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Title: Interplay between chromatin conformation and transcription in eukaryotes
Author: Bhardwaj, Shweta
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The three-dimensional organization of the genome is important for various processes such as transcription, replication, and repair. Several studies have shown that the genome is organized into long-range and short-range chromatin loops. Gene loops represent a short-range chromatin loop, synonymous with the juxtaposition of promoter and terminator regions of a gene. In Chapter III, I investigate the mechanism of gene-loop formation in a constitutively expressed gene, mouse serum albumin (Alb). The Alb locus appears to exist in a clover-leaf structure, with the promoter in close physical proximity with an upstream enhancer and downstream genic sequences. Furthermore, Alb forms a promoter-terminator gene loop that is dependent on serine 2 phosphorylation of RNA polymerase C-terminal domain. I also investigate the presence of gene loop conformation at the human Nuclear factor NF-kappa-B (NFκB1) gene. In response to cytokine stimulation, NFκB1 transcription proceeds as a wave, with nascent RNA appearing as RNA polymerase traverses along the gene length. This coincides with formation of transient contacts between NFκB1 promoter and genic regions. The cohesin complex is a key mediator of chromatin loops and sister chromatid cohesion. The association of cohesin with chromatin is dependent on the loading complex, Mis4/Ssl3. In Chapter IV, I provide direct evidence for two functionally different populations of cohesin is Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Cohesin that co-localizes with Mis4 represents "cohesive" cohesin. In contrast, cohesin alone is unable to maintain stable sister chromatid cohesion, therefore, "less-cohesive" cohesin. Cohesive cohesin ensures stable cohesion because it is acetylated by the Eso1 acetyltransferase, which preferentially interacts with Mis4. In contrast, less-cohesive cohesin may function in recombination/repair. In Chapter V, I have identified a novel interplay between cohesin loading and transcription by RNA polymerase II. Inhibition of transcription initiation results in loss of Mis4 and consequently, cohesin binding on chromosomal arms regions. Furthermore, cohesin and Mis4 physically interact with RNA polymerase II. In Chapter VI, I summarize the above findings and propose a model that describes the stepwise loading of cohesin onto chromosomal arms during the fission yeast cell cycle. To conclude, I discuss the importance of understanding cohesin and its functions in health and diseases.
Supervisor: Proudfoot, Nicholas J. Sponsor: Felix Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Biology ; transcription ; chromatin ; cohesin ; molecular biology