Fig. 1: Chromosome organization (Felsenfeld and Groudine, Nature, 2003).
Chromosomes (Fig. 1) contain long chromatin fibers that are a complex assortment of DNA and protein that organizes our DNA into ~20 million nucleosome spools. The fundamental unit of chromatin is a nucleosome, which contains ~147 base pairs of DNA wrapped around an octamer of H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 histone proteins (Fig. 2). We are applying a cross-disciplinary approach that combines biochemical, biophysical and single molecule techniques to understand the mechanical dynamics of chromatin. We are then working to understand how mechanical dynamics regulates DNA accessibility within chromatin to control transcription. We currently have four research projects in this area.
Fig. 2 Nucleosome Structure (PMID: 1KX5)