Chromatin architecture and function

Research Focus

In both plants and animals, DNA is wrapped around nucleosomes. Nucleosomes consist of proteins called histones and help organize DNA into functional units, they are thus critical for all cellular processes that affect DNA. Several different variants of histone proteins evolved. These variants either modify the structural properties of the nucleosome or confer specific properties to chromatin. Some variants exist in all eukaryotes while others are found only in specific groups of species. In addition, chemical modifications of histones regulate nucleosome properties. 

The Berger lab investigates the evolution of histone variants and their roles in organizing the genetic information encoded by DNA into units that are readable by the transcription and translation machinery. Genetics, genomics, and biochemical analyses are combined with synthetic strategies to study chromatin in Arabidopsis, Marchantia, unicellular red algae, and fission yeast.


Selected Publications

Schmücker A, Lei B, Lorković ZJ, et al. (2021) Crosstalk between H2A variant-specific modifications impacts vital cell functions. PLoS Genet 17(6):e1009601 preprint bioRxiv:2021.01.14.426637v2.

Osakabe A, Jamge B, Axelsson E, et al. (2021) The chromatin remodeler DDM1 prevents transposon mobility through deposition of histone variant H2A.W. Nat Cell Biol 23(4):391-400.

Jiang D, Borg M, Lorković ZJ, et al. (2020) The evolution and functional divergence of the histone H2B family in plants. PLoS Genet 16(7):e1008964.

Borg M, Jacob Y, Susaki D, et al. (2020) Targeted reprogramming of H3K27me3 resets epigenetic memory in plant paternal chromatin. Nature Cell Biology 22(6):621-9.

Montgomery SA, Tanizawa Y, Galik B, et al. (2020) Chromatin organization in early land plants reveals an ancestral association between H3K27me3, transposons, and constitutive heterochromatin. Curr Biol 30(4):573-588.e7.