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in Kassel

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Project I
RNA interference (RNAi) and related mechanisms can silence gene expression on the level of transcription, translation and RNA stability. We investigate components of the RNAi system in Dictyostelium and try to define the role of the negative regulator HelF, the five members of the Argonaute family, the two Dicer-like proteins and the thre RNA dependent RNA polymerases. By various biochemical, biophysical and molecular techniques we attempt to identify complexes of proteins and RNAs.

Project II
The organization of heterochromatin is frequently regulated by small RNAs from the RNAi pathway. As documented by a large amount of endogenous siRNAs, RNA interference is substantially involved in silencing of retroelements. Histone modifications and DNA methylation are involved in determination of the chromatin state. Dictyostelium has a single DNA methytransferase of the Dnmt2 type. We have shown that the Dictyostelium homolog DnmA methylates retroelements but it can also methylate specific tRNAs in vitro. We try to elucidate the biological function of tRNA methylation and the consequences of DNA methylation by DnmA.



Molecular biology, fluorescence microscopy, scanning force microscopy


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Wolfgang Nellen
FB 18 (Naturwissenschaften)
Abt. Genetik
Universität Kassel
Heinrich-Plett-Str. 40
34132 Kassel, Germany

Telefon: +49 561 804 4805
Fax: +49 0561 804 4800