Roberto Galletto, PhD


Robert GallettoI received an MS in Biology from the University of Genoa, Italy in 1996. I then moved to the U.S. and received a PhD in Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 2002. After an initial Postdoctoral fellowship at UTMB, I moved to the University of California, Davis for a second Postdoc. In 2007, I joined the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics here at Washington University School of Medicine.


My research interests are in the understanding of the mechanisms that regulate motor protein activities during DNA replication. Specifically, my laboratory study how a class of DNA helicases, the Pif1-family, aids DNA replication at barriers imparted by DNA secondary structure and protein that are tightly bound to DNA. In this context, we have a special interest in how the nucleoprotein formed at telomeres are assembled and how Pif1 helicases impact their maintenance.

Recent publications

  1. Mersch,K., Sokoloski, J.E., Nguyen, B.,  Galletto, R., Lohman, T.M. (2023) Helicase Activity Promoted Through Dynamic Interactions Between a ssDNA Translocase and a Diffusing SSB Protein. PNAS in press.
  2. Soranno, A.*, Incicco, J.J., De Bona, P., Tomko, E.J., Galburt, E.A., Holehouse, A.S., Galletto, R. * (2022) Shelterin components modulate nucleic acids condensation and phase separation. Journal of Molecular Biol. 434(16):167685
  3. Sparks, M.A., Burgers, P.M., Galletto, R. (2020) Pif1, RPA and FEN1 modulate the ability of DNA polymerase d to overcome protein barriers during DNA synthesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 295(47):15883-15891
  4. Singh, S.P., Soranno, A., Sparks, M.A., and Galletto, R. (2019) Branched unwinding mechanism of the Pif1 family of DNA helicases. PNAS. 116: 24533-2454
  5. Hailemariam, S., De Bona, P., Galletto, R.*, Hohl, M., Petrini, J.H., Burgers, P.M.* (2019) The telomere-binding protein Rif2 and ATP-bound Rad50 have opposing roles in the activation of yeast Tel1ATM kinase. J. Biol. Chem. 294: 18846-18852
  6. Sparks, M.A., Singh, S.P., Burgers, P.M., Galletto, R. (2019) Complementary roles of Pif1 helicase and single stranded DNA binding proteins in stimulating DNA replication through G-quadruplexes. Nucleic Acids Res. 47: 8595-8605