Molecular biologists have come to realize that chromatin structure and dynamics is of major importance in regulating transcription, replication, and repair. Our interests are to understand at the single nucleosome and single chromatin fiber level the interrelationship between biological processes using DNA as a template and the structure and dynamics of chromatin. To this end, we are applying several single-molecule approaches such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), magnetic tweezers, optical tweezers, and single-pair fluorescence resonance energy transfer (spFRET) to native or reconstituted chromatin fibers of different protein compositions. Single-molecule techniques provide the sensitivity to detect and to elucidate small, yet physiologically relevant, changes in chromatin structure and dynamics. For example, recently, we have been able to:
The kinds of experiments we perform and the expertise in our laboratory range from molecular biology/biochemistry to engineering and physics. We believe that our considerable knowledge and experience in the chromatin field, combined with our ever-increasing capabilities in using single-molecule approaches put us in a unique position to approach a number of unresolved structural issues and to seek the elusive link between chromatin structure and function.