Research in the Thompson laboratory uses chemical biology to examine molecular recognition events inside the cell. How do protein–protein and protein–DNA interactions discern between different binding partners? By studying the structural and energetic factors that determine specific protein interfaces, we will understand how the assembly and disassembly of these complexes define biology. Specific questions our lab focuses on include; how small chemical modifications of histone proteins control DNA accessibility to turn genes on and off, and using our knowledge of molecular recognition to design miniature proteins that affect gene regulation.
We are very interested in understanding the detailed mechanisms by which proteins 'read' chemical modifications, such as methylation or acetylation. We hope to draw direct correlations to discreet chemical modification patterns on histone proteins with biological function. The elusive Histone Code Hypothesis. As we begin to understand the detailed mechanisms by which proteins 'read' chemical modifications and the connection to cellular expression profiles, we expect to apply this knowledge to the development of non-native recognition surfaces leading to controlled expresion of select genes.
The Thompson Lab performs many techniques common to biochemistry and molecular biology, including excising genes of interest from human and yeast genomes for controlled expression using "bacterial production facilities", (ie. we put the gene into E.coli, which makes our proteins for us). Consequently, we have all the instruments, equipment and facilities necessary for cloning genes of interest, expressing protein products and performing in vitro analysis using a variety of steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence techniques.
Additional areas of expertise in the lab are: Protein and DNA chemistry. Solid-phase peptide synthesis of native and highly modified peptides. Synthesis of small molecules/fluorophores. Molecular biology techniques, yeast genetics and fluorescence microscopy. Fluorescence spectroscopy (fluorometry)
|Instruments||General Equipment and Facilities|
Kodak Gel Logic 200 Imaging System
Refrigerators and freezers (-20C, -80C)
Incubators, water baths and shakers
Gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE, agarose, DNA sequencing)
Several Computers for data analysis
|DNA Sequencing (ABI
Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS)
Cold room (+4C)