University of Dundee

Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group

The work of the group centres on the structural, dynamic and chemical properties of nucleic acids, and their recognition by and interactions with proteins.

Nucleic acids perform many roles in the cell. They act as the store of genetic information (DNA), the genetic messenger and template for the synthesis of proteins (mRNA), the processing of mature spliced RNA (snRNA) and precisely processed RNA (snoRNA), as an enzyme (ribozymes, including peptidyl transferase activity of the ribosome) and even in the control of gene expression (miRNA species, and riboswitches).

The group works on a number of different aspects of nucleic acid structure and function, including :

  • The structure of helical junctions in DNA important in genetic recombination, and their interactions with enzymes.
  • The folding of RNA, and the origins of catalysis in RNA molecules

The approaches cover biophysics (especially fluorescence, including single molecule spectroscopy), mechanistic chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology.

Principal Investigators

Professor David Lilley FRS FRSE FRSC
Professor of Molecular Biology and Director of the Cancer Research UK Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group
Nucleic acid structure
Dr David Norman
Reader in Structural Biology
Magnetic Resonance, FRET, EPR, Spin-labeling and PELDOR