QBI - Seminar

Uncovering new molecular principles that govern epigenetic gene regulation

QBI and Rezo Therapeutics present Paul Sauer, an HHMI postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Eva Nogales at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his PhD in laboratory of Dr. Daniel Panne at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France. Dr. Sauer’s research focus is on the mechanistical and structural characterization of protein complexes using a range of biophysical tools, most prominently cryo-EM. Previously, he explored both the mechanisms of replication coupled chromatin assembly, as well as photosynthetic light harvesting machines. Now, Dr. Sauer is investigating the molecular and structural mechanisms that control the essential epigenetic regulator PRC2, in the hope of connecting observations from developmental biology with cancer signaling.

Epigenetic regulation refers to the effects of post-translational modifications of histones and DNA on gene expression. The attachment, recognition and removal of epigenetic marks is a tightly regulated process that is carried out by sets of specialized protein complexes. PRC2 is one such complex that reads and writes trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27, the disruption of which leads to disease. PRC2 serves as a model system to study the underlying molecular principles, including target specificity, DNA binding and allosteric activation. Investigation of PRC2 by cryo-electron microscopy reveals that PRC2 can activate itself through self-recognition and subsequent dimerization, a process reminiscent of protein kinases. We hypothesize that this mechanism is important for establishing histone methylation in naïve chromatin during embryonic development.

Talk Title: Uncovering new molecular principles that govern epigenetic gene regulation

Host: Sourav Bandyopadhyay

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