We are interested in studying dsDNA break repair and Chromosome organisation at the single molecule level using Atomic Force MicroscopyMagnetic Tweezers, Fluorescence, and standard biochemical techniques.

Welcome to the Moreno-Herrero Lab

The main interest of my group is to answer key questions in DNA-break repair, replication and Chromosome organisation using novel approaches based on single-molecule techniques. To do this, we develop our own instrumentation based on Atomic Force Microscopy imaging, single-molecule manipulation techniques such as Magnetic Tweezers combined with fluorescence, and establish strategic collaborations with research groups specialized on different biological systems. We are also interested in studying the mechanical properties of nucleic acids and their role in protein interaction. We investigate this from an experimental perspective using our single-molecule tools but also by all-atom molecular dynamics simulations.

We work at the National Center of Biotechnology (CNB), a research center part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The CNB is the largest CSIC institute with over 600 people working in a multidisciplinary environment that combines the latest technology in molecular biology, and structural and functional biology.

Check out our Openings section for opportunities to join the group to do the Master project, PhD or Postdoctoral research.



Research lines

Magnetic Tweezers Techniques
Combined MT-TIRF Techniques
BioLab Techniques
Atomic Force Microscopy Techniques
20200615-173301 Scan 3_GREEN
Confocal Optical Tweezers (C-Trap™ from Lumicks) Techniques
MD simulations of Nucleic Acids Mechanical Properties
Mechanical Properties of nucleic acids Mechanical Properties
High-resolution AFM imaging of nucleic acids Mechanical Properties
DNA-end processing DNA Repair
SMC proteins DNA Organization
Type III partition systems DNA Organization
ParABS partition systems DNA Organization
Rolling Circle Replication of plasmids DNA Replication
Replication initiation proteins DNA Replication


APLF and long non-coding RNA NIHCOLE promote stable DNA synapsis in non-homologous end joining

Here, we show that Ku70-Ku80 and APLF establish a minimal complex sufficient to support DNA synapsis. APLF and long non-coding RNA NIHCOLE promote stable DNA synapsis in non-homologous end joining. Additionally, we show how APLF promotes synapsis of DNA ends for several minutes under pN forces and lncRNA NIHCOLE stabilises these synapsis via a small and structured domain relevant in DNA repair by NHEJ.

Human HELB is a processive motor protein which catalyses RPA clearance from single-stranded DNA

Here, we characterize the biochemical activities of the human DNA helicase B (HELB) using bulk and single-molecule methods. We found that HELB is a monomeric protein that binds to ssDNA with a site size of 20nt, unexpectedly large for SF1 helicases, suggesting an additional binding site. HELB binds specifically to human RPA, which enhances its ATPase and ssDNA translocase activities. Translocating HELB concomitantly clears RPA from ssDNA.

A molecular view of DNA flexibility

Here, we review recent single-molecule experiments and molecular dynamics simulations that are providing novel insights into DNA mechanics from such a molecular perspective.