Prof. Dr. Patrick Cramer
Dept. of Genome Transcription and Regulation
MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences
Title: "How genes are switched on"
Abstract: Whereas the laboratory of Elisa Izaurralde studied mechanisms of how genes are switched off (silenced), our laboratory concentrates on the question how genes are switched on, i.e. how they are activated by transcription. To uncover the molecular mechanisms that underlie gene transcription and its regulation in eukaryotic cells we combine structural biology with functional genomics. Recent work includes the high-resolution structure of the human transcription initiation complex containing RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and the cofactor Mediator, of Pol II elongation complexes in paused, active and pre-termination states, and of Pol II complexes with parts of the spliceosome and the DNA repair machinery. We have recently also shown how various accessory factors assist Pol II to pass through nucleosomes and thereby enable chromatin transcription. In my presentation I will provide an overview of our present work and then focus on unpublished work from the laboratory before providing an outlook based on open questions. It emerges that, at least in outline, a mechanistic understanding of regulated gene transcription is now available, whereas the cellular context remains to be better explored.
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