Research

Chromosomes provide the fundamental scaffold for the maintenance, regulation and propagation of genetic information. Recent experimental findings have shown that eukaryotic chromosomes are folded in three-dimensional space and that the three-dimensional folding of chromosomes is directly linked to gene regulation.

 


Objective

Our lab uses biophysical single molecule techniques, such as optical tweezers and fluorescence microscopy by DNA curtains to determine the processes that lead to the three-dimensional folding of chromosomes.

 

Lines of research include

  1. Determining the process that leads to the recruitment of the SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) complex cohesin to DNA through loading factors.
  2. Elucidating the targeting of the genomic insulator protein CTCF to TAD (topologically associating domain) boundaries.
  3. Probing the mechanical strength of inter- and intramolecular crosslinks that occur during the folding of chromosomes.

Methods

Optical tweezers

We employ high-resolution optical tweezers to probe the mechanical properties of protein-mediated chromosomal crosslinks.

DNA curtains

DNA curtains are a technique to align an array of parallel strands of DNA on a microfluidic chip. Fluorescently tagged proteins can be added to the flow chamber and their interactions with DNA can be observed in real time.