Stephane Bentolila is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics. He received a BS degree in biochemistry at Montpellier University (France) and a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from Lyon University (France). After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Steve TanksleyÕs laboratory at Cornell, he joined Maureen HansonÕs team in the Section of Genetics and Development in 1995. He was promoted to Research Associate in 1998 and to Senior Research Associate in 2006. Previously Dr. Bentoilia was Principal Investigator on a USDA NRI-funded project to investigate the molecular basis of cytoplasmic male sterility and fertility restoration in rice. Currently he is Principal Investigator on an NSF grant to study mitochondrial RNA editing.
Mitochondria during development- Mutations in mitochondrial genomes are known to create novel genes whose expression disrupts pollen development. Plants carrying such mutations are termed cytoplasmic male sterile or CMS. A nuclear gene (the Rf gene) is known to be a CMS suppressor. I have identified the petunia restorer gene by positional cloning. We are presently attempting to understand to learn how the restorer gene, a member of the large pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) gene family, prevents the expression of an abnormal mitochondrial gene.
RNA editing in Mitochondria- In the process of RNA editing, RNA nucleotides are inserted, deleted, or modified, resulting in a difference between the actual RNA and the RNA predicted from genomic DNA. In plants, RNA editing occurs in RNAs encoded by the organelle genomes located in chloroplasts and mitochondria. During RNA editing in plants, cytidines encoded by genomic DNAs are modified to uridine in transcripts .I am using a genetic approach to identify the components of the mitochondrial editing machinery.