Research Summary

The role of SATB proteins in the structure and function of the inactive X

In mammals, males and females have different number of X chromosomes. To equalise this disparity of X linked gene dosage between male and female individuals, a mechanism to inactivate (transcriptionally silence) one of the two copies of X has evolved in females.

This ensures that effectively only 1 copy of the X chromosome is active/cell in both males and females. The inactive X chromosome has very unique chromatin structure. The process of folding the inactive X into a heterochromatin compartment is a very complex yet highly regulated process. My work studies the role of two chromatin reorganising proteins SATB1 and SATB2 in regulating the chromatin compaction of the inactive X chromosome. X chromosome inactivation occurs during embryonic developtment and these proteins are also expressed in a transient manner during the same phase of development where X inactivation is seen to occur. Disruption in the expression of these proteins leads to inefficient X inactivation. The mechanism by which these proteins affect X inactivation is unknown. My work aims to analyse the chromatin structure of the inactive X in presence and absence of these proteins using 4C like techniques to further understand the structure of the inactive X chromosome.