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Dr. Laura Finzi
400 Dowman Dr.
Math and Science Center
Room: N246
Phone: 404-727-4930
Email: lfinzi@emory.edu
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Transcription and related molecular motors

Elongation through transcription factors

Understanding how RNA polymerases transcribe through transcriptional factors that decorate DNA without interfering with their physiological role is paramount to our global understanding of maintenance of transcription regulation.

RNA polymerase I

RNA polymerase I (Pol I) is the eukaryotic polymerase that transcribes the genes that encode ribosomal RNA and is responsible for more than 60% of the cellular transcriptional activity. In collaboration with David Schneider (Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham), we are characterizing its elongation kinetics.


Topoisomerases are crucial in managing the level of DNA supercoiling largely arising from transcriptional activity of RNA polymerases. We study Type II topoisomerases in collaboration with David Dunlap using magnetic tweezers and labeling individual DNA molecules with super-paramagnetic beads.

The experimental trace in the figure reveals the shortening of a DNA tether upon insertion of negative supercoils by Gyrase. The cartoons explain the the different parts of the trace.

Relevant Publications

Authors Title Journal Volume Pages Year
M.Fernandez, Q. Shao, C.Fountain, L. Finzi, and D. Dunlap "E. coli gyrase fails to negatively supercoil diaminopurine-substituted DNA" JMB 2015
Suleyman Ucuncuoglu, David A. Schneider, Eric Weeks, David Dunlap, and Laura Finzi "Multiplexed, tethered particle microscopy for studies of DNA-enzyme dynamics" Methods in Enzymology accepted
S. Ucuncuoglu, K. L. Engel, P. K. Purohit, D. D. Dunlap, D. A. Schneider, L. Finzi “Direct characterization of transcription elongation by RNA polymerase I” Plos One 2016

Relevant Techniques

Method Used for
AFM to visualize transcriptional elongation
TPM to monitor the rate of transcriptional elongation and the activity of topoisomerases
MTs to study the activity of topoisomerases
PIFE to monitor the dynamics of transcriptional elongation

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography: