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Structural Biology Programme

Macromolecular Complexes in DNA Damage Response Group

Group Leader:  Óscar Llorca
Overview

Avoiding cancer requires active DNA repair mechanisms. In addition, tumour progression needs down-regulation of the cell response to DNA damage. Large and dynamic macromolecular complexes perform many of the activities of the DNA damage response. We cannot fully understand these biological reactions without understanding the structure of the participating molecules and how they interact. Our aim is to study the structural architecture of these large complexes and understand how they function. We are interested in several processes of relevance in cancer, including DNA repair, DNA damage signalling, DNA replication, and RNA quality surveillance mechanisms. We use cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) as our main structural technique. Cryo-EM methods are revolutionising Biology and they are at the frontier of drug discovery. We can now explore the structure of complexes at close-to-atomic resolution by observing individual molecules in the electron microscope.