Work in my lab focuses on genome caretakers at the intersection of the 3Rs of DNA maintenance, Replication, Recombination and DNA Repair. Understanding the molecular bases and regulation of these processes is fundamentally important because accumulation or incomplete repair of DNA lesions can lead to genetic instability and chromosomal rearrangements causing cancer and cell senescence, while erroneous attempts to reestablish stalled or collapsed replication forks may result in diseases associated with progressive expansion of repeated sequences (such as myotonic dystrophy and Fragile X, syndrome among many others).
We study DNA repair at the most fundamental level by first deconstructing the macromolecular ensembles orchestrating distinct DNA repair events down to the level of individual proteins. By combining physical and single-molecule biochemistry, we then investigate molecular mechanisms of the key players in these DNA repair pathways and how other protein partners and posttranslational modifications affect their action. We are also developing novel experimental approaches allowing us to sort and interrogate individual macromolecular complexes extracted from human cells and tissue samples. The resulting integrated in vivo – in vitro – in singulo approach is aimed at identifying features of genome caretaker proteins that can be exploited in designing the new therapeutics.
Current projects in our lab focus on regulation of RAD51 protein, which orchestrates the central step of homologous genetic recombination, on deciphering the molecular mechanisms and regulation of several motor proteins (FBH1, FANCJ, RTEL, CHLR1 and XPD) involved in control of RAD51-mediated recombination, replication fork progression and chromosome segregation, as well as on interplay between recombination and mismatch repair.