Reference : PhD Albert Weixlbaumer
The first step in gene expression, where DNA is copied into RNA, is called transcription and carried out by a protein enzyme called RNA polymerase (RNAP). The architecture and basic mechanism of RNAP is universally conserved. Because of its fundamental role, transcription affects essentially every aspects of biology and a large number of regulatory processes target RNAP. Misregulation of transcription has severe effects and has been implicated in a growing list of human diseases.
We focus in the team on three questions:
i) How do protein factors regulate transcription;
ii) how do non-coding RNAs regulate transcription; and
iii) how are protein synthesis and transcription coupled in bacteria?
To address those questions, we combine biochemistry and structural biology (mostly single particle cryo-EM) to describe these processes at the molecular level.
We are interested in Protein transcription factors and non-coding RNAs, which regulate gene expression during transcription elongation (when RNA is synthesized) or are influencing transcriptional fidelity (they prevent or correct errors during transcription). We also increasingly focus our attention on protein factors that couple transcription and translation in prokaryotes.
Prospective students interested in a mechanistic understanding of fundamental biological processes will benefit from joining a young team. They will learn molecular biology and biochemical techniques and structural approaches like X-ray crystallography or single particle cryo-EM on RNAP complexes. This toolset will enable them to interpret the results at the molecular level and prepare them well to address fundamental questions in the life sciences in the future.
Application Deadline : Nov. 1, 2018