Joshua Rosenthal








Joshua Rosenthal
Senior Scientist
Email Joshua Rosenthal
Phone: (508) 289-7253

Haverford College, B.A. Biology
Stanford University, Ph.D. Biology

Current Projects:
High level Recoding by RNA editing in Cephalopods
Site-Directed RNA Editing
Marine Model Organism Development
Structural and functional connectivity of squid chromatophores

Cephalopod Operations:
Bret Grasse, Manager
Taylor Sakmar, Cephalopod Culture Specialist
Danielle Dallis, Cephalopod Culture Operations Specialist

Job Opportunities:
Postdoctoral Scientist – Rosenthal Lab

Full Publication List

Research Statement: The central dogma of biology is that genetic information passes faithfully from DNA to RNA before being decoded into proteins. This information can be manipulated at any stage. When done in DNA, the changes are irreversible. Organisms often alter information in RNA because it provides a flexible platform. They use diverse tools. One example is RNA editing through adenosine deamination, a process that occurs in all multicellular animals. Unlike alternative splicing, which shuffles relatively large regions of RNA, editing targets single bases. Catalyzed by the ADAR family of enzymes, specific adenosines are converted to inosine at precise positions within RNAs. Although inosine is not one of the four Watson-Crick bases, it is a biological mimic for guanosine during translation. Thus when editing occurs within messenger RNAs, it can recode specific codons, leading to changes to protein structure and function. By recoding mRNAs, organisms gain the option to express a diverse quiver of proteins when and where they choose. My lab focuses on RNA editing. We look at cephalopods because they recode proteins through RNA editing far more often than other organisms. We also are developing ways to redirect RNA editing to sites of our choosing.

The most common form of RNA editing in animals is a deamination of adenosine to inosine within RNAs.
Extra nuclear expression of the RNA editing enzyme ADAR in the squid stellate ganglion.
An Octopus vulgaris surveying the reef in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of Ramiro Artigas.

Select Publications:

Liscovitch-Brauer, N., Alon, S., Porath, H.T., Elstein, B., Unger, R., Ziv, T., Admon, A., Levanon, E.Y., Rosenthal, J.J.C.*, and Eisenberg, E.* (2017). Trade-off between transcriptome plasticity and genome evolution in cephalopods. Cell. (In press).

M.F. Montiel-Gonzalez, I.C. Vallecillo-Viejo, and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2016). An efficient system for selectively altering genetic information in mRNAs. NAR 44: e157.

S. Alon, S.C. Garrett, E.Y. Levanon, S. Olson, B.R. Graveley, J.J.C. Rosenthal, and E. Eisenberg (2015). The majority of transcripts in the squid nervous system are extensively recoded by A-to-I RNA editing. eLife 4: 10.7554/eLife.05198.

M. Montiel-Gonzalez, I. Vallecillo, G. Yudowski, and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2013). Correction of mutations within the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator by site-directed RNA editing. PNAS. 110: 18285-90.

J.J.C. Rosenthal and P.H. Seeburg (2012). A-to-I RNA Editing: Effects on Proteins Key to Neural Excitability. Neuron. 74:432-9.

S.C. Garrett and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2012). RNA editing underlies temperature adaptation in K+ channels from polar octopuses. Science. 335: 848-51.

Lab Members:

juandiazquirozJuan Diaz Quiroz

Throughout my career, I have been interested in how molecular, chemical and physical signals intersect to modulate cell behavior, and, in particular, how they can be manipulated to promote tissue repair. For this reason, over the past 14 years I have worked on projects that focus on how specific cues can affect tissue formation or regeneration. During my undergraduate and Master’s studies I analyzed how the dynamic environment of a bioreactor (containing both chemical and physical cues) affects connective tissue formation by fibroblasts seeded on collagen scaffolds. During my Ph.D. I studied how the modulation of micro RNAs (molecular cues) can create a permissive environment for spinal cord repair in mammals. During my first postdoc, I studied how modifications in bacterial-derived protein coatings (chemical and physical cues) can promote re-endothelialization of synthetic vascular grafts. Presently, I am a Postdoc in the Rosenthal Lab working on a project evaluating whether site-directed RNA editing (a molecular cue) can be use to restore normal nociception in people suffering idiopathic pain.

