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Our main interest is the spatial and temporal regulation of heterochromatin, a transcriptionally inactive (silent) form of chromatin that is crucial for cellular differentiation, genome stability and chromosome organization.
We seek to address which factors contribute to heterochromatin regulation, how do they cooperate with each other, and what are the underlying mechanisms by which they shape and control heterochromatin. For this, we employ genetics and functional genomics to identify novel factors and assign them to functional pathways and regulatory networks. Using live-cell imaging, molecular biology and biochemistry, we further seek to understand the underlying mechanisms of regulation. As a model, we use the powerful fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) system. While S. pombe is less complex than metazoans, it shares many of the conserved hallmarks of heterochromatin (e.g. repressive histone H3-Lys9 methylation, HP1 proteins, RNAi). Its relatively small genome can be easily and precisely manipulated and allows us applying various advanced genomics tools, like automated genetic crosses and epistasis interaction maps at the genome-wide scale.