Our Research Interests
At the molecular level, networks are generated by multiple interactions of nucleic acids and proteins and by protein-protein interactions. The latter results, for the most part, in the formation of multiple protein complexes (MPCs).
We are interested in studying a MPC formed by components involved in important DNA transactions when cells are exposed to DNA damage. This is a condition that induces the expression of error-prone DNA polymerases, the activity of which might lead to mutations. Our long-term goal is to learn about the mechanisms that regulate the activity of error-prone Y family DNA polymerases. This will provide a detailed understanding of the mutation pathways in bacteria. In turn, this will lead to a good understanding of the involvement of error prone Y family DNA polymerases in the evolution of important functions, such as antibiotic resistance. Importantly, our research will contribute to the general understanding of mutagenesis, since Y family polymerases are conserved from bacteria to humans.
In our research, we address specific questions of whether the MPC that we analyzed with purified components displays similar features in living cells. Understanding how to control the activity of error-prone DNA polymerases has far reaching implications due to their evolutionary conservation.
Our working model is that protein-protein interactions, and likely MPC formation, modulate the activity of Y family DNA polymerases, allowing cells to regulate mutagenesis so that beneficial mutations might permit survival in conditions of stress.
We use bacteria as a model system, namely Escherichia coli. Due to its relative simplicity, studying basic processes in bacteria will provide mechanistic insights that would be difficult to attain directly in more complex systems.