Group Ivica Rubelj:
Our main research interest is telomere structure and function and their role in control of normal and immortal cell growth. Telomeres are repetitive sequences at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes and they play a crucial role in protection of genome integrity, cell growth control and immortalization. Through interactions with several proteins they shape chromosome ends into so called telomere loops (t-loop) in order to prevent possible modifications by DNA repair mechanisms. In normal cells they continuously shorten with each division which ultimately leads to cell senescence. Besides gradual telomere shortening there is also abrupt telomere shortening which we proposed as a mechanism that underlies the sudden and stochastic appearance of senescent cells in culture.
Group Mary Sopta:
Regulation of gene expression at the level of transcription is a fundamentally important process in the differentiation of different cell types and the development of organisms. Gene transcription by RNA polymerase II in eukaryotes involves a plethora of auxiliary protein factors which are required for the processes of transcription initiation, elongation and termination, each of which represents a potential regulatory point.Our group is interested in various aspects of transcriptional regulation in yeast as well as the role of transcription factors, in processes such as DNA repair. We are currently studying the role of Cdk8 in Gal4 dependent transcription as well as the role of the TFIIF small subunit (Tfg3) in transcription and DNA repair.