Marc Bühler: NcRNA-Directed Epigenetic Gene Regulation

1. 12. 2016, University Campus Bohunice

About the lecture

Marc Bühler is a tenured Group Leader and Professor in Molecular Biology at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) in Basel, Switzerland. His research focuses on the convergence of two seemingly disparate fields of study: chromatin biology and RNA turnover. Dr. Bühler’s research has provided fundamental mechanistic insights into how non-coding RNAs are used to control gene expression at the level of chromatin. In his presentation he will talk about recent work from his laboratory that uncovers a novel mechanism for small-RNA-mediated epigenome regulation. In brief, although endogenous small RNAs play critical roles in chromatin-mediated processes across kingdoms, efforts to initiate chromatin modifications in trans by using siRNAs have been inherently difficult to achieve in all eukaryotic cells. Using fission yeast, Dr. Bühler’s group has discovered a counter-acting mechanism that impedes small RNA-directed formation of heterochromatin and epigenetic gene silencing. Their new work solves a long-standing problem in the field and highlights fundamental roles for the transcription and RNAi machineries in building epigenetic memory.

Prof. Marc Bühler

University of Basel, Switzerland

  • Research in our laboratory is focused on elucidating the function and evolutionary conservation of mechanisms that govern genome organization and gene expression in eukaryotes. We pay special attention to biogenesis, processing, and activity of non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and their potential impact on chromatin.
  • Our general strategy is to take advantage of the power of fission yeast (S. pombe) genetics to address fundamental mechanistic questions. Importantly, S. pombe has a functional RNA interference pathway and its chromatin shares many post-translational modifications and protein components with mammalian systems. This makes fission yeast particularly well suited for studying the link between ncRNAs and epigenetic genome regulation. Building on the findings from yeast, we investigate similar mechanisms and potential conservation in more complex model systems such as mouse embryonic stem cells, transgenic mouse models, and Drosophila melanogaster.
  • Laboratory webpage: https://buehlerlab.org/