Mammalian genomes are structurally organized into sub-chromosomal self-interacting domains called topologically associating domains (TADs). Functionally, genes embedded within the same TAD appear to be co-regulated by their shared regulatory landscapes, suggesting the tendency of the genome to be divided into discrete regulatory domains. Although disrupting TAD boundaries has been shown to result in aberrant patterns of gene expression, whether TAD organisation is cause or consequence of transcriptional activity remains largely unknown, as well as the regulatory elements that direct TAD formation and long-range chromatin interactions within TADs. This project aims to define the exact functional link between genome topology and transcriptional regulation by exploiting the mammalian dosage compensation mechanism X-Chromosome Inactivation (XCI) as a model system. First, I will identify the combination of regulatory elements that allow a subset of X-linked genes to resist the transcriptional silencing of one entire X chromosome in female cells. Then, I will characterise their functional and structural relevance by combining advanced epigenetic tools for the manipulation of complex regulatory networks with transcriptomic analysis and chromosome conformation capture, an innovative method that allows to define the 3D structure of chromosomes within the nucleus. This project represents a unique opportunity to enhance our understanding of genome topology, providing valuable insights into the roles of the non-coding genome in gene regulation. Considering my personal professional background, and the outstanding level of scientific excellence of the host institution, this project promises a great potential of radically advancing the field and, in addition, will provide the European Research Area with a highly-qualified expert scientist who has the technical and complementary skills to successfully lead a European research team.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/chromosome
- /natural sciences/mathematics/pure mathematics/topology
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/genome
Call for proposal
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