Inheritance of DNA sequence and its proper organization into chromatin is fundamental for eukaryotic life. The challenge of propagating genetic and epigenetic information is met in S phase and entails genome-wide disruption and restoration of chromatin coupled to faithful copying of DNA. How specific chromatin structures are restored on new DNA and transmitted through mitotic cell division remains a fundamental question in biology central to understand cell fate and identity.
Chromatin restoration on new DNA involves a complex set of events including nucleosome assembly and remodelling, restoration of marks on DNA and histones, deposition of histone variants and establishment of higher order chromosomal structures including sister-chromatid cohesion. To dissect these fundamental processes and their coordination in time and space with DNA replication, we have developed a novel technology termed nascent chromatin capture (NCC) that provides unique possibility for biochemical and proteomic analysis of chromatin replication in human cells. I propose to apply this innovative cutting-edge technique for a comprehensive characterization of chromatin restoration during DNA replication and to reveal how replication timing and genotoxic stress impact on final chromatin state. This highly topical project brings together the fields of chromatin biology, DNA replication, epigenetics and genome stability and we expect to make groundbreaking discoveries that will improve our understanding of human development, somatic cell reprogramming and complex diseases like cancer.
The proposed research will 1) identify and characterize novel mechanisms in chromatin restoration and 2) address molecularly how replication timing and genotoxic insults influence chromatin maturation and final chromatin state.
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