Structure and mechanism of chromatin regulators


  • Dr Tobias Wauer

    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Project summary

Genes encoded by DNA contain instructions for all functions of the cell. The cell has to fit the 2m long DNA into a nucleus which has a diameter that is one tenth of a human hair in a structure called chromatin. However, the high level of condensation makes it hard for the cell to access DNA. 

I will set out to understand the cellular machinery that regulates access to defined regions of DNA and how defects in this process lead to diseases like cancer and neurological disorders. A major obstacle to the understanding of molecular machines is that they are embedded in the complex environment of the cell. To overcome this problem we will generate isolated complexes that are involved in chromatin regulation. It is difficult to understand and repair a malfunction if the general architecture is unknown so we will determine the molecular structure of chromatin regulators by using electron microscopy.

We will use the generated complex to understand their mechanism by observing the activity of single molecular machines and validate our findings in a cellular context.