Interplay between DNA dynamics and gene regulation

Dnr:

SNIC 2016/1-393

Type:

SNAC Medium

Principal Investigator:

Ludvig Lizana

Affiliation:

Umeå universitet

Start Date:

2016-10-01

End Date:

2017-10-01

Primary Classification:

10304: Den kondenserade materiens fysik

Secondary Classification:

10603: Biofysik

Webpage:

http://physics.nyu.edu/~lgl3/

Allocation

Abstract

It is truly amazing that that the genome fits inside a living cell. If a human cell was the size of the allowed hand luggage on airline travel, the the full length of the DNA would reach from Ystad to Tromsö (~2000 km). But not only is it carefully packaged, it is folded in such a away that the genetic code can be accessed (typically by various biomolecules such as transcription factors and the RNA polymerase). This means that the DNA in addition to being extremely compact also needs to be manageable which implies a tremendous amount of organisational structure. Experiments show unambiguously that gene's activity depends not only on their position along the DNA but also on its spatial location inside the cell volume. The main goal of the project is to use large-scale numerical simulations to quantify connections between gene activity, how the DNA is spatially organised, and its dynamics (e.g. from thermal fluctuations). This is largely an unexplored area which deserves attention. We hope that our results will provide an increased understanding of how genes affect the expression of other genes which in the long perspective can give new insights in a number of diseases.