Our research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Specifically. we are investigating how different regulatory proteins interact to control gene expression and how these interactions influence the regulatory activity of these proteins. Many of the factors that we are studying in yeast are closely related in structure and function to regulatory proteins in higher eukaryotes that play critical roles in processes such as development and cancer. Investigations into the activity and role of these transcription factors in yeast therefore provides valuable information on the function of the homologous proteins in multi-cellular organisms.
We have chosen three different regulatory systems to study the mechanisms that control gene expression: 1) examining the protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions of the Mat2 protein. a member of the highly conserved homeodomain family of DNA- binding proteins. which functions as a cell-type specific repressor involved in mating-type regulation. 2) examining the molecular interactions of the Mcm1 protein. a MADS-Box protein that is involved in the transcriptional regulation of cell-type and metabolic pathways and has an essential role in the regulation of genes expressed at specific stages of the cell cycle. and 3) investigating the mechanism of temporal regulation of genes expressed at the middle stages of meiosis. including the analysis of proteins involved in histone modification and the characterization of novel DNA-binding proteins with human homologs that are associated with cancer. Our laboratory utilizes a combination of biochemical. genetic. structural and bioinformatics techniques. including microarray gene expression analysis and screens of the yeast genome deletion library. to investigate the mechanism of transcriptional regulation in yeast.