- Congratulations to Andre Nussenzweig for his election into EMBO.
Special issue of BBA:Gene Regulatory Mechanisms “Chromatin in Time and Space”
This special issue will contain 31 articles featuring research from the CECB and NIH chromatin groups.
Understanding chromosome structure and function is one of the central issues of
modern biology. Chromatin is a specialized structure in eukaryotes which packages, protects
and regulates accessibility of nuclear DNA. Vince Allfrey proposed almost fifty years ago
(Science 144: 559, 1964) that chromatin structural modifications, particularly acetylation of
histone tails, could also play a significant role in the regulation of transcription. This concept
was largely discounted for two decades, until several developments in the late 1980's focused
new attention on structural changes in chromatin.
Scientists in the NIH intramural program provided a number of key contributions to this
evolving view of chromatin and gene regulation. Gary Felsenfeld, with D. Camerini-Otero and
B. Sollner-Webb, showed that the H3/H4 tetramer forms the kernel of the nucleosome.
Felsenfeld also discovered GATA-1, a protein now seen as important in chromatin interactions.
Bob Simpson and colleagues first showed that a nucleosome could occupy selective positions on
the DNA template, and also discovered that DNA could be reconstituted onto a cross-linked
octamer, proving that the histone subunits were not intertwined with DNA. G. Hager and
colleagues demonstrated a direct role for nucleosome reorganization in gene regulation by
steroid receptors, and later discovered the rapid dynamics of protein movement during these
remodeling processes. Carl Wu isolated the first ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling
systems, presaging the characterization of this important family of enzymes.
This rich tradition of chromatin research continues on the NIH campuses. In the
National Cancer Institute, the Center of Excellence in Chromosome Biology helps to nurture
support for research and postdoctoral training in the chromatin/chromosome field. The CECB
center has recently joined forces with the NIH wide chromatin interest group to foster
increased communication and interaction with the international community.
The reviews in this issue reflect the breath of activities ongoing within the NIH
intramural program. Areas discussed include chromatin domains, chromatin boundaries and
insulators, chromosomal proteins, epigenetic modification of chromatin proteins, DNA damage
in the chromatin context, chromatin dynamics and oscillatory mechanisms, specialized
chromosome structures, DNA topology, and other current issues in chromosome biology. We
are in a golden age of discovery in the field. The increased understanding of mechanisms
involved in chromosome function will continue to provide unexpected opportunities in the
realm of human health.
Gordon L. Hager
Chair, Center of Excellence in Chromosome Biology, CCR, NCI
Lab of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, CCR, NCI
- Gordon Hager was awarded the 2015 Society for Endocrinology Transatlantic Medal by the British Society for Endocrinology
- Susan Gottesman was elected to EMBO
Congratulations to Dan Larson, receipent of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his studies on transcription dynamics of single human genes. The PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Tom Misteli received the Arthur S. Flemming Award for his work in cancer cell biology that has led to several important conceptual advances in the fundamental understanding of genome function and that has practical application in biomedicine.
- Susan Gottesman – winner of the 2011 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award
- Michael Lichten – elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
- Shiv Grewal – selected as NIH Senior Investigators
- Comments on "Chromatin accessibility pre-determines glucocorticoid receptor binding patterns" by John et al.
- Comments on "Extensive chromatin remodelling and establishment of transcription factor ‘hotspots’ during early adipogenesis".
- See Tom Misteli's article "The Inner Life of the Genome" in Scientific American
- October 12, 2010, Carl Wu, Ph.D., Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was were elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine as it recognizes outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Lifetime appointments to the Institute are elected by current active members through a selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.
- Work from various CECB members has received recognition as milestones in the field of gene expression over the past 50 years by Nature. http://www.nature.com/milestones/geneexpression/index.html
- Andre Nussenzweig together with John O'Shea (NIAMS), Rober Nussenblatt (NEI), Keji Zhao (NHLBI) and Rafael Callellas (NIAMS), have been awarded the NIH Director's Challenge Award for 2009 and 2010. The project is entitled "Epigenomic Regulation of mammalian development and differentiation."
- Genome-wide chromatin structure and function Symposium Thu., October 30, 2008 To register or submit an abstract please visit http://www.blsmeetings.net/chromosomebio2008
- The Cell's Sophisticated Army to Defend Against Assaults on DNA Wed., June 18, 2008 In a recent Science article, Drs. Evi Soutoglou and Tom Misteli (Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression) demonstrate that activation of the cellular DNA damage response does not require DNA damage. Their paper (Soutoglou E, Misteli T. Science 320: 1507-10, 2008) is highlighted in CCR "In the Journals", a Web site focusing on current, significant scientific news.
- How a Genetic Roll of the Dice Paves the Way for Lymphatic Cancers Fri., June 29, 2007 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Michel Nussenzweig; his brother, National Cancer Institute investigator Andre Nussenzweig; and their colleagues have shown that an enzyme called ATM kinase plays a dual role in preventing immune cells from propagating with damaged chromosomes.
- Protein Plays Crucial Role in Repairing Genetic Damage that Can Lead to Lymphomas in Mice Thu., June 28, 2007 Researchers have discovered that a protein called ATM kinase, which plays a crucial role in repairing double-strand breaks in DNA, also helps prevent cells with this type of DNA damage from dividing, thereby blocking the passage of persistent DNA damage on to daughter cells.
- CECB Inaugural Retreat Held May 12, 2006 Fri., October 06, 2006 The Chromosome Biology Center of Excellence held its first retreat on May 12, 2006 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. To view the agenda of speakers, and topics, and sessions click the link above.
- Dr. Carl Wu Elected to the Academica Sinica Tue., October 03, 2006 Dr. Carl Wu was elected as an academician of Academia Sinica, Republic of China, during the 27th Convocation of the Academy held on July 3-6, 2006 in Taipei, Taiwan. Congratulations to Dr. Wu on this well-deserved honor!