The precise regulation of the information stored in the DNA is vital for the proper development of organisms. The DNA of eukaryotic cells is packed in the form of chromatin in the cell nucleus, and chromatin is a fundamental component in the regulation of genome function. In our group, we study the spatial organization of chromatin in the nucleus as well as regulatory processes at the level of transcription using a combination of biochemical, genetic and cell biological techniques, primarily in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
I.) Nuclear Structure: The packaging of chromatin into the nucleus requires an extraordinary degree of compaction and physical organization. We study the importance of nuclear structure in gene regulation as well as mechanisms of DNA damage repair at the level of the higher order chromatin structure.
II.) Transcription traffic control: A surprise that emerged from recent developments in genomics and bioinformatics is the prevalence of transcription on antisense orientation of protein-coding genes. In our group, we want to understand how transcription of sense/antisense gene pairs is coordinated at the single locus level to avoid transcriptional conflicts, such as RNA polymerase II head-to-head collisions.