During fertilization two terminally differentiated cells – sperm and oocyte – fuse to give rise to a totipotent zygote. To achieve totipotency the maternal and paternal genomes have to be reprogrammed to a ground state. During the subsequent developmental stages that lead to pluripotency and multipotency, the zygotic chromatin undergoes de novo establishment of different histone modifications that are associated with loss of cell potency and preparation for the zygotic genome activation (ZGA).
Although, epigenetic reprogramming to the ground state is considered to be a requirement to establish totipotency, recent reports suggest that to some extent some histone modifications are resistant to reprogramming and are inherited through the germline by the early embryo.
My PhD project focuses on the investigation of intergenerational epigenetic inheritance and its role in regulating the early embryonic development of Drosophila.
Metzger E, Stepputtis SS, Strietz J, Preca BT, Urban S, Willmann D, Allen A, Zenk F, Iovino N, Bronsert P, Proske A, Follo M, Boerries M, Stickeler E, Xu J, Wallace MB, Stafford JA, Kanouni T, Maurer J, Schüle R (2017). KDM4 inhibition targets breast cancer stem-like cells. Cancer Res 2017 Nov 1: 77(21):5900-5912.
Zenk F, Loeser E, Schiavo R, Kilpert F, Bogdanović O, Iovino N (2017). Germ line-inherited H3K27me3 restricts enhancer function during maternal-to-zygotic transition. Science 2017 Jul 14; 357(6347):212-216.
Hau M, Zenk F, Ganesan A, Iovino N, Jung M (2017). Cellular analysis of the action of epigenetics drugs and probes. Epigenetics 2017 May 4;12(5):308-322.