Mattiroli: Chromatin structure and dynamics

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The Mattiroli group studies chromatin dynamics during DNA replication to understand how chromatin organization is propagated through cell division.

Chromatin organisation determines cell identity. Chromatin encodes the genetic and epigenetic information of the cell. Genetic and epigenetic information need to be accurately propagated through cell division, to prevent transformations that lead to diseases such as cancer.
At every cell cycle, DNA and chromatin organization are replicated. The mechanisms that control the replication of chromatin structures are largely unknown.

We use biochemical, structural and cell biology approaches to study chromatin dynamics during DNA replication at the molecular level. Moreover, we aim to understand how chromatin replication affects cellular life and disease development.

Mechanism of nucleosome assembly during DNA replication

A network of histone chaperones control chromatin dynamics during DNA replication. How these activities are integrated in this process remains largely unclear.
We have developed a quantitative nucleosome assembly (NAQ) assay that measures nucleosome formation in vitro. We have used this assay to study the mechanism of action of the chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1). CAF-1 orchestrates chromatin assembly during DNA replication.

We are now interested in understanding how this mechanism of action is coupled to the DNA replication machinery. We use in vitro reconstitutions and biochemical assays with yeast and human CAF-1 complexes and DNA replication factors to study their molecular interplay, as well as the crosstalk between CAF-1 and other histone chaperones that are active during DNA replication.