MacroH2A Function in Development and Disease (Emily Bernstein)
December 1, 2021
In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Emily Bernstein from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to talk about her work on MacroH2A function and the role of Polycomb proteins in its epigenetic regulation, and how this affects stem cell development and disease.
The Bernstein Lab focuses on histone variants, in particular the H2A variant macroH2A. Chromatin architecture is influenced by the composition of the nucleosome and, hence, exchanging the core histones for histone variants can have a major impact on chromatin structure. MacroH2A variants are the most unique histone variants due to a 30kDa non-histone domain (macro domain) at their C-termini. This macro domain likely confers important functions to macroH2A variants, which have important regulatory roles in the cell. Among other things, the Bernstein Lab has shown that macroH2A is enriched at a critical set of Utx target genes whose expression is critical for the early stages of induced pluripotency, and that macroH2A plays a role as a barrier to tumorigenesis.