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David Sherratt

Bacterial Chromosome Biology

The research observes where genes and molecular machines are positioned as a cell proceeds through its growth and division cycles, and what happens when normal cellular behaviour is perturbed by different methods. Individual components of DNA organizing and processing machines are studied genetically, structurally and biochemically, and information on their molecular action is integrated into the context of their action in cells.

Up to three separate green fluorescent protein fusions to DNA binding proteins, which mark specific genes, and molecular machine components can be simultaneously tracked in living cells, thereby relating the assembly of DNA processing machinery in time and space to gene position within chromosomes. Either DNA replication or chromosome segregation can be impaired and the consequences on DNA processing and cell division visualized. Furthermore, the mechanism of action of the SMC complex, MukBEF, in organizing newly replicated DNA and the action of the FtsK DNA translocase in chromosome segregation are being investigated at the biochemical, structural and cellular levels.