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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Biologie

Molekulare Zellbiologie

Prof. Dr. Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray

Prof. Dr. Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray

Our research focuses on how eukaryotic cells package their genetic material, the DNA, in chromatin in the nucleus. Differences in chromatin packaging dictate when and where genes are expressed, or whether genomic regions become permanently repressed (silenced). We study the molecular mechanisms of chromatin regulation through epigenetic modifications on chromatin proteins and nucleic acids. Specifically, we study how the modification of histones and histone variants by acetylation and methylation regulates their function, and how these modifications affect global gene expression and chromosome segregation. Furthermore, we are interested in how such processes influence cell cycle progression, and how they regulate cellular aging. As model organisms, we are using the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe as well as Drosophila. Through our studies, we contribute to the understanding of how correct temporal and spatial gene expression is ensured in eukaryotic organisms. This is necessary for proper growth and development, and errors in this process can cause diseases like cancer, or can lead to premature aging. Current research interests: - Global distribution and regulation of histone modifications in the yeast genome - Posttranslational modifications on histone variants - Regulation of heterochromatin protein binding to chromatin - Molecular mechanisms of cellular aging - Regulation of tRNA function by RNA methylation

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