Karen M. Arndt, PhD “The mechanisms and effects of coupling

Special Seminar
Karen M. Arndt, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
4:00 p.m., Room 101 Biochemistry
“The mechanisms and effects of coupling histone modifications to
transcription elongation”
The Arndt lab is interested in the mechanisms that regulate gene expression in eukaryotic cells.
Our focus is on the proteins that couple chromatin changes to the synthesis of mRNAs and
noncoding RNAs. A central area of interest is the multi-subunit Polymerase-Associated Factor
1 complex (Paf1C), which physically interacts with RNA pol II and coordinates the modification
of histone proteins during transcription. The epigenetic modification of histones is critically
important for the accuracy and efficiency of gene expression. Defects in Paf1C have been
associated with numerous human cancers. In addition, a functional Paf1C is necessary for
resistance to viral infections and maintenance of stem cell pluripotency. Through the use of
yeast genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genomics, the Arndt lab is dissecting the
mechanisms by which Paf1C promotes histone modifications, travels with the RNA polymerase
elongation apparatus during transcription, and ensures proper processing of transcripts at
their 3’-ends. In separate studies, the Arndt lab is exploring the fundamental mechanisms that
underlie histone modifications from the perspective of the nucleosome.