Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars
Luciano Di Croce
Epigenetic Events in Cancer Group, Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer Programme, CRG
Polycomb group of proteins are transcriptional repressors and play essential roles in regulating genes required for differentiation and embryonic development. Moreover, alteration in the expression of Polycomb group proteins have long been linked to the occurrence of different types of human diseases. Mechanistically, Polycomb proteins form at least two distinct complexes: the Polycomb-repressive complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1 and PRC2). It is especially critical for stem cells that their potential to self-renewal and to differentiate is tightly controlled and properly orchestrated. Misregulation of the levels of Polycomb protein often leads to either a block or an unscheduled activation of developmental pathways, and thus to an alteration in the cell cycle control. The consequences of this misregulation have been linked to the establishment of cancer stem cells, which can produce tumours through the combination of an increase in self-renewal with a lack of complete cellular differentiation. I will discuss how Polycomb proteins impact on cancer, and their role in stem cell biology.
Luciano Di Croce obtained his PhD from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. In 1996 he moved to Marburg (Germany) as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Miguel Beato where he became interested in understanding the link between transcription and chromatin structure. After a second postdoctoral stage at the European Institute for Oncology (IEO) in Milan with Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, he established his laboratory at CRG in 2003, as an ICREA Professor. Since its formation, Di Croce’s group has focused its research efforts on understanding how epigenetic modifications and chromatin changes are established and, once in place, how they affect gene expression, cell differentiation and transformation. Leukaemia is the primary cancer model system studied in their lab, and they use either mouse models that recapitulate human leukaemia or primary samples from human leukemic patients to investigate the links between epigenetic alterations and the leukemogenesis processes. More recently, Di Croce lab is interested in understanding how variations in the assembly of the Polycomb complexes occur and influence mES cell differentiation and animal development.
The next Group Leader Seminar will be:
Toni Gabaldon, May 10