Sleep biology: monoallelic expression, genetic noise and the development of a novel CRISPR-based epigenetic writer

by Dr. Valter Tucci (Genetics and Epigenetics of Behavior (GEB) Laboratory, Italian Institute of Technology – IIT, Genoa)

When: October 19, 2023, at 3:00 pm

Where: Sala Seminari VIMM (Building A, Ground Floor, Via Orus 2, Padova)

Genomic imprinting, a widely recognized phenomenon in epigenetics, leads to the transcriptional silencing of either maternally or paternally inherited alleles. Our research proposes the hypothesis that imprinting has played a crucial role in shaping the evolutionary dynamics of mammalian sleep.
Within our laboratory, we explore this phenomenon at various levels, utilizing in vitro 2D and 3D models, as well as in vivo EEG and behavioural assessments. Furthermore, we have recently embraced a comparative paleogenomics approach, which has provided insights into trade-offs resulting from historical positive selections. In particular, we identified a protein-coding gene within the locus responsible for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) that impact on circadian regulation and lipid accumulation. Incidentally, we have developed an innovative CRISPR-based technology designed to provide an accessible control of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, enabling us to modify gene expression without altering DNA sequences, and holds promise for enhancing current therapeutic strategies.