Dr Bernhard Dichtl



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env. Sciences


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, 1998
GCHE Exempt, Deakin University, 2011


Biography summary

Dr Dichtl’s did his PhD studies at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland working on the molecular toxicity of lithium and the processing of ribosomal RNA and transfer RNA precursors. Supported by an EMBO long-term fellowship he then took up post-doctoral work at the Biocenter, in Basel Switzerland where he studied the mechanisms of pre-mRNA polyadenylation and transcription termination. A highly competitive and prestigious Foerderprofessur grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) allowed him to establish his own research group at the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Switzerland. There, he expanded his research activities to the analyses of chromatin modifying enzymes and the assembly of multi-protein complexes. Dr Dichtl’s laboratory relocated to Deakin University at the end of 2010. In 2014 he won an ARC Discovery Project grant to study the mechanisms of protein complex formation.

Research interests

1) The role and regulation of alternative polyadenylation in health and disease.

Pre-mRNA 3’ end formation is an essential RNA maturation step that impacts on virtually all aspects of mRNA function. The process adds a tail of approximately 250 adenosines to the 3’ end of mRNA and determines the length of the 3’ Un-Translated Region (3’UTR), which is targeted by a large number of regulatory factors. Control of 3’UTR length via alternative Polyadenylation (APA) is an important mechanism to control gene expression. We are interested in the regulation of APA and how it is integrated with cellular signaling pathways.

2) The function and regulation of the Set1C histone methyltransferase.
Histone modifying enzymes regulate diverse processes that occur in association with chromatin. We performed extensive yeast two-hybrid screening in order to identify novel cellular roles for the Set1C chromatin-modifying enzyme. This resulted in a recent publication in Science (Acquaviva et al., 2013), where we identified the molecular mechanisms, which link chromatin modification of histone H3 lysine 4 to the formation of double strand DNA breaks, to initiate the process of meiotic recombination.

3) Co-translational protein complex formation.
Multi-protein complexes constitute some of the most relevant molecular units of cellular function. Despite their important role it remains mysterious how eukaryotic cells manage to assemble with precision hundreds of different complexes in the crowded cytoplasmic compartment that produces thousands of nascent proteins at the same time. Recently published work from our laboratory demonstrated that assembly of protein complexes can be initiated on nascent proteins as they emerge from the ribosome (Halbach et al, 2009). We are currently investigating the functional significance of co-translational protein interactions.

Units taught

SLE212 Biochemistry (Campus Coordinator)

SLE222 Biochemical Metabolism (Unit chair)


Several exiting Honours projects as well as SLE314 Research projects are available in my lab! Please write me an email if you would like to have a chat about those projects!


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The COMPASS subunit Spp1 links histone methylation to initiation of meiotic recombination

Laurent Acquaviva, Lorant Szekvolgyi, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Dr Beatriz Dichtl, Christophe de la roche Saint Andre, Alain Nicolas, Vincent Geli

(2013), Vol. 339, pp. 215-218, Science, Washington, D.C., C1


Polyglutamine tracts as modulators of transcriptional activation from yeast to mammals

Lilit Atanesyan, Viola Gunther, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Oleg Georgiev, Walter Schaffner

(2012), Vol. 393, pp. 63-70, Biological chemistry, Berlin, Germany, C1-1


The P-Loop domain of yeast Clp1 mediates interactions between CF IA and CPF factors in Pre-mRNA 3′ end formation

Sandra Holbein, Simonetta Scola, Bernhard Loll, Dr Beatriz Dichtl, Wolfgang Hubner, Anton Meinhart, Dr Bernhard Dichtl

(2011), Vol. 6, pp. 1-10, PLoS One, San Francisco, Calif, C1-1


RiboSys, a high-resolution, quantitative approach to measure the in vivo kinetics of pre-mRNA splicing and 3'-end processing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Ross D. Alexander, J. David Barrass, Dr Beatriz Dichtl, Martin Kos, Tomasz Obtulowicz, Marie-Cecile Robert, Michal Koper, Iwona Karkusiewicz, Luisa Mariconti, David Tollervey, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Joanna Kufel, Edouard Bertrand, Jean D. Beggs

(2010), Vol. 16, pp. 2570-2580, RNA, Woodbury, N.Y., C1-1


Coupled RNA polymerase II transcription and 3′ end formation with yeast whole-cell extracts

Luisa Mariconti, Bernhard Loll, Karola Schlinkmann, Agnieszka Wengi, Anton Meinhart, Dr Bernhard Dichtl

(2010), Vol. 16, pp. 2205-2217, RNA, Woodbury, N.Y., C1-1


Cordycepin interferes with 3' end formation in yeast independently of its potential to terminate RNA chain elongation

Sandra Holbein, Agnieszka Wengi, Laurence Decourty, Florian M. Freimoser, Alain Jacquier, Dr Bernhard Dichtl

