Hahn, Steven

Faculty Profile

First Name: 
Last Name: 
[field_fname-formatted] [field_lname-formatted]
Primary Institution: 
Basic Sciences
Mail/Box #: 


Office Location: 

A1-205 FHCRC

Office Phone: 
(206) 667-5261

Research Summary: 

Work in our laboratory aims to discover fundamental mechanisms used by the cellular transcription machinery and its regulatory factors to control RNA synthesis. Transcriptional regulation is a key step for controlling cell growth, differentiation, development, and cellular stress response.  Deciphering these regulatory mechanisms leads to understanding the molecular basis for defects leading to many types of human disease. In eukaryotes, RNA polymerases are components of large protein machines that integrate various regulatory signals to precisely control gene expression. Most subunits of the transcription machinery are essential for viability, and regulation of transcription is a key step controlling cell identity, cell growth, development and stress response. Since the core transcription machinery is the target of many signaling pathways, identifying regulated and rate limiting steps in transcription initiation leads to understanding how many biological signals converge to control specific programs of gene regulation. Misregulation of transcription is a major cause of human disease and our work addresses the molecular basis for many of these defects.

The two major research areas in our laboratory are (i) the mechanism of transcription initiation and (ii) mechanisms used by factors that activate transcription. We use a multi disciplinary approach including biochemical, molecular, genetic, structural, and biophysical methods to uncover new mechanisms used in gene regulation. Much of our work uses new technologies and approaches to understand the action of large protein complexes, which are often regulated by surprisingly flexible and dynamic protein-protein interactions. These new approaches are also adaptable for understanding the architecture, conformational changes and mechanisms of large protein and protein-DNA complexes involved in other cellular processes.

We use S. cerevisiae (budding yeast) as our experimental system because of the powerful mix of available biochemistry, proteomics and genetics approaches that can be applied in this model organism. Since the transcription machinery and its regulatory factors are well conserved throughout evolution, gene regulatory mechanisms in yeast are nearly always used in mammalian cells. These mechanisms form the molecular basis for understanding regulated and rate-limiting steps that are at the endpoint of many signaling pathways controlling growth, homeostasis and the response to stress.

See the Hahn lab web site for detailed information on our research and publications
Short Research Description: 
Mechanism and regulation of eukaryotic transcription
Areas of Interest: 
Gene Expression, Cell Cycle & Chromosome Biology
Molecular Structure & Computational Biology
<p> transcription, gene regulation, activation, repression, chromatin, yeast, structure, enzymology, molecular genetics, protein NMR, biophysics</p>

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