Joint publication by Matthias Geyer, University of Bonn, and Ricky Johnstone, University of Melbourne

Prof Matthias Geyer, Director of the Institute of Structural Biology at the University of Bonn, and Prof Ricky Johnstone, Executive Director of Cancer Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Head of The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at the University of Melbourne, published a joint publication in the journal Science Advances.

In their joint study “CDK13 cooperates with CDK12 to control global RNA polymerase II processivity” they characterize the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) CDK12 and CDK13. CDKs play an important role both in transcription and cell cycle control. Moreover, they are key therapeutic targets in cancer therapy.

Using CRISPR-Cas9 homology-directed repair they demonstrate in their current project substantial redundancy between CDK12 and CDK13 and identify both as fundamental regulators of global RNA polymerase II (POLII) processivity and transcription elongation. These findings have important implications in the context of tumorigenesis and cancer therapy.

The collaboration between Prof Geyer and Prof Johnstone was initiated during a meeting of researchers from Bonn and Melbourne at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in February 2019, which was organized within the BM-AXIS program.

Publication: Fan Z, Devlin JR, Hogg SJ, Doyle MA, Harrison PF, Todorovski I, Cluse LA, Knight DA, Sandow JJ, Gregory G, Fox A, Beilharz TH, Kwiatkowski N, Scott NE, Tufegdzic Vidakovic A, Kelly GP, Svejstrup JQ, Geyer M, Gray N, Vervoort SJ, Johnstone RW. CDK13 cooperates with CDK12 to control global RNA polymerase II processivity. Sci Adv 2020 Apr 29;6(18):eaaz5041.