Epigenetic marks are posttranslational modifications of chromatin that act as gene regulators. Although every cell-type contains the same DNA sequence, the epigenetic marks dictate specific function of each cell-type. Epigenetic modifications are both heritable and dynamic, and can be treated enzymatically to reverse. The dynamic marks sometimes lead to aberrant gene regulation in cells, causing diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Therefore, epigenetic state of individual genes can be used to identify the aberrant genes to reverse them.
In this project, a novel assay for simultaneous identification of epigenetic marks and their genomic position is proposed. State-of-the-art DNA-PAINT super-resolution microscopy, developed by Prof. Jungmann, in combination with immunofluorescence in situ hybridization (iFISH) will be used to identify the epigenetic marks in human cells with very high precision (<5 nm). The novelty of this assay is that, for the first time, it will allow to read the epigenetic marks, their genomic and 3D position in the nucleus simultaneously, for precise mapping of the epigenetic state of genes in individual cells. The assay can be used as a tool to identify aberrant marks in cells for diagnosing diseases caused by these modifications. Therefore, it has a high potential for both research in biotechnology and diagnostics.
Fields of science
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