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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Houston, Texas

Images from biochemistry and molecular biology research
Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Jue D. (Jade) Wang, Ph.D.

Photograph of Dr. Wang

Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Education and Awards

  • 1995: B.Sc. Physics/Mathematics, McGill University
  • 2002: Ph.D. Biochemistry, UCSF
  • 2006: Postdoc, MIT
  • 2008-2013: National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award
  • 2010: Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award
  • 2010: Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award
  • 2011-2013: American Society for Microbiology Branch Lectureship

Research Interests

Accurate DNA replication is essential for the survival and fitness of all organisms. The goal of my research is to characterize the multifaceted interface between . Through this interface, replication responds readily to metabolic and external cues; conversely, cells monitor the replication status and respond accordingly. Components of this interface are likely to play paramount roles in the maintenance of genome stability and prevention of genetic diseases and cancer. Because replication mechanisms are conserved across all of life, our work in bacteria is a broadly applicable model. We currently focus on three major directions:

  • Illustration of DNA replication and other cellular processesPrevention of transcription/replication conflict. There is a genome-wide conflict between replication and transcription, with important consequences to cellular fitness and genome integrity. Bacteria have developed diverse mechanisms to deal with this conflict. The conflict between replication and transcription can be prevented by a genome-wide strand bias to encode genes in the leading strand. In addition, a functional analog of the eukaryotic transcription factor TFIIS is crucial for prevention of this conflict. Our discoveries laid the foundation for addressing the following questions: How do transcription factors prevent the conflict between transcription and replication? What is the physical nature of the transcription barrier and how it is formed in response to stress? What are the evolutionary consequences? We are combining biochemical, genetic and genomic approaches to answer these questions.
  • The interface between DNA replication and the cellular environment. We are testing the hypothesis that multiple small molecules, induced by a spectrum of stresses, regulate DNA replication robustly. Our previous discovery of a novel regulatory mechanism of replication elongation by a small molecule, (p)ppGpp, established such a precedent. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanism of this regulation and expanding this theme to include a spectrum of other small molecules and protein regulators.
  • The physiological role of the nucleotide (p)ppGpp in stress response. (p)ppGpp is ubiquitously present in bacteria and is crucial for their survival and virulence. How (p)ppGpp ensures survival of Gram-positive bacteria upon stress remains elusive. We had made progress in finding answers to this question. We have identified components of (p)ppGpp metabolism aided by whole-genome sequencing. Taking advantage of this knowledge and applying genetic and genomic methods, we are building a new model of (p)ppGpp function.

Selected Publications

  • Srivatsan A, Tehranchi A, MacAlpine DM, Wang JD. Co-orientation of replication and transcription preserves genome integrity. PLoS Genet. 2010 Jan 15;6(1):e1000810. [PubMed]
  • Tehranchi AK, Blankschien MD, Zhang Y, Halliday JA, Srivatsan A, Peng J, Herman C, Wang JD. The transcription factor DksA prevents conflicts between DNA replication and transcription machinery. Cell. 2010 May 14;141(4):595-605. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Levin PA. Metabolism, cell growth and the bacterial cell cycle. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Nov;7(11):822-7. [PubMed]
  • Srivatsan A, Han Y, Peng J, Tehranchi AK, Gibbs R, Wang JD, Chen R. High-precision, whole-genome sequencing of laboratory strains facilitates genetic studies. PLoS Genet. 2008 Aug 1;4(8):e1000139. [PubMed]
  • Srivatsan A, Wang JD. Control of bacterial transcription, translation and replication by (p)ppGpp. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2008 Apr;11(2):100-5. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Berkmen MB, Grossman AD. Genome-wide coorientation of replication and transcription reduces adverse effects on replication in Bacillus subtilis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 27;104(13):5608-13. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Sanders GM, Grossman AD. Nutritional control of elongation of DNA replication by (p)ppGpp. Cell. 2007 Mar 9;128(5):865-75. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Rokop ME, Barker MM, Hanson NR, Grossman AD. Multicopy plasmids affect replisome positioning in Bacillus subtilis. J Bacteriol. 2004 Nov;186(21):7084-90. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Herman C, Tipton KA, Gross CA, Weissman JS. Directed evolution of substrate-optimized GroEL/S chaperonins. Cell. 2002 Dec 27;111(7):1027-39. [PubMed]
  • Wang JD, Michelitsch MD, Weissman JS. GroEL-GroES-mediated protein folding requires an intact central cavity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Oct 13;95(21):12163-8. [PubMed]

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