Molecular Genetics and Genetics

Organisational unit: Research group

Description

Telomeres are necessary for the integrity chromosomes. This group studies the function of telomeres and the basic molecular mechanisms of telomerase, the enzyme catalyzing the synthesis of telomeric DNA. The roles of telomeres in cancer and aging are also considered.

Research

Chromosomes need functional caps at their ends. These caps are called telomeres. Telomerase is the enzyme synthesizing the specific DNA sequences found at the telomeres and is thus responsible for maintaining their lengths. Telomerase activity can be found in most tumor cells, implicating that an active telomerase seems to be a prerequisite for tumor growth. We are aiming to clarify the structure and function of telomeres. We hope to contribute fundamental knowledge about telomere maintenance and the evolution of this mechanism. This will help to elucidate the role of telomerase activity in tumorigenesis as well as the role of telomere shortening in aging. Using yeast as a model system, we study the molecular mechanisms of telomere length regulation. Our research also focuses on the synthesis mechanisms of telomerase, and aims for the identification and functional analysis of the genes that regulate telomerase.