Belmont Lab
 Unversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Alumni Labs
Belmont Laboratory

Research Overview:

We are interested in how 10 and 30 nm chromatin fibers fold into interphase and mitotic chromosomes, how interphase chromosomes are moved and positioned within nuclei, and what this means for DNA functions such as transcription and replication. Currently, our understanding of these higher levels of chromatin organization, which we refer to as large-scale chromatin structure, is poor. We use a combination of molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, and microscopy to visualize nuclear positioning and folding dynamics of specific chromosome regions and individual gene loci and to relate this to regulation of transcription and replication.

Most recently we have begun to apply our knowledge of chromosome dynamics to design improved tools for gene therapy and biotechnology.

What's New:

Hsp70-transgene directed motion to nuclear speckles facilitates heat shock activation

Commentary- Gene Regulation: The HSP70 Gene Jumps When Shocked

Hsp70 transgenes move linearly towards nuclear speckles after heat shock gene activation, with noticeably increased transciption observed after first contact with a speckle. Transgenes move at 1-2 microns per minute and frequently this movement is accompanied by visible chromatin stretching in the direction of movement, implying an underlying force-generating mechanism.

Beta-globin cis-elements determine differential nuclear
targeting through epigenetic modifications

Double knockdown of Suv39H and G9a is required to remove the beta-globin locus (red) and adjacent Lamin Associated Domain (LAD) (green) from the nuclear periphery. Attachment of the beta-globin locus to the periphery is dependent on cis peripheral targeting regions (PTRs) and Suv39H, whereas attachment of the adjacent LAD region is dependent on G9a. Both attachments must be weakened to allow cytological displacement of the region away from the periphery. Beta-globin PTRs confer both increased H3K9me3 over an extended chromatin domain and targeting to the nuclear periphery.













Copyright @ 2009 Belmont Lab. All rights reserved.
Belmont Lab  | B107 CLSL,601 S. Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801 |