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Department of Biochemistry


Transcriptional control of growth

Decades of work by biological scientists have revealed many fundamental mechanisms of life, yet several questions remain unanswered. This is in part because they are difficult to study using established methods and technologies that mainly analyse or model behaviour of few molecules in isolation or the effect of loss of one or a few genes on cellular or organismal functions. The principal aim of my group is to understand two systems-level questions that are presently poorly understood: the mechanisms that control growth of tissues and organisms, and the rules that specify how DNA sequence determines when and where genes are expressed.


Research Objectives:

  1. Identify mechanisms that govern transcription factor binding in vitro and in live cells.
  2. Use the resulting information to understand how DNA sequence determines when and where genes are expressed.
  3. Build a model of gene regulatory networks that control growth, and to validate the models’ predictions using reverse genetics in cultured cells and in model organisms.


Key Publications:

Kivioja T, Vähärautio A, Karlsson K, Bonke M, Enge M, Linnarsson S, Taipale J. Counting absolute numbers of molecules using unique molecular identifiers. Nature Methods 9:72-74 (2012). PMID:22101854

Sur IK, Hallikas O, Vähärautio A, Yan J, Turunen M, Enge M, Taipale M, Karhu A, Aaltonen LA, Taipale J. Mice lacking a Myc enhancer that includes human SNP rs6983267 are resistant to intestinal tumors. Science 338:1360-1363 (2012). PMID:23118011

Jolma A, Yan J, Whitington T, Toivonen J, Nitta KR, Rastas P, Morgunova E, Enge M, Taipale M, Wei G, Palin K, Vaquerizas JM, Vincentelli R, Luscombe NM, Hughes TR, Lemaire P, Ukkonen E, Kivioja T, Taipale J. DNA-binding specificities of human transcription factors. Cell 152:327-339 (2013). PMID:29425488

Jolma A, Yin Y, Nitta KR, Dave K, Popov A, Taipale M, Enge M, Kivioja T, Morgunova E, Taipale J. DNA-dependent formation of transcription factor pairs alters their binding specificity. Nature 527:384-388 (2015). PMID:26550823

Dave K, Sur I, Yan J, Zhang J, Kaasinen E, Zhong F, Blaas L, Li X, Kharazi S, Gustafsson C, De Paepe A, Månsson R, Taipale J. Mice deficient of Myc super-enhancer region reveal differential control mechanism between normal and pathological growth. eLife 6: e23382 (2017). PMID:28583252


Contact Details

+44 (0)1223 766043

+44 (0)1223 333664