRNAs. The objective of our research is to identify genes which expression depends in the regulation of the ribosome function by detecting peptidyl-tRNAs expressed under relevant cell growth conditions. Also, determine the molecular mechanism(s) responsible for regulation of the ribosome function by cellular products. We expect to produce a gene-expression profiling technology to analyze in vivo the accumulation of peptidyl-tRNAs.

Visit the Cruz-Vera Laboratory webpage.


  • Ph.D in Genetics and Molecular Biology, CINVESTAV-Mexico, 2000
  • M.S in Genetics and Molecular Biology, CINVESTAV-Mexico, 1996
  • B.S in Chemistry and Pharmacobiology, BUAP-Mexico, 1995
  • Postdoctoral fellow department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, CINVESTAV-Mexico. 2000-2003
  • Postdoctoral fellow department of Biology, Stanford University. 2003-2007

Classes Taught


  • Emmanuel, J. S., Sengupta A., Gordon E. R., Noble J. T., Cruz-Vera L. R. (2019). The regulatory TnaC nascent peptide preferentially inhibits Release Factor 2-mediated hydrolysis of peptidyl-tRNA. J. Biol. Chem. 294(50):19224-19235. http://www.jbc.org/content/294/50/19224.long
  • Cruz-Vera, L. R., Yanofsky, C. (2014). Instructing the translating ribosome to sense L-tryptophan. In Koreaki Ito (Ed.), Regulatory Nascent Polypeptides (First ed., pp. 151-163). Tokio: Springer (Tokio). http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9784431550518
  • Martinez, A. K., Gordon, E., Sengupta, A., Shirole, N. H., Klepacki, D., Martinez-Garriga, B., Brown, L. M., Benedik, M., Yanofsky, C., Mankin, A. S., Vazquez-Laslop, N., Sachs, M. S., Cruz-Vera, L. R. (2014). Interactions between the TnaC nascent peptide and the ribosome’s erythromycin binding site are essential for tryptophan recognition. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(2), 1245=1256. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3902921/
  • "Interactions of the TnaC nascent peptide with rRNA in the exit tunnel enable the ribosome to respond to free tryptophan." Nucleic Acid Res. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt923. Martinez, A.K., Gordon, E., Sengupta, A., Shirole, N., Klepacki, D., Martinez-Garriga, B., Brown, L.M., Benedik, M.J., Yanofsky, C., Mankin, A.S., Vazquez-Laslop, N., Sachs, M.S., and Cruz-Vera, L.R. (2013).
  • "Crucial elements that maintain the interactions between the regulatory TnaC peptide and the ribosome exit tunnel responsible for Trp inhibition of ribosome function." Nucleic Acid Res. 40: 2247-2257. Martinez, A. K., Shirole, N. H., Murakami, S., Benedik, M. J., Sachs, M. S. and Cruz-Vera, L. R. (2012).
  • "Nascent polypeptide sequences that influence ribosome function." Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 14:160-166. Cruz-Vera, L. R., Squires, C. L., Sachs, M. S. and Yanofsky, C. (2011).
  • "Tryptophan inhibits Proteus vulgaris TnaC leader peptide elongation, activating tna operon expression." J. Bacteriol. 191:7001-7006. Cruz-Vera, L. R., Yang, R. and Yanofsky, C. (2009).
  • "Features of ribosome-peptidyl-tRNA interactions essential for tryptophan induction of tna operon expression." Mol. Cell. 19:333-343. Cruz-Vera, L. R., Rajagopal, S., Squires, C. L. and Yanofsky, C. (2005).
  • "Ribosome stalling and peptidyl-tRNA drop-off during translation delay at AGA codons." Nucleic Acids Res. 18:4462-4468. Cruz-Vera, L. R., Magos-Castro, M. A., Zamora-Romo, E. and Guarneros, G. (2004).