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Scientific Highlights

Large complexes involved in gene expression

Transcription and translation are fundamental molecular mechanisms of gene activity regulation with profound implications for human health. The ligand-dependent transcriptional regulation by nuclear receptors bound to DNA response elements involves the transient assembly of large co-regulator complexes. These trigger chromatin remodeling and facilitate the assembly of the general transcription machinery on the promoter of the target gene. Gene expression is also regulated at the level of protein synthesis, for example, by protein factors that bind to the ribosome during the translation initiation, elongation and termination phase. The initiation phase is strongly regulated by factors and also by the mRNA itself and well-characterized reaction intermediates of the initiating ribosomal nano-machinery are potential targets for antibiotics. Both transcription and translation complexes represent large, transient macromolecular assemblies that we investigate by using an integrative structural biology approach with crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy forming the core.

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integrative structural biology