Research focus

The main interest of the laboratory is in the structure, function and regulation of synthesis of nuclear proteins including chromosomal proteins and other protein factors involved in the control of transcription. DNA replication during the S-phase of the cell cycle requires the coordinate synthesis of histones in stoichiometric amounts for the assembly of chromatin on replicated DNA. The major human histone gene cluster has been mapped to chromosome 6p21.1-6p22.2, and more than 50 histone genes were identified and sequenced within that gene cluster. Several S-phase independent histone genes map as solitary genes to other chromsomes. Current work in this project area deals with the function of individual H1 histone subtype genes. A second major project deals with the factors mediating the transport of histone-related transcriptional regulators from the cytoplasm to the cell nucleus. This work concentrates on the differential role of nuclear import receptors and specific protein-protein interactions during the nuclear transport of these proteins. The third topic of research deals with the structural transitions of chromatin during programmed cell death and with the regulation of factors involved in apoptotic chromatin cleavage and histone modification.