FORNE Lab Profile
Research Focus: Higher-order chromatin architecture, Imprinted gene regulation, post-transcriptional control of gene expression in mammals.
We are interested in determining how epigenetic features such as higher-order chromatin architecture influence gene expression in mammals both at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. We investigate the nature and dynamics of long-distance interactions that occur in the mammalian genome during development as the result of multiple epigenetic mechanisms. We focus on imprinted genes whose expression occurs exclusively on one allele depending on its parental origin. We have developed a new method to study Matrix Attachments Regions (MARs) in the mouse. MARs are evolutionarily conserved nuclear AT-rich regulatory elements involved in higher-order chromatin organisation. We have shown that Igf2 contains tissue-specific intragenic MARs controlled by genomic imprinting (Weber et al., 2003. Mol Cell Biol 23, 8953-8959), suggesting that regulatory elements located several tens of kilobase pairs apart within a locus may directly interact. We are currently developing innovative techniques to characterize such long-range interactions. Finally, to get new insights into MAR functions, we also plan to use homologous recombination in mouse to delete these regulatory elements at imprinted loci.