Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TUTORS

Burton, Briana, Ph.D.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

http://labs.mcb.harvard.edu/burton/

profile_image Membrane-bound DNA transport machines involved in antibiotic resistance, chromosome segregation, and spore formation

How do cells move one of the largest and most hydrophilic biological molecules across hydrophobic membrane barriers? This is the broad question our laboratory seeks to understand. In bacteria alone, this process is involved in the transfer of antibiotic resistance, spore formation, and proper chromosome segregation during growth. Yet, very little is known about the molecular mechanism of DNA translocation across membranes in any system, as tools to study the mechanism of DNA transporters in their biological context at the membrane have been lacking. We combine in vitro and in vivo biochemistry, microscopy, microbiology and molecular biology to study these DNA transport complexes.

DNA transport during sporulation

Proper chromosome segregation is essential for successful cell division in all organisms. Interestingly, bacterial cells often form a division septum prior to completion of DNA segregation. Sporulating Bacillus subtilis cells provide an extreme example of this phenomenon in that they must transport more than 3 Megabases of a chromosome across a division septum and into the small cellular compartment that will become the spore. SpoIIIE, a member of a large family of bacterial and archeal membrane-bound ATPases (FtsK/SpoIIIE), is required for active transport of the chromosomal DNA at the division septum during sporulation. Using quantitative fluorescence microscopy, and in vivo DNA transport assays to study the oligomeric state and transport properties of the SpoIIIE complex led to the very surprising and novel result that the DNA is transported across two membranes during sporulation. These data predict a new model for DNA transport in which the transmembrane segments of the transporter form linked DNA-conducting channels across the two lipid bilayers of the septum. This system provides a unique opportunity to tackle this interesting phenomenon using complimentary in vivo and in vitro approaches and to address issues which have significant implications for our understanding of how cells efficiently move of large nucleic acids across membranes.

next tutor: Carroll, Michael

Below is a listing of current tutors:

  • (1)   Aldovini, Anna , M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital
  • (2)   Auld, David , Ph.D., Department of Biology, Boston College
  • (3)   Ausubel, Frederick , Ph.D., Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • (4)   Berg, Howard , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (5)   Brenner, Michael , Ph.D., Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
  • (6)   Brenner, Tamara , Ph.D., Life Sciences Division, Harvard University
  • (7)   Buratowski, Stephen , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (8)   Burton, Briana , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (9)   Carroll, Michael , Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (10)   Chen, Bing , Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Children's Hospital
  • (11)   Chou, James , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (12)   Clapham, David , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology, Children's Hospital
  • (13)   Clardy, John , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (14)   D'Souza, Victoria , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (15)   DePace, Angela , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (16)   Dulac, Catherine , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (17)   Eck, Michael , M.D., Ph.D., BCMP, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • (18)   Eggan, Kevin , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (19)   Engert, Florian , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (20)   Erikson, Raymond , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (21)   Fisher, David , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • (22)   Fraenkel, Dan , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (23)   Fraenkel, Ernest , Ph.D., Division of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (24)   Fraenkel, Paula , M.D., Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • (25)   Gaudet, Rachelle , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (26)   Goldfeld, Anne , M.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (27)   Goldstein, Richard , Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center
  • (28)   Gray, Nathanael , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (29)   Guidotti, Guido , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (30)   Haigis, Marcia , Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • (31)   Harrison, Stephen , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (32)   Hedley, Mary Lynne , Ph.D., MGI Pharma Biologics
  • (33)   Hinds, Philip , Ph.D., Molecular Oncology Research Institute, Tufts - New England Medical Center
  • (34)   Hung, Deborah , M.D., Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (35)   Hunter, Craig , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (36)   Jasanoff, Alan , Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering/Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (37)   Kahne, Daniel , Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
  • (38)   Kay, Jeremy , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (39)   Kieff, Elliott , M.D., Ph.D., Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (40)   Kirchhausen, Tomas , Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (41)   Kishony, Roy , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (42)   Kleckner, Nancy , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (43)   Kolter, Roberto , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (44)   Kopcow, Hernan , Ph.D., Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • (45)   Kunes, Samuel , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (46)   Lahav, Galit , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (47)   Leschziner, Andres , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (48)   Liberles, Stephen , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (49)   Lichtman, Jeff , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (50)   Lieberman, Judy , M.D., Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (51)   Lilley, Brendan , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (52)   Livingston, David , M.D., Department of Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • (53)   Loeken, Mary , Ph.D., Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School
  • (54)   Losick, Richard , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (55)   Lue, Robert , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (56)   Magasanik, Boris , Ph.D., Biology Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (57)   McKeon, Frank , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (58)   Michel, Thomas , M.D., Ph.D., Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (59)   Miller, Jeffrey , Ph.D., Neuromuscular Biology & Disease Group, Boston Biomedical Research Institute
  • (60)   Miller, Theodore , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Reify Corporation
  • (61)   Moazed, Danesh , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (62)   Murthy, Venkatesh , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (63)   Navia, Manuel , , Oxford Bioscience Partners
  • (64)   Nelson, David , Ph.D., Department of Physics, Harvard University
  • (65)   Olesen, James , Ph.D., Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door LLP
  • (66)   Peattie, Debra , MBA, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • (67)   Ranjbar, Shahin , Ph.D., Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • (68)   Rheinwald, James , Ph.D., Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (69)   Rivera-Feliciano, Jose , Ph.D., Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University
  • (70)   Sabeti, Pardis , D.Phil, M.D., FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University
  • (71)   Sanes, Joshua , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (72)   Sassanfar, Mandana , Ph.D., Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (73)   Sato, Vicki , Ph.D., Technology and Operations Management, Harvard Business School
  • (74)   Schier, Alexander , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (75)   Shamu, Caroline , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (76)   Shi, Yang , Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • (77)   Silberstein, Lev , M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University
  • (78)   Starnbach, Michael , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (79)   Stern, Bodo , Ph.D., FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University
  • (80)   Stern, Joel N.H. , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (81)   Strominger, Jack , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (82)   Sweadner, Kathleen , M.D., Harvard University
  • (83)   Tong, Jeffrey , Ph.D., Nora Therapeutics
  • (84)   Torello, A. Thomas , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (85)   Toth, Joseph , Ph.D., Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
  • (86)   Tucci, Greg , Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
  • (87)   Vaughan, Cheryl , Ph.D., Graduate Program in Biotechnology, Harvard University
  • (88)   Viel, Alain , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (89)   Walker, Suzanne , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (90)   Winston, Fred , Ph.D., Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School