Research in the Sandler Lab
Our laboratory is interested in the processes of DNA replication, recombination and cell division in E. coli. In particular, we are interested in how these processes are coordinated. It has been recently shown that replication forks stop for a variety of mundane, housekeeping reasons as they replicate chromosomes. This happens both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes cells. After stopping, these forks need to get repaired. This is thought to occur predominately by homologous recombination. Then after repair, these forks need to get up and running again. A special set of proteins call the Replication Restart Proteins form a multi-subunit complex at a repaired replication fork that helps to reload the replisome. In E. coli, the Replication Restart Proteins include PriA, PriB, PriC, DnaT, DnaC, and DnaB.
Our approach is a combination of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and genomics. We used the power of genetics to look for connections between replication and recombination. We use molecular biology to engineer the chromosome both physically and genetically to test models for how replication forks collapse and get restarted. We use the Green Fluorescent Protein to monitor where in the cell these processes occur. Lastly, we have initiated some genomic approaches to look at global gene expression in the mutants of the Replication Restart Proteins.
Other areas of interest and study include the genetics of iron reduction in Geobacter sulfurreducens done in conjunction with Derek Lovley's lab, and bio-informatic approaches that relate protein structure with environment.