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CSB Seminar – Arneet Saltzman, Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto
September 29, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Department of Cell and Systems Biology
University of Toronto
2:00-3:00 p.m. at RW 432
Chromatin modifications play a broadly conserved role in the maintenance of cell fate. Diverse CHRomatin Organization MOdifier (chromo) domain proteins act as ‘readers’ of histone methylation states. However, understanding the functional relationships among chromo domain proteins and their roles in the inheritance of gene expression patterns remains challenging. We identified two new chromo domain proteins in C. elegans that recognize histone H3 Lys27 methylation and play roles in both somatic and germline development. We found that loss of multiple readers of heterochromatin-associated histone modifications led to distinct phenotypes either within a single generation or on a multi-generational time scale. In particular, genetic interactions between different pairs of chromo domain genes led to either developmental defects or to a progressive loss of fertility across generations, or a ‘mortal’ germline. Our results provide evidence of functional compensation between heterochromatin pathways, and show that histone methylation ‘readers’ contribute to both somatic development and trans-generational fitness.