- Single-molecule imaging
- Fluorescence microscopy
- Fluorescence spectroscopy
- DNA methyltransferase enzymes
- DNA mapping
- Super-resolution microscopy
Sequence-specific DNA modification using the DNA Methyltransferase enzymes.
Nature has evolved exquisite specificity, of which the DNA methyltransferase enzymes are just one fascinating example. In bacteria, these enzymes are part of the bacterium’s defence mechanism against viral invasion. We use these enzymes to deliver functional groups to DNA molecules at specific sequence motifs. This is leading to a range of novel applications including the development of a new DNA mapping technology that can be used as a rapid screen for pathogens.
Single-molecule fluorescence microscopy
We frequently observe chemical and biological processes at the ensemble level. What this means is that, in these experiments, we measure an average signal from the entire population of molecules in the system. In biology, this can be misleading since it is often those few molecules in a system that are behaving differently to the others that are really determining the system’s behaviour. For example, a single mutated enzyme may develop off-target specificity that can lead to a cascade of potential problems in a cell. Our group is developing and applying new ways to study biological systems at the single-molecule level, predominantly using fluorescence microscopy.