Every eukaryote has a nucleus, a double lipid membrane-bound compartment that encapsulates the genome, but almost every nucleus is different - in shape, size, molecular composition, spatial organisation, and dynamics through the cell cycle. Given its fundamental and universal functional roles in protecting the DNA and regulating the exchange of information and control machinery between genome and cytoplasm, one might ask the question: why are there so many ways to build and remodel a nucleus? Bringing together comparative genomics, phylogenetics, quantitative cell biology and experimental evolution in multiple microbial model systems drawn from across the eukaryotic tree, we set out to elucidate the genomic, biophysical and evolutionary factors that determine nuclear dynamics and remodelling - karyodynamics - within the context of cellular architecture and function. A comparative perspective driven by phylogenetics will enable us to separate universal principles of karyodynamics from species- and niche-specific adaptations, and dissect the reasons for the evolutionary and developmental plasticity that we observe experimentally. In turn, we can use these principles to infer, predict and validate phenotypes in novel and emerging model systems. Finally, a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms responsible for karyodynamic phenotypic diversity would allow us to reconstruct evolutionary trajectories all the way back to the origins of the nuclear compartment, a landmark event in the evolution of eukaryotes from an archaeal-bacterial symbiosis over 2 billion years ago.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsDNA
- natural sciencesbiological sciencescell biology
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesbiochemistrybiomoleculeslipids
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesbiological behavioural sciencesethologybiological interactions
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsgenomes
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme