What is it about?

Silent DNA in eukaryotes is often wrapped around unmodified histone proteins that leads to its compaction and proper nuclear folding. Here, we examine how DNA folding changes if histones are modified by acetylation, which causes DNA to be more open. We deleted genes involved in removing acetylation, so silent DNA became more acetylated and able to contact across greater genomic distances. We also removed DNA methylation, which caused general genome disorder since silent DNA was now interacting with gene-rich DNA.

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Why is it important?

Understanding how DNA folding is important in a model fungal organism provides knowledge for how changes in DNA folding can occur in human diseases, including cancers. Our results also provide insight into how normal changes in histone acetylation can affect DNA folding during the cell cycle. Thus, silent DNA must be devoid of histone acetylation for proper DNA folding in the fungus Neurospora crassa, and our results should be directly applicable to human systems.


This manuscript is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by the undergraduate and Master's students in the Klocko lab, and has provided numerous future directions for additional undergraduate research projects at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

Andrew Klocko
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Histone deacetylation and cytosine methylation compartmentalize heterochromatic regions in the genome organization of Neurospora crassa, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2311249120.
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