Drs. David Allis and Brian Strahl formally proposed the ‘histone code’ about 14 years ago. At that time, Dr. Strahl was a postdoctoral fellow in David Allis' lab. This hypothesis aimed to explain how distinct histone modifications could regulate epigenetic inheritance, gene expression and the control of cell growth and differentiation. However, limited experimental support exists for this hypothesis, and to date, it is unclear whether the binding of DNA-associated proteins to combinatorially-modified histones is a universal phenomenon of these regulators or is restricted to a subset of histone-binding proteins.
The Strahl lab is currently investigating how these DNA-associated proteins bind to histone modifications to regulate cellular function. Together with his colleagues, his lab has been deciphering the extent to which a histone code regulates chromatin structure and function using high-density histone peptide microarrays. His recent work has uncovered the combinatorial engagement of UHRF1 to histone H3, which governs the epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation. Learn more: Strahl Lab.
(Click on picture to go to the video, Drs. Allis and Strahl are at 1:45min.)