We wish to understand the detailed molecular events that underlie the recruitment and regulation of chromatin-modifying complexes by their co‐factor proteins, RNAs and DNA. We are also aiming to uncover the function of long non‐coding RNAs (lncRNAs) that have been widely linked to this process, even though their binding specificity and molecular mechanisms are still obscure.
Our current focus is on polycomb group (PcG) proteins, which mainly appear as histone modifier complexes. These enzymatic complexes, termed polycomb repressive complexes, are required in order to maintain the repressed epigenetic state of thousands of genes during cell differentiation and thus keep genes "off" unless they are needed.
Dysregulation of Polycomb group proteins lead and contribute to the progression of diseases, including various types of cancer and growth syndromes. We seek to understand, down to atomic resolution, how the function of these chromatin-modifying complexes is modulated by their cellular environment and through interactions with their various binding partners.