Invited by Sandra Duharcourt, Antoine Hocher (MRC, London Institute of Medical Sciences) will give on January 6th a seminar entitled :
Histones, beyond eukaryotes
Our goal is to understand how what is happening inside the cell biases the incidence of mutations, affects their persistence, and, ultimately, shapes patterns of natural variation within and between species.
Some of the questions we have been working on include:
- How, and why, did chromatin evolve? What can we learn about chromatin function from comparing bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes?
- Are genome-wide patterns of variation within and between species linked to chromatin architecture? If so, is this because chromatin organization affects mutation rates or repair dynamics or something else?
- Why do some ostensibly harmful sequence motifs, such as cryptic splice sites, persist in the genome? Are these sites visible to us but invisible to the cell, for example because they are masked by proteins binding nearby?
- How do chaperones affect the evolution of their substrates?
- Are species-specific patterns of sequence evolution related to differences in the repertoire of quality control/repair genes between genomes?
We address these questions using both computational and experimental approaches, ranging from phylogenomics and molecular dynamics simulations to genetics and old-school biochemistry. Our research is not tied to a particular biological system. Rather, we flexibly exploit different systems, from humans and yeast to bacteria and archaea, often in a comparative context.