Svejstrup lab Mechanisms of Transcription Laboratory

A structural model of elongating RNA polymerase II (cyan) in the act of transcribing a gene. The DNA strands are yellow and green, respectively, while the newly synthesized RNA is red.

We investigate the molecular mechanisms of transcription, and how this essential cellular process interfaces with other DNA-related processes, such a DNA replication and repair.

We study the interface between transcription and other DNA-related processes, such as DNA repair, replication, and recombination.

One of the hallmarks of human disease, including cancer, is the deregulation of gene expression: genes that are supposed to be inactive become activated, or vice versa. Another characteristic of cancer cells is their unstable genomes. They are unable to repair or maintain the integrity of their DNA.

Over the last decade, it has also become increasingly clear that the process of transcription itself entails a significant risk for genome stability. The mechanisms that ensure the safe co-existence of transcription with DNA replication and pathways maintaining genome integrity are still poorly understood.

We seek to understand transcription and the maintenance of genome integrity using a unique combination of biochemical, genetic and cell biological techniques, primarily in human cells.