Ben Montpetit

Ben Montpetit

Position Title
Assistant Professor

3150 Robert Mondavi Institute

Profile Introduction

Nuclear RNA processing and export is an essential task in all eukaryotes, but despite the vital significance of this process, many basic fundamental questions remain. These include:

How does an RNA transit through a nuclear pore complex?

What proteins are involved in RNA export?

How is RNA export altered in response to stress or viral infection?

How do mutations in RNA export machinery contribute to disease?

The Montpetit Lab is studying these cell biology questions with the goal of describing how components of nuclear pore complexes (NPC) direct and regulate RNA export at a cellular, molecular, and atomic level. Ultimately, this will allow us to better understand the interplay between nuclear RNA export, gene expression, human biology, and disease.

Research Interests

mRNA biogenesis and export

Cellular functions of non-coding RNAs

Nuclear pore complexes

Viral RNA transport and function within the host cell

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Chromosome Dynamics and Nuclear Function
  • Gene Regulation
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • RNA

Honors and Awards

  • Canada Research Chair in RNA Transport (2012)

    Professional Societies

    • RNA Society
    • The American Society for Cell Biology


    • 2001 BSc Cell Biology Simon Fraser University
    • 2007 PhD Biochemistry University of British Columbia


    A nuclear role for the DEAD-box protein Dbp5 in tRNA export. Azra Lari, Arvind Arul Nambi Rajan, Rima Sandhu, Taylor Reiter, Rachel Montpetit, Barry P Young, Chris JR Loewen, Ben Montpetit. eLife 2019;8:e48410 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.48410.

    Live-Cell Imaging of mRNP-NPC Interactions in Budding Yeast. Lari A, Farzam F, Bensidoun P, Oeffinger M, Zenklusen D, Grunwald D, Montpetit B. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;2038:131-150. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9674-2_9. PMID: 31407282.

    Exonuclease domain mutants of yeast DIS3 display genome instability. Milbury KL, Paul B, Lari A, Fowler C, Montpetit B, Stirling PC. Nucleus. 2019 Dec;10(1):21-32. doi: 10.1080/19491034.2019.1578600.

    Nup159 weakens Gle1 binding to Dbp5 but does not accelerate ADP release. Wong EV, Gray S, Cao W, Montpetit R, Montpetit B, De La Cruz EM. J Mol Biol. 2018 May 18;. PMID: 29782832

    Nucleoplasmic Nup98 controls gene expression by regulating a DExH/D-box protein. Juliana S Capitanio, Ben Montpetit and Richard W Wozniak. Nucleus, 9:1, 1-8, DOI: 10.1080/19491034.2017.1364826.

    Human Nup98 regulates the localization and activity of DExH/D-box helicase DHX9.  Juliana S Capitanio, Ben Montpetit and Richard W Wozniak. eLife 2017;10.7554/eLife.18825.

    Photo-activation of the delocalized lipophilic cation D112 potentiates cancer selective ROS production and apoptosis. Yang N, Weinfeld M, Lemieux H, Montpetit B, and Goping IS. Cell Death & Disease (2017) 8, e2587; doi:10.1038/cddis.2017.19.

    Temporal and spatial regulation of mRNA export: Single particle RNA-imaging provides new tools and insights. Heinrich S, Derrer CP, Lari A, Weis K, Montpetit B. Bioessays. 2017 Volume 39, Issue 2.

    Altered RNA processing and export leads to retention of mRNAs near transcription sites, nuclear pore complexes, or within the nucleolus. Paul B, Montpetit B. Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Sep 1;27(17):2742-56.

    Pi release limits the intrinsic and RNA-stimulated ATPase cycles of DEAD-box protein 5 (Dbp5).Emily V. Wong, Wenxiang Cao, Judit Vörös, Monique Merchant, Yorgo Modis, David D. Hackney, Ben Montpetit, Enrique M. De La Cruz. Journal of Molecular Biology 2016 Jan 29;428(2 Pt B):492-508.

    In vivo single particle imaging of nuclear mRNA export in budding yeast demonstrates an essential role for Mex67p. Carlas Smith*, Azra Lari*, Carina Derrer*, Anette Ouwehand, Ammeret Rossouw, Maximillian Huisman, Thomas Dange, Mark Hopman, Aviva Joseph, Karsten Weis, David Grunwald, and Ben Montpetit. Journal of Cell Biology, 2015 Dec 21; 122(6).   (* denotes equal contribution). See accompanying JCB In Focus article.

    Emerging properties of nuclear RNP biogenesis and export. Oeffinger M, Montpetit B. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2015 Jun;34:46-53.

    An Alternative Route for Nuclear mRNP Export by Membrane Budding. Montpetit B, & Weis K. Science. 2012 May 18;336(6083):809-810.

    Analysis of DEAD-Box Proteins in mRNA Export. Montpetit B, Seelinger MA, & Weis K. Methods in enzymology. 2012;511:239-54.

    A conserved mechanism of DEAD-box ATPase activation by nucleoporins and InsP6 in mRNA export. Montpetit B, Thomsen ND, Helmke KJ, Seeliger MA, Berger JM, Weis K. Nature. 2011 Apr 14;472(7342):238-42.

    Regulators of yeast endocytosis identified by systematic quantitative analysis. Burston HE, Maldonado-Báez L, Davey M, Montpetit B, Schluter C, Wendland B, Conibear E. J Cell Biol. 2009 Jun 15;185(6):1097-110.

    Identification of the novel TRAPP associated protein Tca17. Montpetit B, Conibear E. Traffic. 2009 Jun;10(6):713-23.

    Correlation between the secondary structure of pre-mRNA introns and the efficiency of splicing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Rogic S, Montpetit B, Hoos HH, Mackworth AK, Ouellette BF, Hieter P. BMC Genomics. 2008 Jul 29;9:355.

    Sumoylation of the budding yeast kinetochore protein Ndc10 is required for Ndc10 spindle localization and regulation of anaphase spindle elongation. Montpetit B, Hazbun TR, Fields S, Hieter P. J Cell Biol. 2006 Aug 28;174(5):653-63.

    The kinetochore and cancer: what’s the connection? Yuen KW, Montpetit B, Hieter P. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2005 Dec;17(6):576-82.

    Genome-wide synthetic lethal screens identify an interaction between the nuclear envelope protein, Apq12p, and the kinetochore in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Montpetit B, Thorne K, Barrett I, Andrews K, Jadusingh R, Hieter P, Measday V. Genetics. 2005 Oct;171(2):489-501.

    The FA2 gene of Chlamydomonas encodes a NIMA family kinase with roles in cell cycle progression and microtubule severing during deflagellation. Mahjoub MR, Montpetit B, Zhao L, Finst RJ, Goh B, Kim AC, Quarmby LM. J Cell Sci. 2002 Apr 15;115(Pt 8):1759-68.

    Functional cloning and characterization of a novel nonhomeodomain protein that inhibits the binding of PBX1-HOX complexes to DNA. Abramovich C, Shen WF, Pineault N, Imren S, Montpetit B, Largman C, Humphries RK. J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 25;275(34):26172-7.