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Epigenetic inheritance of gene expression in ciliates

Team leader: 
Martin Simon
Team members: 
Simone Marker
Miriam Cheaib
Raphael de Wijn
Institute or University: 
Saarland University
Campus A2 4; 032
Centre for Human and Molecular Biology
Molecular Cell Dynamics
Research interests: 

We are interested in small RNA controlled gene expression during vegetative growth and in particular the epigenetic inheritance of these expression states. Small RNA molecules mediate chromatin modifications in a homology dependent manner and are therefore responsible for the local formation of heterochromatin and silencing of gene expression.We study the underlying mechanisms in Paramecium tetraurelia investigating key enzymes of the RNAi pathway, the resulting small RNAs, and associated chromatin modifications in relation to transcriptional activity of individual genes. To analyze these mechanisms we focus in the analysis of small RNA synthesis and stabilization as well as in chromatin analysis by ChIP and ChIP-sequencing.A deeper understanding of these mechanisms provides new insights in environmental adaptation mechanisms as small RNAs are also responsible for the transfer of information to sexual progeny thus providing important mechanisms for inheritance of acquired characters such as alterations of gene expression.

Histone modification
Antigenic Variation
Transcriptional control of gene expression
ChIP, siRNA analysis, RNAi, NGS, Immunolocalization,

Damir Baranasic, Timo Oppermann, Miriam Cheaib, John Cullum, Helmut Schmidt, Martin Simon: Genomic Characterization of Variable Surface Antigens Reveals a Telomere Position Effect as a Prerequisite for RNA Interference-Mediated Silencing in Paramecium tetraurelia. mBio 10/2014; 5(6)

Martin Simon, Helmut Plattner: Unicellular Eukaryotes as Models in Cell and Molecular Biology: Critical Appraisal of Their Past and Future Value.. International review of cell and molecular biology 01/2014; 309C:141-198.

Miriam Cheaib, Martin Simon: Dynamic chromatin remodelling of ciliate macronuclear DNA as determined by an optimized chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) method for Paramecium tetraurelia. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 02/2013.

Martin C Simon, Jürgen Kusch: Communicative functions of GPI-anchored surface proteins in unicellular eukaryotes. Critical Reviews in Microbiology 06/2012.

Alexandra Müller, Christine Klöppel, Megan Smith-Valentine, Judith Van Houten, Martin Simon: Selective and programmed cleavage of GPI-anchored proteins from the surface membrane by phospholipase C.. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2012; 1818(1):117-24.

Simone Marker, Anne Le Mouël, Eric Meyer, Martin Simon: Distinct RNA-dependent RNA polymerases are required for RNAi triggered by double-stranded RNA versus truncated transgenes in Paramecium tetraurelia. Nucleic Acids Research 03/2010; 38(12):4092-107.

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