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Harald Biessmann

Researcher, Developmental & Cell Biology
School of Biological Sciences

M.S., University of Tuebingen, Germany, 1972
Ph. D., 1974, University of Tuebingen, Germany

Phone: 949-824-2185
Fax: 949-824-2688

University of California, Irvine
Plumwood House, room 147
Mail Code: 2275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Telomere, Drosophila, mosquito, gene silencing, heterochromatin, transposable elements, growth control, cell cycle checkpoints.
Academic Distinctions
Chromosoma Prize, 1996
Dept. of Biochemistry, UCSF, 1975-77
Research Abstract
Telomeres are essential nuclear organelles whose functional integrity is linked to proliferation control. We are studying the structure and function of telomeres in Drosophila melanogaster and in the malaria transmitting the mosquito
Anopheles gambiae. The nucleo-protein complex that make up the telomeric structure at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes serves an important role in cell cycle control, because its loss is recognized by cell cycle checkpoints, resulting in cell cycle arrest until the broken chromosome end is 'capped' again by reorganization or healing events that re-establish a new telomere. Our studies contribute knowledge to a variety of fields: Intra-nuclear signaling of damaged DNA to cell cycle checkpoints, progression of the cell cycle and proliferation control, the understanding of the organization of heterochromatin causing gene silencing by higher order chromatin structure, and the significance of three-dimensional organization of chromosomes in the nucleus. We use telomeric gene repression to study higher order chromatin structure of Drosophila telomeres and characterize the DNA and protein components involved. Information gained from studies on telomeres in mosquitoes may lead to a new approach to germ line transformation and eventually may become useful in controlling the transmission of the malaria parasite.
Mason, J. M., Haoudi, A., Konev, A. Y., Kurenova, E., Walter, M. F., and Biessmann, H. (2000). Control of telomere elongation and telomere silencing in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetica, in press.
Biessmann, H., Zurovcova, M., Yao, J. G., Lozovskaya, E., and Walter, M. F. (2000). A telomeric satellite in Drosophila virilis and its sibling species. Chromosoma 109, 372-380.
Kasravi, A., Walter, M. F., Brand, S., Mason, J. M., and Biessmann, H. (1999). Molecular cloning and tissue-specific expression of the mutator2 gene (mu2) in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 152, 1025-1035.
Cryderman, D. E., Morris, E. J., Biessmann, H., Elgin, S. C. R., and Wallrath, L. L. (1999). Silencing at Drosophila telomeres: nuclear organization and chromatin structure play critical roles. EMBO J. 18, 3724-3735.
Biessmann, H., Walter, M. F., Le, D., Chuan, S., and Yao, J. G. (1999). Moose, a new family of LTR-retrotransposons in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Insect Mol. Biol. 8, 201-212.
Kurenova, E., Champion, L., Biessmann, H., and Mason, J. M. (1998). Directional silencing induced by a subtelomeric minisatellite in Drosophila melanogaster. Chromosoma, 107, 311-320.
Biessmann, H., Kobeski, F., Walter, M. F., Kasravi, A., and Roth, C. W. (1998). DNA organization and length polymorphism at the 2L telomere of Anopheles gambiae. Insect Mol. Biol. 7, 83-93.
Roth, C. W., Kobeski, F., and Biessmann H. (1997). Chromosome end elongation by recombination in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Mol. Cell. Biol., 17, 5176-5183.
Biessmann, H., Donath, J., and Walter, M. F. (1996). Molecular characterization of the Anopheles gambiae 2L telomeric region via an integrated transgene. Insect Mol. Biol. 5, 11-20.
Walter, M. F., Jang, C., Kasravi, B., Donath, J., Mason, J. M., Mechler, B., and Biessmann, H. (1995). DNA organization and polymorphism of a wild type Drosophila telomere region. Chromosoma 104, 229-241.
Professional Societies
Genetics Society of America
Society for Developmental Biology
Research Center
Developmental Biology Center
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