The Dean lab research is focused on gene regulation and the intersection of chromatin, transcription and non-coding RNAs.
The goal is to understand the chromatin dynamics that enable switching between epigenetic states and quantitative regulation of gene expression. This mechanistic analysis is focused on one gene encoding the floral repressor FLC. Epigenetic switching and quantitative regulation of FLC play a central role in seasonal timing in plants.
FLC regulation involves an antisense-mediated chromatin mechanism that coordinately influences transcription initiation and elongation. As plants overwinter FLC expression is then epigenetically silenced through a cold-induced, cis-based, Polycomb switching mechanism. The group are mechanistically dissecting these conserved chromatin mechanisms and investigating how they have been modulated during adaptation.
The Dean lab interact very closely with the Professor Martin Howard lab in Computational and Systems Biology and combine mathematical modelling and experimentation to fully dissect complex mechanisms with many feedback controls.
They also work with colleagues at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge to achieve a structural understanding of epigenetic switching mechanisms.
Research areas of the Dean lab
Yang H., Berry S., Olsson T. S. G., Hartley M., Howard M., Dean C. (2017)Distinct phases of Polycomb silencing to hold epigenetic memory of cold inArabidopsis.Science (357)Publisher's version: 10.1126/science.aan1121
Rosa S., Duncan S., Dean C. (2016)Mutually exclusive sense–antisense transcription at FLC facilitates environmentally induced gene repressionNature Communications (7)Publisher's version: 10.1038/ncomms13031
Wu Z., Ietswaart R., Liu F., Yang H., Howard M., Dean C. (2016)Quantitative regulation of FLC via coordinated transcriptional initiation and elongation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (113)Publisher's version: 10.1073/pnas.1518369112
Postdoctoral Scientists interested in joining the lab are encouraged to send their CV to the Dean lab.