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Compartmentalization and dynamics of Nuclear functions (CDNF)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: May 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The eukaryotic genome is packaged into large-scale chromatin structures that occupy distinct domains in the nucleus and this organization is now seen as a key contributor to genome functions. Two key functions of the genome can take advantage of nuclear organization: regulated gene expression and the propagation of a stable genome. To understand these fundamental processes, we have chosen to use yeast as a model system that allows genetics, molecular biology and advanced live microscopy approaches to be combined. Budding yeast have been very powerful to demonstrate that gene position can play an active role in regulating gene expression. Distinct subcompartments dedicated to either gene silencing or activation of specific genes are positioned at the nuclear periphery. To gain insight into the mechanisms underlying this sub-compartmentalization, we will address three complementary issues: - What are the mechanisms involved in the establishment and maintenance of silent nuclear compartments? - How and why are some activated genes recruited to the nuclear periphery? - What are the relationships between repressive and activating nuclear compartments? Concerning the maintenance of genome integrity, recent advances in yeast highlight the importance of nuclear architecture. However, how nuclear organization influences the formation and processing of DNA lesions remain poorly understood. We will focus on two main questions: - How and where in the nucleus are double strand breaks recognized, processed, and repaired? - Where do breaks or gaps resulting from replicative stress at 'fragile sites' arise in the nucleus and how does nuclear organization influence their stability? We hope to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms presiding nuclear organization and its importance for genome functions. These mechanisms are likely to be conserved and will be subsequently tested in higher eukaryotic cells.

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