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

Hisanaga T, Romani F, Wu S, et al. (2023) The Polycomb repressive complex 2 deposits H3K27me3 and represses transposable elements in a broad range of eukaryotes. Curr Biol 33(20):4367-80 preprint bioRxiv:2022.10.24.513474.

Jamge B, Lorković Z, Axelsson E, at al. (2022) Transcriptional activity is shaped by the chromatin landscapes in Arabidopsis. bioRxiv:2022.06.02.494419.

Bourguet P, Yelagandula R, Kim To T, et al. (2022) The histone variant H2A.W cooperates with chromatin modifications and linker histone H1 to maintain transcriptional silencing of transposons in Arabidopsis. bioRxiv:2022.05.31.493688.

Montgomery SA, Hisanaga T, Wang N, et al. (2022) Polycomb-mediated repression of paternal chromosomes maintains haploid dosage in diploid embryos of Marchantia.  Elife 11:e79258 preprint bioRxiv:2022.02.04.477531.

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.