Lusetti Lab Research Interests
The cellular genome maintenance processes of DNA replication, recombination, and repair are highly interconnected, sharing multiple pathways and common enzymes. For example, the major pathway for repair of common, but potentially lethal, chromosomal double-stranded DNA breaks is homologous recombination. While integration of replication, repair, and recombination pathways offers an elegant means of regulating cellular DNA metabolism, it also presents an Achilles heel: mutations that inactivate components of recombinational DNA repair pathways lead to gross chromosomal instability that can cause birth defects, cancer, and premature aging. A physical understanding of the function of key enzymes that link genome maintenance processes is thus critical both for elucidating the basic DNA metabolic strategies of cells and for understanding the etiology of several crippling diseases. My broad research interest is to define the cellular processes underlying chromosomal maintenance by studying the enzymes and regulatory mechanisms that control it.
The Lusetti lab is specifically interested in the elucidation of the biochemical roles of novel enzymes involved in DNA damage response pathways. We employ comparative biochemistry to explain the differential DNA damage tolerance of multiple bacterial organisms. Further, our research seeks to expand the understanding of bacterial DNA damage response enzymes to combat the growing problem of acquired antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Follow us on Facebook !