June 23, 2016

Mapping the diffusive route of transcription factors in live cell nuclear architecture

Dr Elizabeth Hinde, Imaging CoE AI, EMBL Australia Node in Single Molecule Science, UNSW

Wednesday 29 June, 2016
12 – 1pm

 Level 3 Seminar Room, 15 Innovation Walk, Clayton Campus


Inside the nucleus at any given moment in time, thousands of molecules are diffusing throughout 3D genome organisation searching for a target DNA sequence. DNA repair machines look for sites of damage to prevent genetic mutations, and transcription factors undergo site specific DNA binding to maintain normal gene expression. The question is how do these molecules efficiently navigate genome architecture to arrive at a target destination? In recent work we developed a series of new fluorescence microscopy methods to track the movement of molecules around the complex DNA networks within the nuclei of live cells. Based on fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, this technology has the spatial and temporal resolution to map the impact genome organisation has on real time molecular trafficking. From using this method we discovered that DNA networks rearrange to create highways that facilitate repair and transcription factor recruitment to target DNA sites. This has given us the first opportunity to start understanding the biophysical rules for traversing the nuclear landscape.

A little info about Liz — or just watch check her our on YouTube

Elizabeth completed her PhD in 2010 in fluorescence spectroscopy at the University of Melbourne and was then recruited to the University of California, Irvine, USA to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship (2010-2013) under the mentorship of Professor Enrico Gratton. In the Gratton lab Elizabeth developed fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) methods to quantify chromatin dynamics in live cells.

Elizabeth returned to Australia in 2013 as a UNSW Vice Chancellor Fellow under the mentorship of Professor Katharina Gaus. She was awarded a Cancer Institute of NSW Early Career Research Fellowship in 2015 and has now established a research group within the EMBL Australia Node for Single Molecule Science.