Dr. Juan Ausio

Dr. Juan  Ausio
Biochemistry and Microbiology

BSc, PhD (Barcelona)

Area of expertise

Biophysical and biochemical studies, DNA-protein interactions, chromatin assembly, gene expression.

Research interests

The research interests of this investigator are within the frame of two major topics: (i) structural characterization of biological macromolecular assemblies, and (ii) nuclear proteins. The first includes both biochemical and biophysical approaches to the study of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. Chromatin is the particular biological system presently being analyzed in this area. Current research includes studies on histone-histone interactions, and on histone-DNA interactions at the nucleosome level and at the higher order structure of chromatin. Special attention is being paid to the influence on these interactions of biologically significant chemical modifications, both at the histone and at the DNA level (acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation).

The interest in the second topic comes from the fact that histones are not the only proteins that are associated with DNA inside the cell nucleus. These latter proteins may be, depending on the organism, displaced by a complex broad spectrum of other more basic proteins during the differentiation process of spermatogenesis. These spermatogenic proteins exhibit neither the compositional homogeneity nor the structural features of the typical histones. The current research in this area is centered on the chemistry of such proteins (characterization, sequencing) as well as on the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the genes encoding these proteins.