Histone variants have emerged as key players in regulating chromatin structure and dynamics and represent a key epigenetic code. This EMBO Workshop will be the second in the series and will cover broad aspects of the biology and structural variations of histones and their impact in cellular processes. Topics will include:

At this second EMBO Workshop, we will incorporate a novel aspect of a perspective in systems biology, in order to strengthen this important emerging topic.

Epigenetic mechanisms are key for gene regulation and regulate cell plasticity, cell differentiation and development. In the recent years, epigenetics has become a main and extremely productive field in the life sciences. In general terms, epigenetic mechanisms involve

(i) the packing of the DNA,

(ii) the dynamics of eu- and hetero- chromatin compartments and chromatin components as well as

(iii) covalent modifications of DNA and histones.

The building block of the chromatin is the nucleosome, which is composed of an octamer of two copies of each of the core histones wrapped by DNA. Apart from the major core histones, whose synthesis and incorporation into chromatin is linked to the S phase of the cell cycle, histone ʻvariantsʼ are synthesized and incorporated into chromatin independently of DNA replication. These ʻreplacementʼ histones confer distinct properties to nucleosomes, and appear to be involved in important epigenetic processes such as X-inactivation. Recent progress has made clear that histone variants have a key role in regulating chromatin structure regulating development, reprogramming of germ cells and parasite infectiousness. The EMBO Workshop will focus on the structural and functional impacts of variations in histone sequence. Specialists of chromatin structure and transcription will meet with developmental biologists and physiologists to share their common interest on histone variants in yeast, plants and animals.






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