The Dawe LabThe Dawe Lab

Heterochromatin

Maize pachytene chromosome stained with anti-K27me1 antibodies. K27me1 is green, CENPC is blue, and DNA is red.

We study heterochromatin because we are interested in understanding how it relates to centromere/pericentromere function, how transposons and tandem repeats affect the cells that host them, and why cells invest in such elaborate schemes of heterochromatin regulation. At an even more fundamental level, we want to understand what heterochromatin is and where it is located in the genome. As the simple observations of densely staining portions of the nucleus represented by structures such as knobs and chromocenters reveal only a small part of a complex story, we are using combinations of immunolocalization, chromatin immunoprecipitation, bisulfite sequencing, and small RNA expression profiling to describe the heterochromatin landscape of the maize genome and to define the roles of specific heterochromatin factors.