4R: R-loop Regulation in Robustness & Resilience

The Research Training Group (RTG) 4R aims to gain mechanistic insights regarding how RNA-based processes contribute to robustness and resilience, especially through R-loops.

R-loops are three-stranded nucleic acid structures comprised of an RNA-DNA hybrid and a displaced strand of DNA. Originally thought to be toxic transcriptional by-products, recent studies indicate that R-loops also play important regulatory roles in DNA repair, telomere elongation and gene regulation. These processes are essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis so that organisms can survive and function in response to stress (robustness), as well as allowing them to rapidly respond to the environmental stresses and return to the “normal” state once a particular challenge has passed (resilience). Maintaining robustness and resilience are particularly important for organisms to remain healthy in old age and to extend longevity.

This RTG brings together experts in RNA, transcription and genome biology to study how R-loops contribute to the robustness and resilience of cellular processes such as gene expression, RNA processing and DNA repair. As part of this, the RTG will train 24 PhD students in projects centred around the theme of R-loops.

4R is funded by the DFG from 2023 – 2028. For more information on 4R, please visit https://4r-rtg.de


Prof. Brian Luke
Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and JGU Mainz

Prof. René Ketting
Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB)  

Participating Institutions