Simply put, epigenetics refers to faithfully transmissible and heritable elements of the biological blueprints that are not directly encoded by the sequence of DNA in cells. Most commonly, epigenetic information is encoded in methylations of certain DNA bases in the genome and a wide range of modifications on histone proteins, around which DNA is coiled. Epigenetics research is driving our understanding of stem cell differentiation and cancer etiology, and epigenetic modifiers such as histone deacetylatase inhibitors are being studied for a wide range of indications.
We have developed a portfolio of technologies for the direct observation and quantification of histone modifications. Using a combination of biochemistry and mass spectrometry, we are able to characterize these epigenetic "marks" in a diverse range of settings. Examples of various projects include:
- Characterization of the changes in histone methylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination during embryonic stem cell differentiation
- Examination of the effects of treatment with HDAC inhibitors on histone acetylation in cellular and animal models
- Development of technologies to assess the specificity of chromatin immunoprecipitation reagents
- Observation of massively multiplex "histone codes" through advanced mass spectrometric techniques
Our capabilities are complementary to the Broad Epigenomics Platform and we welcome exciting collaborations that can leverage multiple technologies.