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Bacterial chromosomes are more than a collection of genes, randomly scattered on a circular molecule. Chromosomal DNA sequences contain multiple layers of information coding for spatio-temporal structural and regulatory organisation. Our group focuses on the impact of DNA sequence organisation on regulatory processes from single bases steps over small DNA streches, forming structural elements, to the global chromosome design and gene arrangements. To study the impact of DNA modifications on various scales, we apply systematic genome editing and DNA sequence library analysis. For our studies we apply cutting edge CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, optogenetics, genome assembly and high-throughput data analysis.
On a local chromosomal scale, we apply cutting-edge optogenetics approaches to study time-resolved short-range promoter crosstalk. Such crosstalk is mediated via information transfer through the DNA molecule itself via DNA supercoiling, a form of tension in the helix structure of the DNA molecule that can migrate along the molecule and therewith transfer information to sensitive regulatory elements.
Furthermore, we study the interaction of the local crosstalk with the classical regulatory network, mediated by transcription factors.