Van Leeuwenhoek Lecture on BioScience - Gijs Wuite (VUA, Physics of Living Systems): 'Frontiers in single molecule manipulation and imaging of DNA-protein transactions'



15:45 hrs


Gorlaeus laboratories, 04-28 LUMY (was Cell Observatory), Leiden


The group of Gijs Wuite is part of the Physics of Living Systems Section in the faculty of Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam. The research in the group focuses on exploring DNA-protein interactions and biophysical/biomechanical properties of viral capsids & cells. The aim is to work with increasingly more complex assemblies of proteins in order to investigate the emergent properties from these systems. This approach bridges experimental systems biology and single-molecule manipulation techniques. The group uses a variety of techniques such as optical tweezers, AFM and single-molecule fluorescense as well as combinations of these techniques. The data obtained are related to biochemical studies and used for theoretical modeling.

The genetic information of an organism is encoded in the base pair sequence of its DNA. Many specialized proteins are involved in organizing, preserving and processing the vast amounts of information on the DNA. In order to do this swiftly and correctly these proteins have to move quickly and accurately along and/or around the DNA constantly rearranging it. In order to elucidate these kind of processes we perform single-molecule experiments on model systems such as restriction enzymes, DNA polymerases and repair proteins. The data we use to extract forces, energies and mechanochemistry driving these dynamic transactions. The results obtained from these model systems are then generalized and thought to be applicable to many DNA-protein interactions. In this talk I will report on two new single molecule methods.