Title: "New roles for lysine methyltransferases in genome regulation and cellular stress responses"
Speaker: Dr. Erin Green, UMBC Dept. of Biological Sciences
Research Interests: Research in our lab aims to understand how post-translational modifications of proteins direct epigenetic and cellular signaling pathways to regulate key biological functions, including the establishment of proper states of gene expression and the ability of cells to respond to stress. Histones, the primary protein component of chromatin, are subject to many types of post-translational modification, including acetylation, phosphorylation and methylation. These modifications are critical to controlling the accessibility of DNA during essential processes such as transcription and DNA repair. We are specifically interested in methylation of histone lysine residues, a modification system that has been well-established to regulate chromatin structure and function. Aberrant regulation of histone lysine methylation leads to the disruption of chromatin homeostasis and has been implicated in numerous human pathologies, including tumorigenesis. There remain many unanswered questions regarding the functional and mechanistic details of both canonical and novel sites of histone methylation. Additionally, the existence of non-histone protein methylation is emerging as a key regulator of nuclear signaling pathways, but the extent and function of these methylation events are largely unknown. Our primary research objectives are to (1) identify new mechanisms of chromatin regulation mediated by novel histone methylation events and (2) develop a comprehensive understanding of lysine methylation as a broad regulator of nuclear signaling pathways. We use budding yeast as a model system, integrating molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, genomics and proteomics. The evolutionary conservation of many of the players involved in lysine methylation signaling allows our work to be broadly applicable to higher eukaryotes, and will provide insight into the role of these factors in diverse human diseases.
Host: Dr. Jim Du