The long-term objective of the research in the Kadonaga laboratory is to understand the mechanisms of regulation of RNA polymerase II transcription in bilateria (bilaterally-symmetric animals). Why is it important to study gene expression? A thorough understanding of gene expression is essential because the basis of a diverse range of biological phenomena (including many human diseases such as some cancers) can be traced to the proper or improper expression of a gene or set of genes. Thus, new insights into the mechanisms of gene expression will have a broad impact upon a wide range of biological research. The Kadonaga lab has sought to explore new and often underappreciated frontiers in chromatin and transcription. In this manner, they have been able to make a number of unique contributions to the understanding of gene regulation. In the future, they plan to study the diversity of mechanisms of the basal transcription process and the role of chromatin, particularly non-nucleosomal histone-containing structures, in the regulation of gene expression. These topics will be studied both individually as well as in concert to gain the best possible understanding of how genes are regulated in bilateria such as Drosophila and humans.
These studies will lead to a better understanding of gene regulation, and will therefore provide new insights into the molecular basis and potential treatment of human diseases, such as many forms of cancer, that involve abnormalities in the control of the expression of genes.
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