Paro Lab Profile
Research Focus: Epigenetic Mechanisms of Cellular Memory
The many mitotic cell divisions following the stage of the fertilized egg to the adult organism require mechanisms ensuring that defined cellular states, determined at specific times during development, are faithfully inherited. Since cellular identities are based on a carefully orchestrated gene expression pattern of developmental regulators, like the HOX genes, maintaining identity is equivalent to maintaining the differential gene expression patterns. This basic cellular function is controlled at the level of chromatin. The proteins of the Polycomb group (PcG) and trithorax group (trxG) generate stable and heritable chromatin structures, maintaining the expression of developmental control genes. Our major research focus in the lab deals with the molecular mechanisms by which the PcG and trxG proteins control chromatin structure and in particular how chromatin-based epigenetic information controlling gene expression is faithfully maintained during DNA replication and cell division. This mechanism of maintaining determined states has been termed "cellular memory".