The research in the Beuning laboratory encompasses the following areas:
We aim to determine how cells respond to DNA damage and maintain the accuracy of genetic information, by studying the specificity of DNA-damage bypass Y-family DNA polymerases for different types of damage, by probing interactions between DNA replication and DNA damage tolerance, and by determining the genes responsible for tolerance to specific DNA damaging agents. As part of this work, we aim to develop DNA damage tolerance enzymes and DNA repair proteins as tools for biotechnology applications.
We also seek to determine fundamental aspects of enzyme function that can be applied to protein engineering. This work, largely in collaboration with the Ondrechen laboratory, probes the roles of residues remote from the active site in enzyme function. This work focuses on a wide range of enzymes, from DNA polymerases to enzymes involved in the urea cycle and sugar metabolism. A second goal of this project is to determine the functions of enzymes of unknown function from structural genomics projects.