Year of Award:
Molecular & Cellular Analysis Technologies
CASTRO, CARLOS E.
Other PI or Project Leader:
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
Dynamic organization of the human genome into chromatin regulates transcription initiation and elongation. Defects in chromatin modifications, assembly, disassembly and remodeling result in misregulation of oncogenes, which are associated with numerous cancers including ovarian, bladder, prostate, and colorectal tumors. Prior research has identified the components involved in chromatin transcriptional regulation (CTR), including histone variants and post-translational modifications (PTMs), histone modification enzymes, and histone chaperone assembly factors. Remarkably, genetic, biochemical, structural, deep sequencing and single molecule studies have not fully revealed the mechanisms of CTR. Therefore, new technologies are required to probe currently inaccessible dynamics and structure of chromatin assemblies at the 10-100 nm length scale, which encompasses critical molecular events the regulate DNA processing. This research will address current technological gaps through the development of nanoscale tools that measure mesoscale (10- 100nm) structure and dynamics of chromatin at specific cancer-relevant modification and processing sites. Specifically, we will develop 1) DNA origami nanostructures with multiple antibodies that recognize distinct physiological and cancer-relevant combinations of chromatin marks (histone modifications/variants and genomic DNA processing sites) and 2) DNA origami displacement sensors to study site-specific mesoscale dynamics at gene regulation sites. The long-term goal of this work is to develop tools and methods to probe chromatin function and dynamics at cancer-relevant chromatin modifications and oncogene regulation sites in vivo. Within the scope of this exploratory research, we will focus on the devic development, in vitro proof-of- principle, and characterizations of chromatin assemblies. Future work will build on the tools and experimental framework established here to implement DNA origami devices to probe intracellular function of chromatin assemblies.