The Mediator complex is a multi-subunit assembly required for regulating expression of most RNA polymerase II (pol II) transcripts, which include protein-coding and most non-coding RNA genes. Mediator is generally targeted by sequence-specific, DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) that control gene expression programs in response to developmental or environmental cues. Mediator functions by relaying signals from TFs directly to the pol II enzyme. Thus, Mediator is essential for converting biological inputs (communicated by TFs) to physiological responses (via changes in gene expression). The Taatjes lab examines the basic mechanisms that underlie Mediator function, with the goal of identifying key molecular interfaces (and/or molecular probes to target these interfaces) that contribute to its broad regulatory influence on gene expression. We are also actively studying factors that influence Mediator structure and activity, including TFs, non-coding RNAs, and the CDK8 module.
Transcription, structural biology, biophysics, cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, biochemistry and molecular biology, aging, signaling, metabolism
BCHM 2700 - Foundations of Biochemistry
Covers chemistry of aqueous solutions; energetics in biology; structure of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and membranes; protein evolution; macromolecular interactions; enzyme kinetics, mechanism and regulation. Will be taught from a strong chemical perspective and mastery of basic concepts of general and organic chemistry will be required. Familiarity with basic concepts of molecular and cellular biology encouraged. Formerly CHEM 4700.
BCHM 4761 - Biochemistry Laboratory
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020
Two 4-hour periods per week. Introduction to modern biochemical techniques. Topics include enzymology, spectrophotometry, electrophoresis, multi-step protein purification, recombinant DNA techniques and molecular cloning. Formerly CHEM 4761.
MCDB 4980 - Honors Research
Provides faculty-supervised research for students who have been approved by the departmental honors committee. Normally taken during the semester before completion of the honors thesis. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 4840 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.20.