Characterization of chromatin dynamics in cycling cells

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


Epigenetic information relies on a combination of DNA modifications, nucleosome positioning, histone modifications, histone variants, chromatin remodellers, higher-order structures and many proteins that define, maintain and functionally translate this information. During lineage propagation, cells must duplicate their genetic and epigenetic information to maintain cell identity. Yet, the mechanisms underlying the maintenance of epigenetic information in cycling cells remain largely unknown. In S phase, the DNA replication machinery provokes genome-wide disruption of chromatin structure, and thus challenges the persistence of epigenetic information (1). Nucleosomes are evicted ahead of the replisome and reassembled within minutes on newly replicated DNA by the recycling of parental histones and the deposition of newly synthesized histones (2). However, several aspects of histone-based information are not restored so quickly, revealing that restoration of epigenetic information is not necessarily tightly coupled to DNA replication. For example, H3K27me3, which is required for gene repression, is restored in the following G1 phase (2). These chromatin components, which are instrumental for cell identity, are often found deregulated in cancer or intellectual disabilities linked to nervous system development (1). Therefore it is crucial to understand the mechanisms that underlie the faithful restoration of epigenetic information.


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Description Primary School Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Pupils attended a Science club organised by our lab in their primary school. We carried out several simple experiments with them, and talked about the scientific method. This sparked great interest, and many questions about the experiments themselves and the scientific life arose. The activity was a success and increased the audience in successive iterations of the science club.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019