The Falnes group's main research interest is the identification of novel human enzymes involved regulation, such as the epigenetic modifications of DNA and chromatin proteins.
About the group
The cellular macromolecules DNA, RNA and protein are subject to numerous modifications, including methylations and hydroxylations. Such modifications often have regulatory roles, such as the epigenetic modifications of DNA and chromatin proteins. The major research interest in our group is the identification of novel human enzymes involved in the introduction and removal of such modifications, and to address the biological significance of the respective modifications. As such enzymes are often mutated or dysregulated in cancer, a better understanding of their function can possibly lead to improved cancer treatment or diagnosis. Recent work from the group have focused on methyltransferases and hydroxylases involved in modifying tRNA and protein, and demethylases removing deleterious methyl lesions from DNA. These studies typically involve both biochemical characterization of the modification enzymes, as well as analyses of the modifications and their roles in a cellular or organismal context.
The Falnes Team
The research in this team focuses on elucidating the function of various enzymes putatively involved in methylation, demethylation and hydroxylation of nucleic acids and proteins. Initially, the research focused on the AlkB family of putative demethylases and their roles in nucleic acid repair.
Recently, the research has branched out to also involve other protein families, and also other biochemical processes, such as RNA and protein modification. These enzymes have been studied in bacteria, plants, and mammals, but the current research focus is mainly on mammalian systems.