Dr. Aggarwal's laboratory represents a consistent effort to understand how enzymes, and transcriptional and translational regulators interact with nucleic acids to affect cellular development and disease outcome. They are studying are eukaryotic translesion DNA synthesis polymerases (Pol eta, Pol iota, Pol kappa and Rev1), which possess the ability to replicate through DNA lesions that would otherwise stall the replication machinery. They are also interested in specificity and how proteins translocate on DNA to select the correct sequence from the sea of nonspecific sequences in a cell. They study restriction endonucleases such as BamHI, and have elucidated structures of BamHI at almost every stage of its catalytic pathway. The work on transcription is motivated by questions of specificity in vivo, as they relate to homeotic proteins; and, in understanding the innate cellular response to viral infection mediated by interferon regulatory factors (IRFs). Translational regulation plays an equally important role, but an understanding of the underlying mechanisms has been hindered by the lack of structural data. They are exploring the structures of several key proteins that control mRNA translation during early fly development.
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.