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Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory

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Overview

The Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory includes research in a variety of organisms, notably bacteriophage lambda, Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This research is unified by interests in chromosome dynamics (recombination, chromosome segregation, and transposable elements) and regulation (transcription, silencing, and cell cycle control).

Dr. Strathern's laboratory is focused on the fidelity of recombination and transcription. They demonstrated that DNA synthesis associated with recombination is relatively low fidelity.The investigators identified mutations that elevate the level of aberrant genome rearrangements including DNA palindromes and developed ways to clone and sequence these palindromes. Their research in transcription is focused on the isolation of mutations that increase the error rate during mRNA synthesis.

Dr. Klar's laboratory studies the positional silencing and the site-specific recombination mechanisms that are components of cell type switching in S. pombe. Their studies have revealed several novel genes involved in establishing or maintaining epigenetic states of gene expression. They are also characterizing a strand-specific genome marking system that programs cell type switching. In addition, Dr. Klar's laboratory studies the segregation of DNA strand in mammals using mouse models.

Using plasmid segregation in bacteria as a model for how chromosomes are properly partitioned to daughter cells at each division, Dr. Austin's laboratory identified specific protein/DNA contacts required for accurate plasmid segregation and continues to focus on mechanisms of chromosome partitioning.

Dr. Court's laboratory has demonstrated that the N gene of bacteriophage lambda exhibits two different levels of regulation on lambda genes: N binds to its own mRNA and inhibits the synthesis of more N protein, and it modifies RNA polymerase so that transcription continues through termination sites into downstream genes. The laboratory staff is investigating how these two mechanisms are related and what other cellular functions contribute to these processes. They developed an improved method for genetic engineering in E. coli. This technique, known as recombineering, has been adopted to facilitate site directed mutagenesis and genetic engineering in mouse models.

Dr. Kashlev's laboratory, established in August 1996, is elucidating the role of RNA polymerase in transcription elongation and termination in E. coli. The lab is also carrying out an investigation of transcription elongation and fidelity in yeast and in E. coli .

Dr. Jin's laboratory studies RNA polymerase (RNAP), RNAP-associated proteins including RapA that is a Swi2/Snf2 protein and regulation of transcription using simple model system Escherichia coli. They are studying the effects of nutrient starvation and other stress responses on the distribution of RNAP and structure of bacterial chromosome. In collaboration with several PIs in GRCBL, Dr. Jin also isolates and characterizes RNAP mutants defective in transcription fidelity. Recently, his laboratory initiated a basic research on Helicobacter pylori pathogenesis.

This page was last updated on 8/21/2013.