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Dr Bernhard Dichtl
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. We
are currently investigating the functional significance of co-translational protein interactions (see
CareerLecturer, Deakin University
Research group leader, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Basel, Switzerland
PhD, EMBL Heidelberg and University of Edinburgh
Key publicationsAcquaviva L§, Székvölgyi L§, Dichtl B¶, Dichtl BS, de La Roche Saint André C¶, Nicolas A¶, Géli V¶, §Equal contribution; ¶corresponding author (2013) The COMPASS subunit Spp1 links histone methylation to initiation of meiotic recombination Science 339, 215-218
Halbach, A., Zhang, H., Wengi, A., Jablonska, Z., Gruber, IM., Halbeisen, RE., Dehe, PM., Kemmeren, P., Holstege, F., Geli, V., Gerber, AP. and Dichtl, B. (2009) Cotranslational assembly of the yeast SET1C histone methyltransferase complex The EMBO Journal 28(19), 2959-2970
Holbein, S., Wengi, A., Decourty, L., Freimoser, FM., Jacquier, A. and Dichtl, B. (2009) Cordycepin interferes with 3' end formation in yeast independently of its potential to terminate RNA chain elongation RNA 15(5), 837-849
Dichtl, B., Aasland, R. and Keller, W. (2004) Functions for S. cerevisiae Swd2 in 3' end formation of specific mRNAs and snoRNAs and global histone 3 lysine 4 methylation RNA 10(6), 965-977
Dichtl, B., Blank, D., Sadowski, M., Hubner, W., Weiser, S. and Keller, W. (2002) A role for SSU72 in balancing RNA polymerase II transcription elongation and termination Molecular Cell 10(5), 1139-1150
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Professional activitiesMember Faculty of 1000
Member of the RNA Society
Member of Swiss Society for Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics
Reviewer for grant agencies
Ad Hoc reviewer for various journals
Postdoctoral fellowsNameProject title
Dr Beatriz DichtlRegulation and assembly of the Set1C histone methyltransferase
Honours studentsStudent nameThesis title Amelia SummersThe role of hClp1 in pre-mRNA 3-end formation and alternative polyadenylation