Genome Organization and Epigenetic Control

The current project of the “Genome Organization and Epigenetic Control” leaded by Thierry Forné aims at understanding how the tridimensional architecture of the genome is involved in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in mammals. 

The team has developed a unique method (3C-qPCR) allowing to measure with a high resolution (around 1 kilobase) contact frequencies between pairs of genomic sites. To exploit such data and to interpret their variations from one given physiological condition to another, we are developing models from polymer physics that allow the description of chromatin dynamics at different scales.

It also has developed a novel high-throughput sequencing approach providing a genomic profiling of chromatin regions associated with some specific nuclear compartments (Cajal bodies, histone locus-bodies…). The analysis and scientific exploitation of this totally novel data involve the implementation of new statistical methods (under the R langage) as well as the creation of specific bioinformatics pipelines and algorithmic methods for 3D reconstitutions of the nuclear architecture.

The team is thus exploiting a panel of concepts and methods from mathematics (probability theory, graph theory, sequence analysis) and physics (polymer physics, soft matter physics, network science, self-organization). Dedicated techniques for the analysis of our experimental data are developed with a network of local, national and international collaborators: C. Reynes and L. Journot (IGF), S. Ramdani (LIRMM), J.M. Victor (LPTMC, Paris) J. Mozziconacci (MNHN, Paris), O. Naimark (Russia), M.T. Hütt (Bremen, Germany).