Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Kevin Li L&S Biological Sciences

Probing Chromatin-binding Dynamics of PRC2, a Key Epigenetic Regulator

Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) is a key epigenetic regulator complex that acts as a gene silencer to maintain cell identity, depositing the repressive histone H3 K27 trimethylation mark at target genes. Faulty PRC2 regulation is involved in developmental disorders and cancer development, but mechanisms that direct PRC2 activity to target genes are poorly understood. Recent structural findings show PRC2 binding through its catalytic lobe, but do not provide a mechanism to explain how PRC2 localizes to target sites in vitro without its catalytic lobe. To address this knowledge gap, I will systematically perturb several chromatin-binding surfaces in both catalytic and non-catalytic lobes, and then use live cell imaging and single-particle tracking to determine the contribution of each surface to chromatin-binding dynamics. These findings will be valuable in understanding the regulatory mechanisms at play in PRC2 and enable further studies on its localization and catalytic function.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for supporting my SURF project! Thanks to your generosity, I will be able to pursue this research project and not only develop so much as a scientist, but also contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms at play in epigenetic regulation. I look forward to working full-time this summer in this project I'm so passionate about!
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Robert Tjian
Sponsor: Fruewirth Fund
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