R-loop coupled chromatin regulation
Prof Dame Caroline Dean
John Innes Centre
DNA predominantly exists as a double helix, but alternative structures are increasingly being found in our genomes. One of these, the R-loop, is formed when RNA, which is the messenger molecule made from DNA, loops back and invades the DNA double helix. The pairing between DNA and RNA is very strong, so R-loops can be stable and form ‘hairballs’ in the genome which prevent normal processes occurring because the DNA cannot be copied and more RNA cannot be made. Until recently, these R-loops were viewed as problems, but they have also been found to help specific genomic processes.
We will focus on one easy-to-study R-loop and identify what it does and how it is regulated. This will provide important information on the broader role of these structures in genome regulation.