In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Geneviève Almouzni, Ph.D., Research Director at the CNRS at Institut Curie in Paris, to talk about her work on the regulation of chromatin organization by histone chaperones.

Geneviève Almouzni got her Ph.D. from Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie in 1988 under the supervision of Marcel Méchali. She then moved to the United States to work as a postdoc in the National Institutes of Health in the laboratory of Professor Alan Wolffe. In 1994, she returned to Paris and became a Junior Group Leader at Institut Curie and became a Group Leader there in 2000. In 2013, she took over the direction of research at the Institut Curie and became the third woman to hold this position, after Marie Curie and Irène Joliot-Curie.

Geneviève Almouzni’s research focuses on the assembly of chromatin and the identification of histone chaperones. Histone chaperones are necessary for the establishment and maintenance of chromatin, as they help to assemble the nucleosomes out of the core histones and DNA. This occurs both when the polymerase transcribes through a nucleosome and after DNA replication and repair.

The Almouzni group has identified and characterized multiple histone chaperones, including CAF-1, HirA, and HJURP. Furthermore, they investigated how post-translational modifications on soluble histones influence the final epigenetic state of the nucleosome and the reassembly of chromatin after DNA replication. In the last couple of years, the group has focused on the unraveling the link between the structure of chromatin at centromeres and cancer.

In this interview, we discuss the focus of the Almouzni lab on histone chaperones, how the lab was able to identify its first one with CAF-1, how histone PTMs on soluble histones influence the deposition on the DNA, and how the chromatin on centromeres is involved in cancer.

 

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