Vertebrate eggs have the remarkable ability to induce nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells to enable the production of any other cell type of an organism upon nuclear transfer. During this process, the memory of cells, which is stabilised by epigenetic mechanisms, can be fully erased to generate totipotent cells. However, the molecular mechanisms that enable, drive or resist the conversion of a differentiated cell to totipotency remain elusive. This project will address the pressing question of how eggs are able to reprogram differentiated cells to totipotency within hours.
Reprogramming via nuclear transfer to eggs of the frog Xenopus laevis provides an excellent model for understanding how the 'memory' of a specialised cell can be fully erased to generate totipotent cells. We will combine multi-omics approaches (RNAseq, ChIPseq, scRNAseq) with biochemical and cell biological assays to identify the chromatin and epigenome changes during reprogramming and to address the underlying molecular mechanisms.
- Hörmanseder E et al. (2017). H3K4 Methylation-Dependent Memory of Somatic Cell Identity Inhibits Reprogramming and Development of Nuclear Transfer Embryos. Cell Stem Cell. 6; 21(1): 135-143.e6.