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Helmholtz Munich | Stricker Lab

Epigenetic Engineering

We investigate, what determines and protects the identity of the cell types in the body, particularly the brain.

We are concentrating on three important mechanisms in this context:

We investigate, what determines and protects the identity of the cell types in the body, particularly the brain.

We are concentrating on three important mechanisms in this context:

About our Research

The operating principles of Master Transcription Factors

Master transcription factors (Master TFs) play a pivotal role in activating specific cellular programs while simultaneously repressing others. Certain Master TFs, often referred to as 'reprogramming factors,' possess the remarkable ability to transform fully differentiated cells into other cell types. Nevertheless, the mechanisms behind this transformation process remain incompletely understood.
To shed light on this intricate process, we employ both in vitro and in vivo reprogramming strategies, leverage CRISPR methodology, and harness the power of single-cell sequencing technology. Our research aims to uncover the factors that dictate cell identity and delve into the intricate workings of these factors (Hersbach et al., 2022 and ongoing/ unpublished)."

The Functional Relevance of Chromatin Marks

Chromatin represents the macro-molecular structure formed by DNA, proteins, and RNA within eukaryotic cell nuclei.
Variations in its content, topology, and chemical modifications are believed to underlie gene activity and epigenetic regulation.
Nevertheless, the intricate nature of chromatin makes it challenging to pinpoint which specific chromatin features play a
causal role in gene activity.
To address this challenge, we employ cutting-edge epigenome editing technologies based on CRISPR approaches
to directly assess the significance of particular chromatin marks.
Using this approach, we recently demonstrated that DNA methylation on the promoter region of the Master-TF Soxl
controls the rejuvenation potential of aged neural stem cells (Baumann et al., 2019).

The Significance of the Noncoding and Repetitive Genome

The mammalian genome is vast, yet protein-coding genes are relatively scarce. Noncoding, repetitive, and structural transcripts
are much more prevalent. Historically, these transcripts have been somewhat overlooked within the context of cell identity.
However, recent unpublished data suggests that they may play a pivotal role in defining cell identity and plasticity.
To investigate this potential, we employ innovative computational approaches to identify new candidates among these transcripts.
Subsequently, we utilize CRISPR-based epigenome editing techniques to assess their functional relevance.

The operating principles of Master Transcription Factors

Master transcription factors (Master TFs) play a pivotal role in activating specific cellular programs while simultaneously repressing others. Certain Master TFs, often referred to as 'reprogramming factors,' possess the remarkable ability to transform fully differentiated cells into other cell types. Nevertheless, the mechanisms behind this transformation process remain incompletely understood.
To shed light on this intricate process, we employ both in vitro and in vivo reprogramming strategies, leverage CRISPR methodology, and harness the power of single-cell sequencing technology. Our research aims to uncover the factors that dictate cell identity and delve into the intricate workings of these factors (Hersbach et al., 2022 and ongoing/ unpublished)."

The Functional Relevance of Chromatin Marks

Chromatin represents the macro-molecular structure formed by DNA, proteins, and RNA within eukaryotic cell nuclei.
Variations in its content, topology, and chemical modifications are believed to underlie gene activity and epigenetic regulation.
Nevertheless, the intricate nature of chromatin makes it challenging to pinpoint which specific chromatin features play a
causal role in gene activity.
To address this challenge, we employ cutting-edge epigenome editing technologies based on CRISPR approaches
to directly assess the significance of particular chromatin marks.
Using this approach, we recently demonstrated that DNA methylation on the promoter region of the Master-TF Soxl
controls the rejuvenation potential of aged neural stem cells (Baumann et al., 2019).

The Significance of the Noncoding and Repetitive Genome

The mammalian genome is vast, yet protein-coding genes are relatively scarce. Noncoding, repetitive, and structural transcripts
are much more prevalent. Historically, these transcripts have been somewhat overlooked within the context of cell identity.
However, recent unpublished data suggests that they may play a pivotal role in defining cell identity and plasticity.
To investigate this potential, we employ innovative computational approaches to identify new candidates among these transcripts.
Subsequently, we utilize CRISPR-based epigenome editing techniques to assess their functional relevance.

Team Members

Porträt Stefan Stricke

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefan H. Stricker

Head of Group Epigenetic Engineering

N.C.03/ 012

Nadine Fernandez-Novel Marx

Lab Coordinator

N.C.03/ 037

Anna Danese

Post-doc

N.C.03/ 040

Tobias Schmidt

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Deeksha (No Last Name)

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Matilde Iraci

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Maximilian Wiesbeck

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Simon Imhof

HiWi Student

N.C.03/ 040

Luisa Egert

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Sara Jamous

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040

Thi-Tram Truong

PhD Student

N.C.03/ 040