Posted on 5 March 2021
The Medical Research Council will support a new project that looks at the function of protein-RNA assemblies which modulate access to chromatin and help stabilise patterns of gene expression. Its main focus will be on loss of the epigenetic stability such assemblies afford, and how this may contribute to diverse human conditions such as aging, neurodegeneration and the early stages of cancer.
The project is focussed on the CIZ1 protein and, for the most part, uses the large RNA-dependent assemblies that form around the inactive X chromosome (Xi) in female mammals as a visualisable model to study the mechanisms and effects of assembly disruption.
Immunofluorescence images showing CIZ1-RNA assemblies (pink) in nuclei (blue) from normal wild-type (WT) mammalian cells. CIZ1 null cells have been genetically modified to lack CIZ1.