Andrey Feklistov

2012 Regional Award Winner — Post-Doc

Andrey Feklistov

Current Position:
Research Associate

The Rockefeller University

Biochemistry & Structural Biology

Recognized for: Employing methods of biochemistry and X-ray crystallography to make major research contributions to the understanding of bacterial transcriptional regulation

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Transcription and its Regulation, Protein-DNA Recognition, Chemical Biology, X-Ray Crystallography


  • PhD, Molecular Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
  • MS. Biochemistry, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Transcription initiation is a key step in the regulation of gene expression in bacteria. RNA-polymerase, the central enzyme of transcription, is a highly complex molecular machine able to efficiently locate promoters in the genome, carry out promoter opening without additional energy input and initiate RNA synthesis. Mechanistic principles underlying these events are still poorly understood.

Dr. Feklistov’s previous work, recognized by the 2012 Blavatnik Award, offered important insights into the very first step of promoter opening in bacteria. He also made important contributions to understanding RNA-polymerase inhibition by the frontline anti-tuberculosis drug, rifampicin. Currently, his focus is on mechanistic understanding of how RNA-polymerase finds promoters in the vastness of the genome and how promoter opening is carried out to completion, leading to initiation of RNA synthesis. Detailed molecular picture of these events is not only of great fundamental importance, but also holds promise for the burgeoning field of synthetic biology as well as the design of novel antimicrobials.

"Transcription initiation is a major focal point of regulation in bacterial cell. The long term goal of my research is mechanistic understanding of transcription initiation in model and pathogenic bacteria and its crosstalk with other cellular processes such as signal transduction at the cell surface or protein synthesis."

Key Publications:

  1. Feklistov A, Darst SA. Structural basis for promoter -10 element recognition by the bacterial RNA polymerase sigma subunitCell. 2011
  2. Feklistov A, Mekler V, Jiang Q, et al. Rifamycins do not function by allosteric modulation of binding of Mg2+ to the RNA polymerase active centerProc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008
  3. Feklistov A, Barinova N, Sevostyanova A, et al. A basal promoter element recognized by free RNA polymerase sigma subunit determines promoter recognition by RNA polymerase holoenzymeMol Cell. 2006

Other Honors:

George Soros International Science Foundation Award
Ovchinnikov Scholarship
Evrogen JSC Award for Best Graduate Project
Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship