Research – University of Copenhagen

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Centre for Epigenetics > Research

Our research

The centre's research is divided into four major work packages:

WP1: Mapping post-translational modifications of the histones
The first WP aims at defining patterns of histone modification on two levels:
To determine the combinations of histone marks under different physiological conditions, such as growth or differentiation, and to find out if the combination of histone marks defines a "code", or if it is the cumulative changes that defines the state of the chromatin.

WP2: Functional translation of the histone marks
A major aim of the second WP is to elucidate the potential functions of the histone marks or combinations of these. More specifically, to identify and characterize proteins and protein complexes binding to selected histone marks. Furthermore, to determine the biological and biochemical activities of these proteins and complexes.

WP3: Cellular control of epigenetic regulation
The third WP adresses the cellular control of epigenetic regulation: The identification of signalling pathways as well as the characterization of the involved molecules and the mechanism by which this regulation is exercised. This is crucial for our understanding of e.g. differentiation and senescence.

WP4: Biological significance of the identified modifications and proteinsThe fourth and final WP aims at understanding the biological and physiological role of the histone modifications, the involved proteins and protein complexes. In relation to disease, researchers from the centre have shown that mutations in the gene PHF8 lead to the development of X-linked mental retardation. Furthermore, how three genes on the X-chromosome, PHF8, ZNF711 and JARID1C, interact in patients with the syndrome, which affects around 1 out of 600 men worldwide (Kleine-Kohlbrecher et al, 2010 Mol. Cell).