Book of Abstracts: Albany 2009

category image Albany 2009
Conversation 16
June 16-20 2009
© Adenine Press (2008)

The ?protein-scape? of eukaryotic chromatin

A quintessential feature of eukaryotes is their unique complement of chromatin proteins. While these have been the focus of intense investigation over the past two decades, we are still left with several open questions. The most prominent of these concern the origins of the eukaryote-specific chromatin proteins and the full diversity of nucleic acid and protein modifications occurring in eukaryotic chromatin. We have tackled both these issues using a slew of computational methods. As consequence we have identified several novel DNA-binding domains, chromatin protein domains, and DNA and protein modification enzymes. Taking advantage of the genomic data from early-branching eukaryotes we have also performed a comprehensive analysis of chromatin proteins from these lineages and compared them with those from well-studied model organisms. As a result we were able reconstruct in depth the origin and subsequent evolution of eukaryotic chromatin proteins. We also discerned certain ?syntactical patterns? in the domain architectures of histone modifying enzymes and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling molecules. These syntactical patterns help in understanding the cross-talk between different modifications and predict the degree of contextual specificity likely to be exhibited by different chromatin protein modifying enzymes. Our identification of novel protein domains in chromatin proteins have also lead to the discovery of previously unknown DNA modifications and small-molecule-dependent regulatory networks in that could have considerable implications for epigenetics and chromosomal dynamics.

L. Aravind

Computational Biology Branch
National Institutes of Heath/NLM, NCBI
Bethesda MD 20894

ph: 301-594-2445
email L. Aravind