Epigenetics and new antifungal drugs.
The basic unit of chromatin is the nucleosome, consisting of a core of histone proteins that the DNA is wrapped around. The chromatin is constantly undergoing dynamic changes adjusting the transcriptome during development and as a response to environmental stimuli. We study both transient and stable, or epigenetic, changes. Epigenetic changes in the genome is believed contribute significantly to several diseases like cancer, diabetes type II and obesity. Still, very little is known about how to reverse disease-causing changes in the epigenome. We study two aspects of chromatin dynamics, changes in histone modifications and the influence of subnuclear localisation on the expression status of a gene. By using fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system we can learn more about what determines the epigenome and how switches between different types of chromatin can occur.
Moreover, we have initiated a project with the long-term goal of developing new drugs against yeast infections, since severe systemic yeast infections is a growing problem in the health care. Several species of the pathogenic yeast Candida normally grow on the skin of humans and only people with a lowered immune response, suffer from Candida infections. The drugs against Candida frequently give strong side effect and resistance to the drugs is increasing, so improved formulas would be of great importance.
ZBED6 is a recently discovered transcription factor unique to placental mammals. It was discovered because it acts as a repressor at the IGF2 locus. Interestingly, ZBED6 has evolved from a domesticated transposon and the molecular mechanism of this family of transcription factors is more or less uncharacterised. In this project the aim is to find interacting partners to ZBED6 using the yeast 2-hybrid system and biochemical purifications. The project is carried out in collaboration with Leif Andersson and his group.
Pernilla Bjerling, group leader
Vladimir Maksimov, post-doc
Kristiina Nygren, post-doc
Alejandro Rodriguez, post-doc
Daniel Steinhauf, PhD student
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