Erwin Peterman and Gijs Wuite (VU Amsterdam) received 780,000 euro grant

The grant is awarded by NWO Chemical Sciences for research that unravels how intertwinements between chromosomes are resolved in dividing cells.

In cell division, it is of utmost importance that the genetic information is accurately transferred to both new daughter cells. This is quite a feat, considering that the total length of DNA in each cell is about two meters! It thus happens regularly that the strands of DNA of chromosomes get intertwined, which can result in DNA bridges between segregated chromosomes. In order to keep the genetic information intact in both daughter cells, these bridges need to be resolved. How this happens in our cells is not well known: we know what proteins are involved, but we do not know how they work together and in what order they act.

With this CW TOP grant Erwin Peterman and Gijs Wuite (Physics of Living Systems) will hire three researchers to unravel how DNA bridges are resolved. To this end, the unique instrumentation developed in LaserLaB Amsterdam, combining optical tweezers and single-molecule fluorescence microscopy will be employed, which allows the concomitant mechanical manipulation of DNA and visualization of proteins acting on it. Research will be performed in collaboration with biochemist / cell biologist Ian Hickson (University of Copenhagen).