A central concern of the present post-genomic era of biology is understanding the chemical and physical mechanisms by which gene expression is regulated. Appropriate activation and repression of particular genes is necessary for maintaining normal cell function and is required for executing the programs of cell differentiation that are essential to the development of multicellular organisms. Collectively, gene regulatory systems are the brain of the cell that allow it to respond appropriately to environmental stimuli. Many cancers and other diseases result from deranged gene regulation. In this research project, we have developed and begun applying an entirely new approach to studying the molecular mechanisms of transcription and transcription regulation in vitro. Instead of studying populations of molecules, we directly visualize the RNA polymerase and regulatory proteins on an isolated single DNA molecule, following the progression of the molecular machinery through its different states in real time while simultaneously observing the extent of transcriptional activation. Such direct visualization is made possible by a multi-wavelength single-molecule fluorescence approach we call CoSMoS (colocalization single- molecule spectroscopy). In this application, we propose applying the CoSMoS approach to elucidating the dynamic mechanisms of selected processes involved in regulation of transcription initiation and elongation using both prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerases and regulatory proteins in transcription reactions in vitro. Our goals are: 1) determine how secondary channel proteins GreB and DksA dynamically modulate the function of bacterial transcription elongation complexes; 2) elucidate the mechanism by which bacterial elongation complexes are loaded with and regulated by general elongation factors NusA and NusG; and 3) visualize eukaryotic RNA polymerase II initiation in nuclear extracts and from purified components, and characterize the dynamics of processivity factor recruitment and retention.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research will elucidate basic mechanisms of transcription regulation, which in the long term will improve public health by improving our understanding of human biology. In addition, the proposed research will help define the molecular bases for regulatory mechanisms that affect virulence and environmental dissemination of human pathogens. This basic knowledge is expected to aid in the scientific research aimed at development of agents to combat infectious disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Macromolecular Structure and Function C Study Section (MSFC)
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Adkins, Ronald
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Brandeis University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Braun, Joerg E; Friedman, Larry J; Gelles, Jeff et al. (2018) Synergistic assembly of human pre-spliceosomes across introns and exons. Elife 7:
Tetone, Larry E; Friedman, Larry J; Osborne, Melisa L et al. (2017) Dynamics of GreB-RNA polymerase interaction allow a proofreading accessory protein to patrol for transcription complexes needing rescue. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E1081-E1090
Ticau, Simina; Friedman, Larry J; Champasa, Kanokwan et al. (2017) Mechanism and timing of Mcm2-7 ring closure during DNA replication origin licensing. Nat Struct Mol Biol 24:309-315
Chadda, Rahul; Krishnamani, Venkatramanan; Mersch, Kacey et al. (2016) The dimerization equilibrium of a ClC Cl(-)/H(+) antiporter in lipid bilayers. Elife 5:
Harden, Timothy T; Wells, Christopher D; Friedman, Larry J et al. (2016) Bacterial RNA polymerase can retain ?70 throughout transcription. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:602-7
Hoskins, Aaron A; Rodgers, Margaret L; Friedman, Larry J et al. (2016) Single molecule analysis reveals reversible and irreversible steps during spliceosome activation. Elife 5:
Friedman, Larry J; Gelles, Jeff (2015) Multi-wavelength single-molecule fluorescence analysis of transcription mechanisms. Methods 86:27-36
Ticau, Simina; Friedman, Larry J; Ivica, Nikola A et al. (2015) Single-molecule studies of origin licensing reveal mechanisms ensuring bidirectional helicase loading. Cell 161:513-525
Yang, Boqian; Pu, Mingming; Khan, Hanif M et al. (2015) Quantifying transient interactions between Bacillus phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase-C and phosphatidylcholine-rich vesicles. J Am Chem Soc 137:14-7
Wang, Tracy Y; Friedman, Larry J; Gelles, Jeff et al. (2014) The covalent trimethoprim chemical tag facilitates single molecule imaging with organic fluorophores. Biophys J 106:272-8

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