eldadEldad Gutner-Hoch

I have been drawn to study marine biology ever since I put my head under the water and was fascinated by the vast diversity of marine life. I am especially captivated by symbiosis, and I desire to understand the genetics and the biochemistry underlying the interaction between different organisms. During my Master’s studies I explored the diversity of the green endolithic algae, Ostreobium quekettii, which resides inside the carbonate skeleton of stony corals. Throughout my Ph.D. studies I explored the rhythmicity of stony coral’s biomineralization process and its diel cycle mechanism, focusing on contributions made by the circadian clock, symbionts, and environmental cues. During my first Postdoc I studied invertebrate larval settlement and examined the toxicity and efficacy potential of innovative nano-particle antifouling compounds.

Presently I am a Postdoc in the Rosenthal and Robertson labs, where I am exploring the RNA-editing process of the coral symbiont – Symbiodinium, a dinoflagellate unicellular algae.

Besides research I enjoy sports, the arts, and spending time in the nature outdoors with my family.

maria-montiel-gonzalezMaria Montiel-González

In recent years, strategies to correct genetic mutations by modifying DNA and RNA molecules have received increasing attention. My project has been based on engineering a site-directed RNA editing strategy to use it as a tool to correct specific mistakes within mRNAs. RNA Editing is an enzymatic process that performs adenosine (A) to inosine (I) changes within RNAs. This process is catalyzed by Adenosine Deaminases that Act on RNA (ADARs). I is structurally similar to guanosine (G), and an A-to-I change is interpreted as an A-to-G change by ribosomes and other biological processes. As a result of this mechanism, protein function may be altered, particularly if editing occurs within mRNA coding regions. In the laboratory we have engineered an “editase” that can direct the editing process to a specific adenosine of our choosing (for a description of our strategy see R. Reenan New Engl J Med 370:172-174). Using this strategy, we have been able to correct a premature termination codon (PTC) mutation in an eGFP fluorescent reporter with a 70% of editing efficiency. At present, we are testing our strategy in several mutations that cause Cystic Fibrosis and can make corrections within cells at efficiencies ranging from 20% to 80%.

kavitaranganKavita Rangan

My Ph.D. research involved characterizing how specific intestinal bacteria and bacterial metabolites affect pathogenesis and host health. Here at the MBL, I have moved away from microbiology and pathogenesis, and instead have been exploring the cellular mechanisms of ADAR regulation in cephalopods.

corbinrenkenCorbin Renken

I work as a Research Assistant I in the Rosenthal Lab. My fundamental curiosity in biology lies in how an organism’s biochemistry, physiology, morphology, and behavior- or collectively, its phenome- is mediated by a genome under environmental pressures. Of particular interest are the molecular mechanisms that regulate genetic information at a post-transcriptional level, and in how one genome, through transcriptome remodeling, may give rise to distinct phenotypes depending on its history. How do organisms regulate their transcriptome to achieve optimized fitness across various environments, and how do external cues influence these processes? RNA editing may play a novel role for rapid environmental adaptation in cephalopods. My projects seek to investigate this possibility by describing the functions of cephalopod RNA editing enzymes. I currently employ in situ hybridization to study the gene expression patterns of ADARs and voltage-gated ion channels in the squid Doryteuthis pealeii.

yisrael-schnytzerYisrael Schnytzer

I am broadly interested in animal behavior, the underlying driving molecular mechanisms and their evolutionary context. The majority of my work has revolved around the tidal zone. During my MSc I studied the little known association between boxer crabs and the anemones they hold in their claws. This was a “classic” behavioral study, focused on host location, feeding habits and general natural history. Then during my PhD I focused on trying to understand tidal rhythmicity, using a limpet species as the model organism. I integrated both behavioral work in the field and lab, in conjuncture with a large transcriptomic project aimed at identifying potential tidal clock genes. At present I am a post-doc in the Rosenthal lab at MBL in Woods Hole. My work here focuses on the involvement of RNA editing in cephalopod rhythmicity and clock genes. Beside that I am fond of photography and cooking.