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Zechiedrich Laboratory

Houston, Texas

Supercoils in architecture echo the structure of DNA.
Zechiedrich Lab
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DNA Topoisomerases, DNA Structure, and DNA Topology

By passing DNA strands through each other, the ubiquitous topoisomerases control chromosome condensation, chromosome segregation, DNA replication, DNA transcription, and DNA recombination. Topoisomerases break and reseal DNA to modulate DNA supercoils, DNA catenanes, and DNA knots. Topoisomerases are the cellular targets for widely prescribed anticancer and antibiotic agents. The normally short-lived, broken DNA intermediate produced by topoisomerases is increased by the drugs, which causes cell death. We use biochemical, biophysical and genetic techniques to determine how topoisomerases carry out the cellular roles and how drugs block their function. We also study DNA structure and have utilized the topoisomerases to create new gene therapy vectors.

Current Lab Members Working on This Project:



  • 1997-2001 CMB training grant (T32 GM08231)
  • 1998-2002 Burroughs Wellcome Fund New Investigator Award
  • 1998-1999 Curtis Hankamer Research Award
  • 1999-2007 Program in Mathematics and Molecular Biology
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Interfaces Program
  • 2001-2005 National Science Foundation (MCB 0090880)
  • 2002-2005 U.S. Army Material Command, Initiative for Breast Cancer DAMD17-02-1-0287
  • 2004-2007 W. M. Keck Center for Computational and Structural Biology, National Library of Medicine T15 LM07093
  • 2004-2013 National Institutes of Health (RO1 AI054830)
  • 2010-2013 Human Frontier Science Program
  • 2011-2013 Seattle Children's Research Hospital (through NIH)
  • 2012-2014 John S. Dunn Foundation Collaborative Research Award