David Price, PhD


Professor of Biochemistry

Contact Information

Primary Office: 3130 MERF
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-7910

Web: Price Laboratory


BS, Dept of Chemistry, North Carolina State University
PhD, Dept of Chemistry, Florida State University

Post Doctorate, Dept of Biology, Caltech
Post Doctorate, Dept of Chemistry, Caltech

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry PhD
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Understanding how mRNA levels are controlled in eukaryotes requires dissection of the intricate pathway responsible for the synthesis and processing of mRNA. Previously, we obtained evidence for a general eukaryotic transcription regulatory process that controls the number of polymerase molecules that are able to produce full-length mRNAs. We discovered P-TEFb, a cyclin dependent kinase that plays a key role in this elongation control process. The kinase activity of P-TEFb is generally required for eukaryotic gene expression and recent results indicate that cells carefully regulate P-TEFb through an unusual association with a small RNA called 7SK. We are currently engaged in projects to uncover the mechanism of P-TEFb function and how it is regulated. The AIDS virus, HIV, encodes a protein, Tat, that enables the virus to take over the control of P-TEFb. We are studying Tat-transactivation and are examining the mechanism of action of drugs that target this critical step in the HIV life cycle. One such drug, flavopiridol, is in clinical trials as an anti-cancer therapy. We have shown that flavopiridol targets the kinase activity of P-TEFb and this can block the growth of cancer cells and at lower concentrations block HIV replication. Our basic research on factors that influence elongation by RNA polymerase II also uncovered the first RNA polymerase II termination factor, TTF2. Current results indicate that this factor plays a role in mitotic repression of transcription elongation and transcription coupled repair of DNA. Finally, we have begun to develop new in vitro assays to study the mechanistic details of the interaction of RNA processing machinery with the transcription complex. We have shown that 5' capping of mRNAs occurs about 100,000 times more efficiently if transcripts are in elongation complexes. Overall, we use biochemical, molecular and cellular techniques to advance our understanding of the control of RNA polymerase II elongation and how that process influences RNA processing, HIV replication and cancer growth.

Selected Publications

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Nilson K, Guo J, Turek M, Brogie J, Delaney E, Luse D, Price D.  THZ1 Reveals Roles for Cdk7 in Co-transcriptional Capping and Pausing..  Molecular cell.  2015 August 20. 59(4):576-87.

Davis M, Guo J, Price D, Luse D.  Functional interactions of the RNA polymerase II-interacting proteins Gdown1 and TFIIF.  J Biol Chem.  2014 March. [Epub ahead of print].

Guo J, Turek M, Price D.  Regulation of RNA polymerase II termination by phosphorylation of Gdown1.  J Biol Chem.  2014 March. [Epub ahead of print].

Liu P, Xiang Y, Fujinaga K, Bartholomeeusen K, Nilson K, Price D, Peterlin B.  Release of P-TEFb from 7SK snRNP activates HEXIM1 transcription.  J Biol Chem.  2014 February. [Epub ahead of print].

Gu J, Babayeva N, Suwa Y, Baranovsky A, Price D, Tahirov T.  Crystal structure of HIV-1 Tat complexed with human P-TEFb and AFF4.  Cell Cycle .  2014. 

Guo J, Li T, Schipper J, Nilson K, Fordjour F, Cooper J, Gordân  R, Price D.  Sequence specificity incompletely defines the genome-wide occupancy of Myc.  Genome Biol.  2014. 15(10):482.

Fowler T, Ghatak P, Price D, Conaway R, Conaway J, Chiang C, Bradner J, Shilatifard A, Roy A.  Regulation of MYC Expression and Differential JQ1 Sensitivity in Cancer Cells.  PLoS One.  2014 January. 9:e87003.

Guo J, Price D.  RNA polymerase II transcription elongation control .  Chem Rev.  2013 November. 113(11):8583-603.

Guo J, Li T, Price D.  Runaway transcription.  Genome Biol.  2013 September. 19(9):133.

Van Duyne R, Guendel I, Jaworski E, Sampey G, Klase Z, Chen H, Zeng C, Kovalskyy D, El Kouni M, Lepene B, Patanarut A, Nekhai S, Price D, Kashanchi F.  Effect of mimetic CDK9 inhibitors on HIV-1-activated transcription.  Journal of molecular biology.  2013 February. 425(4):812-29.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48