(2009), Vol. 15, pp. 837-849, RNA, Woodbury, N.Y., C1-1


Cotranslational assembly of the yeast SET1C histone methyltransferase complex

Andre Halbach, Haidi Zhang, Agnieszka Wengi, Zofia Jablonska, Isabel M. Gruber., Regula E. Halbeisen, Pierre-Marie Dehe, Patrick Kemmeren, Frank Holstege, Vincent Geli, Andre P. Gerber, Dr Bernhard Dichtl

(2009), Vol. 28, pp. 2959-2970, Embo Journal, London, England, C1-1


The role of the putative 3′ end processing endonuclease Ysh1p in mRNA and snoRNA synthesis

Monika Garas, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Walter Keller

(2008), Vol. 14, pp. 2671-2684, RNA, Woodbury, N.Y., C1-1


Cordycepin-hypersensitive growth links elevated polyphosphate levels to inhibition of poly(A) polymerase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Sandra Holbein, Florian M. Freimoser, Thomas P. Werner, Agnieszka Wengi, Dr Bernhard Dichtl

(2008), Vol. 36, pp. 353-363, Nucleic acids research, Oxfird, England, C1-1


Protein interactions within the SET1 complex and their roles in the regulation of histone 3 lysine 4 methylation

Pierre-Marie Dehe, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Daniel Schaft, Assen Roguev, Merce Pamblanco, Regine Lebrun, Alfonso Rodriguez-Gil, Msau Mkandawire, Katarina Landsberg, Anna Shevchenko, Andrej Shevchenko, Lorena E. Rosaleny, Vicente Tordera, Sebastian Chavez, Vincent Geli

(2006), Vol. 281, pp. 35404-35412, Journal of biological chemistry, Baltimore, Md, C1-1


Coupling between snoRNP assembly and 3' processing controls box C/D snoRNA biosynthesis in yeast

Mariangela Morlando, Monica Ballarino, Paolo Greco, Elisa Caffarelli, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Irene Bozzoni

(2004), Vol. 23, pp. 2392-2401, EMBO journal, London, England, C1-1


Functions for S. cerevisiae Swd2p in 3' end formation of specific mRNAs and snoRNAs and global histone 3 lysine 4 methylation

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Rein Aasland, Walter Keller

(2004), Vol. 10, pp. 965-977, RNA, Woodbury, N. Y., C1-1


Independent functions of yeast Pcf11p in pre-mRNA 3´ end processing and in transcription termination

Martin Sadowski, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Wolfgang Hubner, Walter Keller

(2003), Vol. 22, pp. 2167-2177, EMBO journal, London, England, C1-1


The role of the yeast cleavage and polyadenylation factor subunit Ydh1p/Cft2p in pre-mRNA 3' end formation

Andrea Kyburz, Martin Sadowski, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Walter Keller

(2003), Vol. 31, pp. 3936-3945, Nucleic acids research, Oxford, England, C1-1


Functional analysis of yeast snoRNA and snRNA 3' end formation mediated by uncoupling of cleavage and polyadenylation

Mariangela Morlando, Paolo Greco, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Alessandro Fatica, Walter Keller, Irene Bozzoni

(2002), Vol. 22, pp. 1379-1389, Molecular and cellular biology, Washington, D. C., C1-1


A role for SSU72 in balancing RNA polymerase II transcription elongation and termination

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Diana Blank, Martin Ohnacker, Arno Friedlein, Daniel Roeder, Hanno Langen, Walter Keller

(2002), Vol. 10, pp. 1139-1150, Molecular cell, Cambridge, Mass., C1-1


Yhh1p/Cft1p directly links poly(A) site recognition and RNA polymerase II transcription termination

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Diana Blank, Martin Sadowski, Wolfgang Hubner, Stefan Weiser, Walter Keller

(2002), Vol. 21, pp. 4125-4135, EMBO journal, London, C1-1


Recognition of polyadenylation sites in yeast pre-mRNAs by cleavage and polyadenylation factor

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Walter Keller

(2001), Vol. 20, pp. 3197-3209, EMBO journal, London, England, C1-1


Yeast Rnt1p is required for cleavage of the pre-ribosomal RNA in the 3' ETS but not the 5' ETS

Joanna Kufel, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, David Tollervey

(1999), Vol. 5, pp. 909-917, RNA, Woodbury, N. Y., C1-1


Lithium toxicity in yeast is due to the inhibition of RNA processing enzymes

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Audrey Stevens, David Tollervey

(1997), Vol. 16, pp. 7184-7195, EMBO journal, London, England, C1-1


Pop3p is essential for the activity of the RNase MRP and RNase P ribonucleoproteins in vivo

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, David Tollervey

(1997), Vol. 16, pp. 417-429, EMBO journal, London, England, C1-1


Properties of an in vitro selected Pb2+ cleavage motif

Tao Pan, Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Olke C. Uhlenbeck

(1994), Vol. 33, pp. 9561-9565, Biochemistry, Washington, D. C., C1-1


Replacement of RNA hairpins by in vitro selected tetranucleotides

Dr Bernhard Dichtl, Tao Pan, Anthony B. di Renzo, Olke C. Uhlenbeck

(1993), Vol. 21, pp. 531-535, Nucleic acids research, Oxford, England, C1-1