About SFB 1309 - Chemical Biology of Epigenetic Modifications

Chemical modifications on biomolecules attract currently enormous scientific interest. It is emerging that the chemical derivatization of nucleobases within DNA and RNA and of amino acids in proteins establish a second layer of information. This information layer is operational above the sequence code that is created by the order of amino acids in proteins and nucleobases in nucleic acids. The chemical postreplicative-, posttranscriptional- and posttranslational modification of biomolecules creates a novel, fundamentally important additional chemical layer of information that regulates the complex interactions of biomolecules with each other in the complex environment of a cell. This CRC has the goal to elucidate the additional chemical language present on biomolecules. We will decode the “chemical code” above the sequence information and we will generate molecules that can interfere with the biological processes associated with reading, writing and erasing this new code. Our focus will be “Chemical Biology”, which involves analytical and synthetic chemistry to find and to quantify unknown modifications. We will discover new writer-, reader- and eraser-proteins using modern mass spectrometry based proteomics tools and we will develop new sequencing tools to locate the position of modifications in DNA and RNA. Finally, we will investigate the chemical mechanisms that enable enzymes to modify biomolecules position selectively and we will integrate Cell Biology to find the biological function of the modifications on the biomolecules.

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TU München