Welcome to the Pena lab. We explore the structural basis of splicing regulation. Here we place particular emphasis on connections between splicing and other gene expression events, as well as on the misregulation that causes various diseases. DNA catalysts are also an important topic of the work pursued in our laboratory.
For our investigations, we make use of biochemistry, X‑ray crystallography and electron microscopy.
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex SF3B. Max Planck researchers have now succeeded for the first time in deciphering in atomic detail how an anti-tumor agent binds to SF3B and how it modulates its function. The new findings provide an important basis for further improving potential cancer drugs that target SF3B.
The "core business" of DNA is undoubtedly to code and store our genetic information. However, DNA can also catalyze chemical reactions like an enzyme. For the first time, Göttingen researchers now solved the spatial structure of a DNA enzyme in atomic detail. They thus provide evidence that also DNA can fold into complex three-dimensional shapes to be catalytically active.