We use dosage compensation in worms as a model system to study how the higher order structure and organization of chromosomes affect gene expression. In the nematode C. elegans, a complex of proteins called the Dosage Compensation Complex (DCC) binds the two X chromosomes in hermaphrodites (XX) and downregulates gene expression by half. This results in X-linked gene expression equal to that in males (X0). The dosage compensation complex is similar to the evolutionarily conserved 13S condensin complex responsible for the organization of mitotic and meiotic chromosomes into distinct condensed bodies. However, there is increasing evidence that condensin complexes also play roles in regulation of gene expression during interphase. The nematode C. elegans is unique in that it possesses three condensin complexes with roles in distinct cellular processes, two with roles in mitosis and the third in dosage compensation. Thus, a comparative study of these two complexes in C. elegans establishes a paradigm of how condensin can fulfill dual roles in gene regulation and chromosome condensation. We are using a combination of biochemical, genetic, and microscopic imaging techniques to analyze the roles the DCC, and other proteins that interact with the complex, play in different aspects of chromosome biology.
Dr. Csankovszki received her Ph.D. in 2001 from MIT, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley from 2001 until 2005.
Field(s) of Study
- Regulation of gene expression and chromosome dynamics
Areas of Focus