Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Borbala Mifsud

William Harvey Research Institute, QMUL

Chromatin conformation in transcriptional regulationTranscription dynamics

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borbala mifsud

It has been known for a long time that chromatin is organised in a non-random manner in the nucleus, however only recently has it become possible to assay the fine structure of chromatin in an unbiased genome-wide manner using the Hi-C technique and its derivatives. Hi-C is a sequencing-based method to assess the 3D structure of the chromatin. It takes a snapshot of the chromatin architecture by crosslinking DNA with proteins, which hold together distant DNA regions, and after digesting the genome with a restriction enzyme, interacting DNA regions are ligated together and sequenced by paired-end sequencing. This allows for identification of both structural and functional chromatin interactions and further analysis of these can reveal how the 3D folding of the genome influences gene expression.

We are investigating the following questions: How can we exploit chromatin structure information for understanding the effect of GWAS loci? How chromatin interactions change during development? What are the important regulatory interactions in diseases such as leukaemia?