Sandra Duharcourt PhD Molecular and Cellular Genetics

Course and current status

Group Leader at Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France

Scientific summary

The unicellular eukaryote Paramecium tetraurelia provides an extraordinary model for studying the mechanisms involved in programmed genome rearrangements. At each sexual cycle, differentiation of the somatic nucleus from the zygotic nucleus is characterized by extensive remodeling of the entire somatic genome to reconstitute functional open reading frames. This process of genome reorganization includes the massive and reproducible deletion of transposable elements and the precise excision of 45,000 short noncoding germline DNA segments, which are degenerate remnants of ancient transposable element insertions. Chromatin modifying enzymes and different classes of non coding RNAs are involved in the epigenetic regulation of DNA deletion. My laboratory is currently using molecular, biochemical and cellular approaches combined with reverse genetics and next-generation sequencing to decipher the mechanisms underlying the epigenetic control of programmed genome rearrangements.

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