Our research focuses on several aspects of DNA replication and gene transciption using methods of crystallography and other biochemistry and biophysics.
Human mitochondrial DNA polymerase has been implicated in drug toxicity of antiviral drugs designed against HIV reverse transcriptase. We use structures of human mitochondrial DNA polymerase as a guide for designing more potent and less toxic antiviral agents.
Gene expression system in mitochondria shows a clear viral origin: The mitochondrial RNA polymerase active site domain resembles that of T7 bacteriophage. However, mitoRNA polymerase differs from T7 RNA polymerase by functionallly depending on transcription factors. Studies of mitochondrial transcription not only provides us important links between human diseases and gene expression defects, but also a valuable point on evolution of transcription systems.
T7 RNA polymerase is a major tool for RNA synthesis in vitro. We are working on reengineering the polymerase to gain various functions for generation modified RNA.
Tel: (409) 772-9631
Fax: (409) 772-9651
Campus Location: 3.110B Basic Science Bldg
Mail Route: 0617