The nucleosome is a dynamic epigenetic signaling hub for genome-templated processes. We use high-resolution structural biology, protein chemistry, and proteomics to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern epigenetic signaling in health and disease.
Determining the structural basis of histone modification cross-talk
By pairing atomic precision protein chemistry to build designer modified nucleosomes and high resolution structural biology, we aim to understand how signatures of epigenetic marks are established and how these signatures control recruitment of chromatin effectors that regulate gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair. Single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and macromolecular X-ray crystallography allow us to visualize epigenetic enzymes in action on nucleosome substrates to uncover molecular mechanisms of signal integration on chromatin.
Establishing paradigms of nucleosome recognition
Despite decades of research, we still lack a fundamental understanding of how most epigenetic enzymes function in a chromatin environment. We are using proteomics to define patterns of nucleosome recognition with the goal of establishing a universal framework for nucleosome binding.
Creating tools to enable epigenetics research
We also are developing new tools to probe epigenetic signaling both in vitro and in model systems. Such tools will allow precise hypothesis-driven interrogation of epigenetic signaling networks.
09-10-2020 | Check out Cathy’s new structure of cGAS-nucleosome complex in collaboration with Qi Zhang’s lab also at UNC — out today in Science. The structure shows how nuclear cGAS is inactivated by acidic patch binding.
09-01-2020 | Welcome to our new postdoc Ken!
08-01-2020 | Cathy awarded NCI F99/K00 transitional fellowship!
07-15-2020 | Aleksandra gives seminar in the Fragile Nucleosome Seminar Series. Check it out!
07-07-2020 | Aleksandra’s nucleosome interactome screen featured as Breakthrough Article in Nucleic Acids Research. Congrats!
06-15-2020 | We welcome Holly as a new technician!
05-10-2020 | Carinne (B.S. Chemistry UNC) is our first graduate! Congratulations Carinne!
04-02-2020 | Our newest graduate student, Yani, joins the lab!
10-30-2019 | Happy Halloween from the McGinty lab
10-11-2019 | Cathy wins short presentation award at Biochemistry retreat!
04-06-2019 | Cathy and Yuka run a booth for the NC Science Expo about protein structure.
02-12-2019 | Congrats to Cathy on cryo-EM structure of Dot1L in complex with a H2BK120ub nucleosome published in Cell Reports!
01-24-2019 | Aleksandra awarded prestigious American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship. Congrats!