Structural and biochemical characterisation of human SWI/SNF-related chromatin remodelling complexes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


The genomes of eukaryotes exist as chromatin. The organisation of chromatin provides a means of regulating access to the underlying genetic information. One way in which eukaryotes regulate chromatin conformation is through the action of chromatin remodelling motor proteins. Human forms of the SWI/SNF remodelling complex are a series of chromatin remodelling ATPases comprised of some 15 partially overlapping subunits. These complexes function predominantly at enhancers and have been observed to be mutated at high rates in a range of human cancers. Biochemical and structural characterisation of the activities of these complexes is limited. This proposal aims to address this using recombinant expressed proteins purified from insect cells. Cryo-electron microscopy will be used to characterise the structure of the complexes. Biochemical assays will be performed using nucleosomes assembled on model DNA templates. Insight into the structure and function of these complexes will help identify vulnerabilities in cancer cells where proliferation is driven by defective complexes.
Project provides training in Interdisciplinary Skills.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
MR/N013735/1 04/09/2016 29/09/2025
1914302 Studentship MR/N013735/1 03/09/2017 03/03/2022
Description Outer Space | Inner Space - Guardians of the Genome 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outer Space | Inner Space is a science communication venture, creating an adaptable immersive space at the iconic Mills Observatory, supported by an interactive, science outreach programme to promote cutting-edge research from the University of Dundee. The Mills Observatory in the heart of Dundee provides a unique location to develop, trial and offer public engagement activity that is immersive, uses multimodal-presentation techniques through a room-filling visual presentation screen, allowing visitors of all ages and abilities to engage with and explore the wonders of the research taking place in the School.

As part of this venture a free event - Guardians of the Genome - was held to engage with the general public and teach them about DNA through the use of themed games, and activities hosted by scientists from the University of Dundee's School of Life Sciences. This included an immersive virtual reality game called Guardians of the Genome. Around 50 people attended, mostly consisting of young families and students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018