Ditlev E. Brodersen

Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen

H bygn. 3130, 205
P +4521669001
P +4521669001


We are a structural biology research lab focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying RNA maturation, processing, and decay in eukaryotic organisms.

In the lab we use molecular biology, biochemistry, and x-ray crystallography to study the structure and function of a number of important protein and RNA macromolecules involved in regulation and decay of RNA in both the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments of the eukaryotic cell. Research projects focus on several aspects of controlled 3'-5' degradation of mRNA via the nuclear exosome and cytoplasmic decay processes, such as deadenylation. We use both bacteria and yeast as model systems to study molecules which are widespread in nature, from the simplest living beings to man. You can read more about our research projects.

Our lab is part of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism at the Aarhus University in Denmark. We're also a part of the Centre for Structural Biology in Aarhus, one of the largest structural biology facilities in the Nordic countries.

RNA Metabolism and Decay

Controlled degradation of RNA is of central importance, not only for the overall rate of gene expression, but also for the complex surveillance mechanisms that ensure a high quality of both mRNA and stable RNAs.

We are interested in the molecular and structural mechanisms behind controlled RNA degradation and RNA quality control in eukaryotes. Research is currently being carried out within the following main topics:

  1. The structure of the eukaryotic exosome and associated components, with particular focus on the nuclear exosome
  2. Controlled RNA degradation in the cytoplasm, such as deadenylation, 3'-5' and 5’-3’ directional degradation
  3. RNA degradation in eukaryotic organelles
  4. Nuclear RNA surveillance
  5. RNA folding and RNA chaperones

Some of the questions we are interested in answering are:

  1. How is RNA processed and exported from the nucleus?
  2. How does the cell decide that a given RNA is faulty and must be degraded?
  3. How are full-scale removal of RNA ballanced with fine trimming of stable RNAs?
  4. How does the degradation reactions proceed enzymatically and with what specificity?
  5. How can proteins help fold RNAs?

Recent highlights from our lab include the structure determination of the yeast nuclear exosome component, Rrp6p, which is required for both trimming of stable rRNA species as well as for early mRNA surveillance, and the structural and functional characterisation of the S. pombe Pop2p deadenylation subunit, critically involved in removal of the poly(A) tail of mRNAs at the onset of degradation.


Student projects

Students and post docs interested in the projects are very welcome to contact Ditlev Brodersen for further information and a visit to the lab.

As a student in the group, you will be able to work with

  • cloning and protein purification from bacteria and yeast
  • mutagenesis
  • biochemical characterisation of proteins and nucleic acids
  • binding and functional assays
  • enzyme catalysis
  • crystallisation of proteins and protein-nucleic acid complexes
  • high-resolution structure determination by x-ray crystallography
  • heavy atom phasing
  • structure refinement