Synthetic Genetic Circuits
Prof. Dr. Beatrix Süß
RNA performs many diverse and essential roles that considerably transcend merely being the transmitter of the genetic information. The last decade led to the identification of a plethora of regulatory RNAs participating in crucial steps of gene expression. The molecular basis originates from the conformational flexibility and functional versatility of this macromolecule: like proteins, RNA can adopt complex three-dimensional structures for the precise presentation of chemical moieties which is essential for its function as a biological catalyst, regulator or structural scaffold.
Our key interest is to study how RNA exerts regulation and to use this information to engineer complex genetic circuits. A main focus of our research is the development of engineered riboswitches which can be used as genetic regulatory devices for synthetic biology. These regulatory elements base on direct RNA-ligand interaction and are perfect model systems to study the molecular basis underlying this novel type of regulation.
In addition, we study the function of naturally occurring non-coding RNAs both in pro- and eukaryotes, evolve aptamers which influence protein activities and analyze their function both in vitro and in vivo.