Chromatin Biochemistry Group
Institute of Functional Epigenetics, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen Deutsches Forschungszentrum fuer Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH), Neuherberg near Munich, Germany
Epigenetic information is “read” by epigenetic effector molecules that recognise DNA and histone modifications through specialised binding domains in order to regulate chromatin function and to orchestrate subsequent biological events such as transcription, DNA replication or DNA repair. It has become apparent in recent years that DNA and histone modifications do not act in isolation but form combinatorial modification signatures that define the functional state of the underlying chromatin. For example, promoters, enhancers, transcribed genes and silent heterochromatin are all marked by characteristic sets of chromatin modifications which are now widely used to annotate the genome.
We combine chemical biology, biochemical, and proteomic approaches with cell biology and computational analyses to unravel how epigenetic effector molecules can read DNA and histone modification patterns and how they recognise different chromatin modification states. Our goal is to decipher the “epigenetic code” by identifying epigenetic reader molecules that can integrate information from multiple chromatin modifications and to understand how these factors operate at the molecular level both in healthy and pathological conditions. This knowledge will provide important new insights into the mechanisms of chromatin regulation and will aid in the development of epigenetic drugs for the treatment of diseases caused by defects in the epigenetic machinery.
Reseachers involved in the project:
- Andrey Tvardovskiy (post-doctoral researcher)
- Benjamin Foster (PhD student)
- Saulius Lukauskas (PhD student)Julie Borgel (post-doctoral researcher)