Project abstract for group aiharah

Structural Studies of DNA Recombination and Repair Enzymes

This research group is interested in DNA recombination and repair processes relevant to human health. Specifically, they are currently pursuing the following processes:

  • Retroviral integration reaction by which retroviruses such as HIV-1 insert viral DNA into host chromosomes
  • Resolution of replicated hairpin telomeres in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and other pathogenic bacteria
  • Repair of phosphotyrosyl-DNA adducts formed by failed topoisomerase reaction in eukaryotic organisms
  • DNA mutation by cytosine deamination catalyzed by the APOBEC3B enzyme

The researchers use X-ray crystallography to determine three-dimensional structures of protein-DNA complexes that represent intermediates of the DNA strand cutting and rejoining reactions. The structural information is crucial for mechanistic understanding of aforementioned processes, which may ultimately aid in the development of newer drugs and tools for gene therapy. 

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