SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series: Geeta Narlikar, Beyond the genetic code

Monday September 23 at 15:15, Uppsala
Tuesday September 24 at 15:00, Stockholm

The seminar will be held in Uppsala  on Monday 23 September 2019, at 15:15 at BMC Uppsala
in Stockholm on Tuesday 24 September 2019, at 15:00 in Gamma 2- lunchroom, SciLifeLab Campus Solna

Prof Geeta Narlikar

Dr. Geeta Narlikar is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her group seeks to uncover the mechanisms by which our genome is folded and compartmentalized to regulate cellular functions.

Title of the talk: Beyond the genetic code: how a shape-shifting genome controls cell identity

Different cell types in a given animal, such as heart cells and brain cells display different behaviors because they express different sets of genes. Yet, they all have DNA with essentially the same sequence and thus the same set of genes. How is it that the same DNA is used to generate different cell types? Which genes are on and which genes are off is controlled in part by how their underlying DNA sequences are packaged. DNA is packaged by wrapping it around specific proteins called histones to generate bead-like structures called nucleosomes. Strings of nucleosomes are then further folded to condense the underlying DNA and make it less accessible. Structures called heterochromatin are thought to be particularly effective at compacting strings of nucleosomes and turning off the underlying genes. A few years ago we discovered that nucleosomes, rather than acting as rigid packaging units act as shape-shifters to regulate access to the wrapped DNA. Around the same time we also found that proteins named HP1 proteins, which are core components of heterochromatin, can sequester packaged DNA into phase-separated droplets. Within these droplets the HP1 molecules are dynamic and display liquid-like properties. In my talk I will discuss the experiments that led to these findings. I will also discuss how these unexpected biophysical properties of the packaged genome are leading to new ways of conceptualizing genome regulation.

Host in Uppsala : Sebastian Deindl <>

Host in Stockholm: Simon Elsässer <> and Claudia Kutter <>