Across space and along polymers: epigenetics’ conflicting means of shaping chromosomes

Michele Di Pierro (Northeastern)

Mar 18. 2020, 13:40 -- 14:20

In this talk, I will demonstrate how the architecture of interphase chromosomes is encoded in the one-dimensional sequence of epigenetic markings, much as three-dimensional protein structures are determined by their one-dimensional sequence of amino acids. In contrast to the situation for proteins, however, the sequence code provided by the epigenetic marks that decorate the chromatin fiber is not fixed but is dynamically rewritten during cell differentiation, modulating both the three-dimensional structure and gene expression in different cell types. 

I will present a physical model that together with its corresponding computational tools allows for predicting the spatial conformation of genomes with unprecedented accuracy and specificity. I will show that the same theory also successfully recapitulates many experimental observations about chromosomal dynamics. Finally, I will demonstrate how the different energy terms present in our model impact the topology of chromosomes throughout the cell cycle and evolution. 

Further Information
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Associated Event:
Chromatin Modeling: Integrating Mathematics, Physics, and Computation for Advances in Biology and Medicine (Thematic Programme)
Christos Likos (U Vienna)
Stephanie Portillo (NYU, New York)
Tamar Schlick (NYU, New York)