Institut Pasteur de Bangui
heads the DNA Repair and Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group and holds a secondary appointment in the NIEHS Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory. The DNA Repair & Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group has made a number of contributions over the years to the understanding of mechanisms of DNA synthesis and, in particular, synthesis by the repair enzyme DNA polymerase β (Pol β). They identified the kinetic mechanism of this enzyme, its primary and 3 dimensional structures, and its biological roles in base excision DNA repair. This DNA repair pathway protects cells against endogenous DNA lesion including single-strand breaks. In 1996, the group demonstrated that Pol β "knock-out" mouse fibroblast cell lines are deficient in DNA repair and in cellular protection against DNA damaging agents, thus establishing a cellular role for this enzyme.
Major areas of research: Physical, biochemical, cell and molecular biology research on mammalian base excision repair enzymes—in particular, the study of gap-filling DNA synthesis in DNA repair Structural analysis to improve understanding of the fundamental mechanism of DNA synthesis and templating Investigation of cellular signaling of DNA damage
Current projects: Biology of Mammalian Base Excision Repair Mechanisms of Nucleic Acid Enzymes – Pol β and Mammalian Base Repair Enzymes Structure-activity Relationships of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase