The elucidation of the structure of DNA was a watershed event in the history of biology. In one fell sloop it provided the molecular basis of the gene and explained how genes are propagated from mother to daughter cell. Its crowning achievement is the central dogma of molecular biology which describes information flow from DNA to protein via messenger RNA. Over fifty years of DNA research since then has lead to a detailed understanding of practically all the molecular players of the central dogma, and their mutual interactions. More recently, a new view of the information encoded by DNA has emerged, one that goes beyond DNA as the physical embodiment of the gene. Unlike genomic information which is encoded in the base sequence, this information is carried by interactions of DNA with DNA-binding proteins.
This workshop will bring together researchers from the mathematical, physical and biological sciences interested in protein-DNA interactions and how they steer cellular processes such as transcription, replication and DNA packing. The workshop will attempt to bridge scales starting from single molecules and macromolecular complexes, all the way to whole cells, and to highlight the fundamental mathematical problems posed by each one.
This workshop will attempt to take a snapshot of the field of DNA-protein interactions and examine it from a number of viewpoints provided by different length and time scales. These will include single-molecule studies of DNA-protein interactions, such as those by DNA motors and DNA packaging proteins (histones in eukaryotes and histone-like proteins in prokaryotes) as well as whole-genome studies that seek to uncover regulatory motifs that bind transcription factors.
One of the main thrusts of the workshop will be to highlight opportunities for mathematicians and physicists interested in applying ideas from statistics, stochastic equations, statistical and continuum mechanics to the burgeoning field of protein-DNA interactions.