Göttinger Graduiertenschule für Neurowissenschaften, Biophysik und Molekulare Biowissenschaften

Dr. Claudia Höbartner

Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

  • Dr. rer. nat. (PhD), University of Innsbruck, Austria, 2004
  • Erwin Schrödinger postdoctoral Fellowship, FWF (Austrian Science Fund),
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, 2005-2007
  • Hertha Firnberg Fellowship, funded by FWF & bmwf (federal ministry of science and research), University of Innsbruck, Austria, 2007-2008
  • Independent Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, since 2008

    • Major Research Interests

      The work in our group is focused on the chemistry and biochemistry of natural and artificial nucleic acids, with special emphasis on functional and structural properties of catalytic DNA and modified RNA. Deoxyribozymes, also known as DNA enzymes or DNA catalysts, are single-stranded DNAs that are identified by in vitro selection from random-sequence DNA pools. Most prominent reactions catalyzed by DNA site-specific cleavage and ligation of RNA in different topologies. Catalytically active DNA molecules must fold into complex, three-dimensional structures that form the basis for their sophisticated functions. However, little is known about the molecular details of these structures and the mechanistic principles of DNA catalysis. We seek molecular level insights into the function and mechanism of DNA catalysts and approach these fundamental questions by a variety of chemical and biophysical methods. In this context, we developed reliable probing methods for the identification of critical molecular features for DNA catalysis. Other objectives are to demonstrate that DNA has the potential for novel chemical and biochemical catalysis and to apply deoxyribozymes for practical use. We explore the diversity of DNA-catalyzed reactions in as-yet unaddressed areas and develop nucleic acids as tools for post-synthetic modifications, such as site-specific attachment of fluorescent labels or other biophysical probes in DNA and RNA. We also study natural nucleic modifications, such as nucleobase and ribose methylations, and we use artificial nucleoside analogs, such as spin-labeled, fluorescent and caged nucleosides as probes for the investigation of RNA structure and function. We apply synthetic organic chemistry for generating modified nucleoside building blocks and use solid-phase synthesis, post-synthesis derivatization, enzymatic synthesis of RNA fragments and chemical and enzymatic ligation strategies for the preparation of complex RNA targets. The structural and biophysical properties of highly functionalized RNAs and their interactions with proteins are studied in collaboration with several other research groups at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

      Homepage Department/Research Group


      Selected Recent Publications

      • Büttner L, Javadi-Zarnaghi F, Höbartner C (2014), Site-specific labeling of RNA at internal ribose hydroxyl groups: terbium-assisted deoxyribozymes at work.
        J Am Chem Soc 136: 8131-7. doi: 10.1021/ja503864v
      • Javadi-Zarnaghi F, Höbartner C (2013) Lanthanide cofactors accelerate DNA-catalyzed synthesis of branched RNA. J Am Chem Soc 135, 12839-12848
      • Büttner L, Seikowski J, Wawrzyniak K, Ochmann A, Höbartner C (2013) Synthesis of spin-labeled riboswitch RNAs using convertible nucleosides and DNA-catalyzed RNA ligation. Bioorg Med Chem 21, 6171-6180
      • Samanta B, Höbartner C (2013) Combinatorial Nucleoside-Deletion-Scanning Mutagenesis of Functional DNA. Angew Chem Int Ed 52, 2995-2999
      • Gore KR, Nawale GN, Harikrishna S, Chittoor VG, Pandey SK, Höbartner C, Patankar S, Pradeepkumar PI (2012) Synthesis, Gene Silencing, and Molecular Modeling Studies of 4’-C-Aminomethyl-2’-O-methyl Modified Small Interfering RNAs. J Org Chem 77, 3233-3245
      • Wachowius F, Höbartner C (2011) Probing essential nucleobase functional groups in aptamers and deoxyribozymes by nucleotide analog interference mapping of DNA, J Am Chem Soc 2011 133, 14888-14891
      • Wachowius F, JavadiZarnaghi F, Höbartner C (2010) Combinatorial Mutation Interference Analysis reveals functional nucleotides required for DNA catalysis, Angew Chem Int Ed 49, 8504-8508
      • Sicoli G, Wachowius F, Bennati M, Höbartner C (2010) Secondary Structure Probing of Spin-labeled RNA by Pulsed EPR Spectroscopy, Angew Chem Int Ed 49, 6443-6447
      • Wachowius F, Höbartner C (2010) Chemical RNA modifications for studies of RNA structure and dynamics, Chem Bio Chem 11, 469-480