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22.12.17 Brand lab probes changes in chromatin state in developing brain using Targeted DamID

last modified Dec 22, 2017 10:29 AM
Brand lab's Nature Communication demonstrates large-scale chromatin remodelling in Drosophila neural development
22.12.17 Brand lab probes changes in chromatin state in developing brain using Targeted DamID

Targeted DamID reveals changes in chromatin state

Chromatin state changes during neural development revealed by in vivo cell type specific profiling

Marshall OJ & Brand AH (2017) Nature Communications DOI 




A key question in developmental biology is how cellular differentiation is controlled during development. While transitions between trithorax-group (TrxG) and polycomb-group (PcG) chromatin states are vital for the differentiation of ES cells to multipotent stem cells, little is known regarding the role of chromatin states during development of the brain. Here we show that large-scale chromatin remodelling occurs during Drosophila neural development.

We demonstrate that the majority of genes activated during neuronal differentiation are silent in neural stem cells (NSCs) and occupy black chromatin and a TrxG-repressive state. In neurons, almost all key NSC genes are switched off via HP1-mediated repression. PcG-mediated repression does not play a significant role in regulating these genes, but instead regulates lineage-specific transcription factors that control spatial and temporal patterning in the brain.

Combined, our data suggest that forms of chromatin other than canonical PcG/TrxG transitions take over key roles during neural development.



Read more about research in the Brand lab.

Watch Andrea Brand describe her research on video.


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The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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