Chromosome stability and dynamics in the Lukas Group

The focus of the Lukas Group is to explore how proteins, that guard the integrity of the human genome, assemble into functional pathways, how they organize themselves in the cell nucleus, and how they communicate with external and internal environment to shield DNA against heritable and disease-predisposing mutations.

Research focus

The genome integrity field has now reached the stage where we need to ask not only ‘how does DNA repair work?’ but also ‘what prevents DNA damage to happen in the first place?’ and ‘what are the physiological limits of the biochemical reactions that keep our genomes stable and thus allow its propagation across successive cell generations?’

“Thanks to our longstanding innovative approaches to identify proteins - and their modifications that guard the integrity of the human genome - and to visualize these reactions in their physiological environment, the group is ideally positioned to address these questions,” says Professor and Group Leader Jiri Lukas.

Indeed, quantitative imaging of genome caretakers have been major sources of the discoveries and technological innovations. This includes their nuclear dynamics after various forms of environmental and endogenous stress assaults, their assembly to functional complexes, and their malfunctions in cancer cells.
The Lukas Group’s focus on the physiological end-points of genome maintenance serves as a ‘melting pot’ of multiple activities across CPR and spearheads collaborations among research programs.

Main findings

The key achievements since the establishment of our groups at CPR in 2012 include:

Identification of redox-controlled adjustment of DNA replication speed as the first-in-line molecular surveillance of replicating genomes.  

Mechanistic explanation of how histone ubiquitylation fosters fidelity of homology-directed DNA repair.

Discovery of RPA as a rate-limiting guardian of replicating genomes and a ‘molecular addiction’ of cancer cells that proliferate under increased replication stress.

Staff of the Lukas Group

Group Leader: Professor and Executive Director Jiri Lukas

Staff of the Lukas Group
Top row: Jiri Lukas, Fena Ochs, Kai Neelsen, Julian Spies
Bottom row: Hana Sedlackova, Claudia Lukas, Maj-Britt Rask, Kumar Somyajit