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Gyorgyi Csankovszki

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 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  We use dosage compensation in worms as a model system to study how the higher order structure and organization of chromosomes affect gene expression. In the nematode C. elegans, a complex of proteins called the Dosage Compensation Complex (DCC) binds the two X chromosomes in hermaphrodites (XX) and downregulates gene expression by half. This results in X-linked gene expression equal to that in males (X0). The dosage compensation complex is similar to the evolutionarily conserved 13S condensin complex responsible for the organization of mitotic and meiotic chromosomes into distinct condensed bodies. However, there is increasing evidence that condensin complexes also play roles in regulation of gene expression during interphase.

The nematode C. elegans is unique in that it possesses three condensin complexes with roles in distinct cellular processes. Condensin I-M and condensin II function in mitosis and condensin I-DC functions in dosage compensation. Thus, a comparative study of these three complexes in C. elegans establishes a paradigm of how condensin can fulfill dual roles in gene regulation and chromosome condensation. We are using a combination of biochemical, genetic, and microscopic imaging techniques to analyze the roles the DCC, and other proteins that interact with the complex, play in different aspects of chromosome biology.