02/04/2014 - 12:00 - Auditori PRBB

Parallel approaches to unveil Polycomb functions from stem cells to cancer

Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars

Luciano Di Croce

Epigenetic Events in Cancer Group, Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer Programme, CRG

The 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 tumors 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 at the Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Rome. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Marburg. Afterwards he became Senior Investigator at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. In 2003 he joined the CRG as a an ICREA Professor. Research in his lab focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of gene regulation and the importance of epigenetic marks in chromatin dynamics, with particular emphasis on stem cells and cancer.