Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Luger, Karolin
Location University of Colorado Boulder
Primary Field Biophysics and Computational Biology
Secondary Field Biochemistry
 Election Citation
Luger has made seminal contributions to our mechanistic understanding of chromatin structure and dynamics by determining the structure of the nucleosome and the effect of histone variants and post-translational modifications on nucleosome stability and higher order structure, as well as the mechanism of action of histone chaperones.
 Research Interests
Research in the Luger Lab focuses on how nucleosomes and chromatin interfaces with the nuclear machineries that are responsible for gene expression, replication, and DNA repair. For example, her work has led to an understanding of how the herpes virus genome can 'hitchhike' on host chromosomes to escape destruction by the host defense mechanism, and how the posttranslational modifications of histones affect the structure and packing of nucleosomes. The group also investigates how nucleosomes are assembled and disassembled by a 'histone chaperones', and how DNA damage is signaled through the nucleus. This recent work impacts cancer therapies, as one of the proteins under investigation is a promising new drug target for certain cancers. The group has also suggested the potential evolutionary origin of nucleosomes, by visualizing the organization of chromatin in an ancient domain of life, the Archaea. The lab uses a wide range of techniques, such as X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, analytical ultracentrifugation, molecular biology, and life-cell imaging.

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