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DNA Chemical Biology. Clara Brieke group, Dep. Biomolecular Mechanisms
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstraße 29, 69120 Heidelberg

DNA modifications, Chemo-enzymatic labelling, methyltransferases, photo-activation, transcription factor binding


Organic synthesis, isolated proteins, cell culture


Organic synthesis, recombinant protein expression, protein mutagenesis, PCR, enzymatic assays, cell-based assays

Collaborations outside COST

Short description of ongoing research projects

We are developing tools for the site-selective labelling of DNA in living cells. These tools will transfer reactive chemical groups onto DNA nucleobases to p.a. introduce fluorophores for live cell imaging or to disturb protein DNA interactions. A special focus lies on reversible labelling of DNA, which will enable spatiotemporal control over local DNA structure disturbances to study the influence of DNA shape onto transcription factor binding.

  1. C. Menge, A. Heckel, “Coumarin-Caged dG for Improved Wavelength-Selective Uncaging of DNA”, Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 4620–4623
  2. C. Brieke, F. Rohrbach, A. Gottschalk, G. Mayer, A. Heckel, “Light-Controlled Tools”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 8446-8476
  3. C. Brieke, A. Heckel, “Spiropyran Photoswitches in the Context of DNA: Synthesis and Photochromic Properties”, Chem. – Eur. J. 2013, 19, 15726–15734
  4. . Brieke, M. Peschke, K. Haslinger, M. J. Cryle, “Sequential In Vitro Cyclization by Cytochrome P450 Enzymes of Glycopeptide Antibiotic Precursors Bearing the X-domain from Nonribosomal Peptide Biosynthesis”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 15715-15719
  5. C. Brieke*, G. Yim, M. Peschke, G. D. Wright, M. J. Cryle, “Catalytic promiscuity of glycopeptide N-methyltransferases enables bio-orthogonal labelling of biosynthetic intermediates”, Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 13679-13682
Other activities of potential interest to others

Cost UE