Event date:
Feb 3 2023 6:00 pm

Analysis of factors that control transcriptional fidelity and chromatin structure

Nucleosomes are barriers for transcription. To help to alleviate these barriers, a class of factors called histone chaperones modulates histone-DNA interactions. Our work has focused on set of three histone chaperones that are essential for viability and that are conserved from yeast to humans. Our studies, using S. cerevisiae as a model system, have shown that these three factors, Spt6, Spn1, and FACT, are broadly required for the fidelity of transcription and the integrity of chromatin structure. While all three histone chaperones are vital for growth, we have found unexpected connections between their functions that suggest that they interact in a network that is critical for their functions in transcription, as well as other chromatin-templated functions, including DNA replication and genome stability.

Dr Fred Winston is the John Emory Andrus Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is recognized for his work on gene expression in yeast. He is known particularly for his identification and studies of yeast SPT genes, which encode conserved factors that control eukaryotic transcription and chromatin structure. Dr Winston was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. He grew up in Cleveland, graduated from the University of Chicago in 1974 with a degree in biology, and received a doctorate from MIT in 1980. Dr Winston did his PhD with David Botstein and then was a postdoc with Gerry Fink at Cornell and MIT. Dr Winston joined the faculty in the new Department of Genetics at Harvard Med in 1983. Dr Winston was president of the Genetics Society of America in 2009.

Dr Winston's laboratory is interested in the regulation of transcription and chromatin structure. By genetic approaches, they have identified several conserved factors that play critical roles throughout eukaryotes. By genomic approaches, they have shown that these factors globally control the accuracy of transcription initiation and the integrity of chromatin structure. Current research focuses on a class of factors called histone chaperones that control transcription, DNA replication, and genome stability.