Grants awarded

Role of epigenetic mechanisms in random X chromosome inactivation ex vivo and in vivo

Grantholder:

Dr Jan Zylicz

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

Developmental progression is linked to the accumulation of epigenetic information, mainly in the form of chemical modifications of chromatin. One of the most striking examples of this is random X chromosome inactivation (XCI) in female mammalian embryos. This process is dependent on the coating of one X chromosome by a long non-coding RNA, Xist. This in turn promotes rapid and dramatic remodelling of the chromatin. 

The functional relevance and exact spatio-temporal dynamics of this process remains elusive. I plan to address these questions using an integrated approach. This will include culturing mouse embryos outside the uterus and generating a functional epigenetic roadmap for XCI. 

This work could have wide-ranging implications beyond the field of XCI and be extrapolated into other epigenetic regulatory mechanisms.