Located on Busch Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Waksman Institute of Microbiology is an interdisciplinary research institute devoted to excellence in basic research. Focus areas include developmental biology, cell biology, biochemistry, structural biology, genetics, and genomics.

To support the educational mission of Rutgers, Waksman faculty members hold appointments in academic departments throughout the university. Our researchers train undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, as well as engage high school students in research through an outreach program.

Recent Publications

Delatte, B, Wang F, Ngoc L V, Collignon E, Bonvin E, Deplus R, Calonne E, Hassabi B, Putmans P, Awe S et al..  2016.  Transcriptome-wide distribution and function of RNA hydroxymethylcytosine. Science. 351(6270):282-285. AbstractWebsite
Hydroxymethylcytosine, well described in DNA, occurs also in RNA. Here, we show that hydroxymethylcytosine preferentially marks polyadenylated RNAs and is deposited by Tet in Drosophila. We map the transcriptome-wide hydroxymethylation landscape, revealing hydroxymethylcytosine in the transcripts of many genes, notably in coding sequences, and identify consensus sites for hydroxymethylation. We found that RNA hydroxymethylation can favor mRNA translation. Tet and hydroxymethylated RNA are found to be most abundant in the Drosophila brain, and Tet-deficient fruitflies suffer impaired brain development, accompanied by decreased RNA hydroxymethylation. This study highlights the distribution, localization, and function of cytosine hydroxymethylation and identifies central roles for this modification in Drosophila.
Głuszek, AA, Cullen FC, Li W, Battaglia RA, Radford SJ, Costa MF, McKim KS, Goshima G, Ohkura H.  2015.  The microtubule catastrophe promoter Sentin delays stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment in oocytes. The Journal of cell biology. Abstract
The critical step in meiosis is to attach homologous chromosomes to the opposite poles. In mouse oocytes, stable microtubule end-on attachments to kinetochores are not established until hours after spindle assembly, and phosphorylation of kinetochore proteins by Aurora B/C is responsible for the delay. Here we demonstrated that microtubule ends are actively prevented from stable attachment to kinetochores until well after spindle formation in Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. We identified the microtubule catastrophe-promoting complex Sentin-EB1 as a major factor responsible for this delay. Without this activity, microtubule ends precociously form robust attachments to kinetochores in oocytes, leading to a high proportion of homologous kinetochores stably attached to the same pole. Therefore, regulation of microtubule ends provides an alternative novel mechanism to delay stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment in oocytes.
Vvedenskaya, IO, Zhang Y, Goldman SR, Valenti A, Visone V, Taylor DM, Ebright RH, Nickels BE.  2015.  Massively Systematic Transcript End Readout, "MASTER": Transcription Start Site Selection, Transcriptional Slippage, and Transcript Yields.. Molecular cell. 60:953-965. Abstract
We report the development of a next-generation sequencing-based technology that entails construction of a DNA library comprising up to at least 4(7) (∼16,000) barcoded sequences, production of RNA transcripts, and analysis of transcript ends and transcript yields (massively systematic transcript end readout, "MASTER"). Using MASTER, we define full inventories of transcription start sites ("TSSomes") of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase for initiation at a consensus core promoter in vitro and in vivo; we define the TSS-region DNA sequence determinants for TSS selection, reiterative initiation ("slippage synthesis"), and transcript yield; and we define effects of DNA topology and NTP concentration. The results reveal that slippage synthesis occurs from the majority of TSS-region DNA sequences and that TSS-region DNA sequences have profound, up to 100-fold, effects on transcript yield. The results further reveal that TSSomes depend on DNA topology, consistent with the proposal that TSS selection involves transcription-bubble expansion ("scrunching") and transcription-bubble contraction ("anti-scrunching").