Chromatin and Ageing

Chromatin is the complex of DNA and proteins that can be found in the nucleus of a cell. The basic unit of chromatin is the nucleosome that consists of DNA wrapped around an octamer of highly conserved histone proteins. The nucleosomes help to compact the DNA, but also serve as a gatekeeper for access to the genetic material. Over the last two decades, research revealed that the regulation of chromatin is at the heart of every DNA-dependent process, like transcription, replication and repair. This regulation, which is mediated by posttranslational modifications, is often referred to as epigenetics. Misregulation of epigenetic control has been implicated in many diseases, most notably cancer.

However, only very recently it has become apparent that chromatin is undergoing dramatic changes during ageing. Our work will aim to answer questions like: What are the basic principles of chromatin alterations during ageing? How does the architecture and modifications of chromatin change? Can these changes be reversed? If yes - would this benefit fitness during ageing?