The mechanism of homology search during DNA repair
DNA repair through homologous recombination is a remarkably process: A break in both DNA strands can occur which gets repaired with the use of homologous sequence elsewhere in the cell. Fortunately in most cases such homologous copy is present in the cell, as a replicated chromosome, repeated sequence, or in rare occasions as a plasmid.
Despite decades of research on the essence of this process, the search of the genome during the search of suitable sequence is still an open question.
In our research we are working on inducing and visualization the search step of repair, through observing the DNA on the move a in highly controlled fashion with a live E. coli cell. Experiment like these will allow us to answer the question: how it is possible that very short DNA fragment can find another piece of information inside the cell, where vast majority of information is simply non-homologous.
This project is done in collaboration with the group of David Sherratt at Oxford University.