Understanding interactions and recognition in biological systems

// PI: Alexander Tkatchenko //

Progress in biochemistry and molecular biology is consistently linked to a better knowledge of the structure of, and functional interplay between, biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Even though these building blocks of living matter may appear at first glance to lack a larger systematic order, it is well known that relevant biochemical processes follow precisely timed sequences; in other words, they display a dynamical order. Living cells host chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes whose critical action accelerates by orders of magnitude the reaction rates of biomolecules via lowering of the free energy barrier. Likewise, DNA/RNA-interacting proteins (e.g., helicases, polymerases, nucleases, recombinases) modulate essential transaction processes involving nucleic acids to achieve DNA duplication and repair, gene expression and recombination, with an astonishing efficiency.

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