Møllegaard Group – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine > Research groups > Møllegaard Group

Møllegaard Group

RNA and Gene Medicine Program

Primary research area

Genome structure and organisation, Protein-DNA interaction, Transcription regulation, New protein purification methods.

Current Research

DNA structural codes in genomes. The development of diseases caused by mutations in the genome is not only explained by changes in protein-coding regions leading to dysfunctional proteins. Mutations affecting DNA structure and genome organization involving physiological and pathological processes are likewise linked to human diseases. The three-dimensional molecular structure of DNA, specifically the shape of the backbone and grooves of genomic DNA, can be dramatically affected by nucleotide changes, which can cause differences in protein-binding affinity and phenotype. Thus, knowing the DNA structure along the DNA of the genome is important for a detailed understanding of the DNA function.  Accordingly, the mutability of a gene or genomic region may also be influenced indirectly by a variety of nearby non-canonical secondary DNA structures whose formation is facilitated by the underlying DNA sequence.  These structures may be involved in mutational mechanisms underlying human diseases. Consequently, the effect of a base pair mutation cannot be predicted solely by identifying the base pair because a given base pair changes may affect or develop a secondary DNA structure several base pairs away from the mutation through allosteric transformation in the DNA.

Potential projects for master and PhD students:

  • Identify new DNA structural elements in genomes, which may be linked to function and diseases.
  • Study allosteric effect on DNA structure and function as a consequence of base pair modifications.
  • Develop and use bioinformatics tools for genomic analysis of mutational effects on DNA structure and function.

Collaborators

Thomas JD Jørgensen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU Frank Kjeldsen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU Morten Gjerstoff, Department for Cancer and Inflammation Research, SDU Peter E. Nielsen, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicin, KU Poul Valentin Hansen, Department of Biochemistry and and Molecular Biology, SDU