Bessie Kebaara, PhD

Bessie Kebaara, PhD
Associate Professor
High Res Photo

Associate Professor of Biology


BS: Microbiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
PhD: Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

Major area of research

Regulation of gene expression in yeast

Courses Taught

Research Interests:

My research interests include the regulation of gene expression, specifically RNA biology. I am interested in understanding the recognition and targeting of natural mRNAs by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway (NMD) is an evolutionarily conserved mRNA surveillance pathway that contributes to the recognition and rapid degradation of mRNA with premature stop codons, thus preventing the accumulation of potentially harmful truncated proteins. This pathway also recognizes and degrades some natural physiological mRNAs. Natural mRNAs degraded by the nonsense mediated mRNA decay pathway have been identified in eukaryotes ranging from yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae.), to insects (Drosophila melanogaster), plants (Arabidopsis) and humans. My goal is to understand the recognition and targeting of natural mRNAs for NMD-mediated degradation, and understand the physiological consequences that are brought about by the degradation of specific mRNAs in the model organism S. cerevisiae.


Peccarelli M.S, Scott T.D, Steel M, and Kebaara B.W. mRNAs involved in Copper Homeostasis are regulated by the Nonsense-mediated mRNA Decay pathway depending on environmental conditions. (In revision to resubmit to Fungal Genetics and Biology)

Obenoskey, J., Lane, D, Atkin, AL and Kebaara B.W. 2014. Immunity of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SSY5 mRNA to Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2014.00025.

Peccarelli m.s. and Kebaara B.W. 2014. Measurements of mRNA decay rates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using rpb1-1 strains. JoVE, Issue 94;doi: 10.3791/52240.

Peccarelli M.S, Scott T.D, Wong, K.H, Wang, X and Kebaara B.W. 2014. Regulation of CTR2 mRNA by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway. BBA-Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, 1839: 1283-1294.

Peccarelli M.S. and Kebaara B.W. 2014. Regulation of Natural mRNAs by the Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway. Eukaryotic Cell, 13(9): 1126-1135.

Wang, X, Okonkwo O, and Kebaara B.W. 2013. Physiological basis of copper tolerance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae nonsense-mediated mRNA decay mutants. Yeast, 30:179-190.

Kebaara, B.W., Kristian E. Baker, Krista Patefield and A.L. Atkin. 2012. Analysis of Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Current Protocols in Cell Biology 2012 Mar; Chapter 27: Unit 27.3.

Rafael Deliz-Aguirre†, A. L. Atkin, and B.W. Kebaara. 2011. Copper tolerance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Nonsense-Mediated mRNA decay mutants. Current Genetics, 57(6):421-430.

Kebaara, B.W. and A.L. Atkin. 2009, Long 3'-UTRs target wild-type mRNAs for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nucleic Acids Research. 37(9); 2771-2778.

Ghosh S., B. Kebaara, A.L. Atkin, and K.W. Nickerson. 2008. Regulation of aromatic alcohol production in Candida albicans. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74(23): 7211-7218.

Kebaara, B.W., M. L. Langford*, D.H.L.M.P Navarathna, R. Dumitru, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin. 2008. Candida albicans Tup1 is involved in the Farnesol-Mediated Inhibition of Filamentous Growth Induction. Eukaryotic Cell, 7(6): 980-987. *B.W.K. and M.L.L. contributed equally to this work.

Kebaara, B.W., L.E. Nielsen, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin. 2006. Determination of mRNA half-lives in Candida albicans using thiolutin as a transcription inhibitor. Genome, 49(8):894-899.

Taylor, R.*, B.W. Kebaara*, T. Nazarenus, A. Jones, R. Yamanaka, R. Uhrenholdt, J.P. Wendler, and A.L. Atkin. 2005. Gene sets co-regulated by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway. Eukaryotic Cell, 4(12): 2066-2077. * R.T and B.W.K. contributed equally to this work.

Nazarenus, T., B. Cederberg, R. Bell, J. Cheatle, A. Forch, A. Haifley, A. Hou, B.W. Kebaara, C. Shields, K. Stoysich, R. Taylor, and A.L. Atkin. 2005. Upf1p, a highly conserved protein required for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, interacts with the nuclear pore proteins Nup100p and Nup116p. Gene, 345: 199-212.

Kebaara, B.W., T. Nazarenus, R. Taylor, A. Forch, and A.L. Atkin. 2003. The Upf-dependent decay of wild-type PPR1 mRNA depends on its 5'UTR and the first 92 ORF nucleotides. Nucleic Acids Research, 31(12): 3157-3165.

Kebaara, B.W., T. Nazarenus, R. Taylor, and A.L. Atkin. 2003. Genetic background affects relative nonsense mRNA accumulation in wild-type and upf mutant yeast strains. Current Genetics, 43:171-177.

Hornby, J., B.W. Kebaara, and K.W. Nickerson. 2003. Farnesol biosynthesis in Candida albicans: Cellular Response to Sterol Inhibition by Zaragozic Acid B. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 47(7): 2366-2369.

Department of Biology

B.207 Baylor Science Building
One Bear Place #97388
Waco, TX 76798-7388

(254) 710-2911