Disteche, Christine

Faculty Profile

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[field_fname-formatted] [field_lname-formatted]
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Office Location: 

C526 HSB

Office Phone: 
(206) 543-0716

Research Summary: 

The focus of the Disteche lab is the study of the structure and regulation of the mammalian sex chromosomes. Males have one X and a Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes. This has resulted in the evolution of mechanisms of dosage compensation. The best known form of regulation of the X chromosome is X inactivation, which silences one X chromosome in females. Another form of dosage compensation, which we discovered, consists in a doubling of transcriptional output from the single active X to equalize expression with the autosomes present in two copies. Our studies are relevant to the understanding of birth defects and cancer caused by dosage imbalance due to deletions, duplications or trisomy.

Mechanisms of dosage compensation are based on epigenetic modifications that take place during embryonic development. We have developed unique resources to determine the allele-specific expression of genes and investigate their chromatin organization. Our laboratory has discovered multiple genes that escape X inactivation and are thus more highly expressed in females. Our current goals are to understand the impact of these genes on sex differences in mouse and human. We are also using novel approaches to determine the 3D structure of chromosomes and recently reported the unique configuartion of the inactive X chromosome. Specific long non-coding RNAs were found to represent important elements in the configuration of the chromosome and in its location within the nucleus. 

Short Research Description: 
regulation of the mammalian sex chromosomes
Areas of Interest: 
Developmental Biology, Stem Cells & Aging
Gene Expression, Cell Cycle & Chromosome Biology
Genetics, Genomics & Evolution
<p> developmental genetics, embryogenesis, gene expression, genetics, mouse development, developmental biology, gene, gene expression, gene mapping, gene regulation, genetic diseases, genetics, genome, chromosome structure, X inactivation, sex chromosomes, X chromosome, Y chromosome, epigenetic regulation, nuclear structure</p>

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