PhD Thesis: Unravelling the epigenetic role of RNA at centromeric chromatin

Astonishingly, the highly organized processes of cell division that take place at centromeric chromatin during mitosis and meiosis are still not fully understood. However, it is known that instead of the centromeric DNA sequence, epigentic mechanisms regulate the formation at kinetochores at centromeres. The best-characterized epigenetic mark for centromeres is the histone H3-variant CENP-A, which replaces H3 in some of the nucleosomes within centromeric chromatin. Centromeres are embedded in pericentromeric heterochromatin and it has become apparent in recent years that heterochromatin is transcribed into non-coding RNAs. We have recently shown that a long non-coding RNA in Drosophila melanogaster localizes to centromeres and is an essential epigenetic component for correct loading and maintenance of CENP-A and, therefore, genome stability. Additional RNAs in Drosophila and RNAs from other species have been linked to centromeric chromatin, but their function is not understood. We propose that a complex, RNA-based epigenetic mechanism regulates centromere establishment and function. This project is designed to characterize the precise function of centromere-associated RNAs and their associated protein complexes. The student will elucidate the function of RNA in centromere biology and chromosome segregation. The projects involved a fast variety of biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques, as well as high resolution and live cell microscopy.
Rosic, S., Kohler, F. & Erhardt, S. Repetitive centromeric satellite RNA is essential for kinetochore formation and cell division. J Cell Biol 207, 335-349, doi:10.1083/jcb.201404097 (2014).
Rosic, S. & Erhardt, S  No longer a nuisance: long non-coding RNAs join CENP-A in epigenetic centromere regulation. CellMol Life Sci 2016 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print]
Personal qualifications:
The ideal candidate for this PhD position is a highly motivated and interactive person with a strong background in RNA biology and molecular biology. The ideal candidate has a strong interest in chromatin biology and epigenetic processes, and enjoys being part of an international and collaborative team

How to apply:
Please apply online only and refer to Project no: Erhardt0116
Send application to
Applications are handled by the Graduate School on campus. All applications must be submitted via the online system and refer to project no: Erhardt0116
A pre-check of materials or eligibilty is not possible.

The Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS)
Heidelberg University
Im Neuenheimer Feld 501 (HBIGS Center), 1st floor
69120 Heidelberg
T: +49 6221-546720
F: +49 6221-546718
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: Erhardt0116

About Universität Heidelberg - ZMBH

The primary goal of the research in my group is to elucidate how epigenetic mechanisms are linked to centromere identity, chromosome segregation, and cell cycle progression. We use diverse cell biological, biochemical, molecular and genetic tools in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and human cell culture for our studies. We have identified regulators that functionally or physically...

More about Universität Heidelberg - ZMBH

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