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Naama Barkai, PhD

Naama Barkai, PhD

Grant Status

Weizmann Institute of Science

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
The Contribution of Histone Chaperone to Nucleosome Exchange within Cells

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Biology, Drug Mechanisms and Development

About the Investigator:

Dr. Barkai’s research focuses on revealing general design principles that guide the function and evolution of biochemical circuits in normal and cancer cells. She received her BSc and PhD in Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and carried out postdoctoral research at Princeton University in the U.S. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

About the Research:

Histone chaperones play critical roles in DNA-related processes and genome integrity. Expression of one of these chaperones, FACT, increases in tumor cells, where it correlates with tumor aggressiveness and poor prognosis. Tumor cells are more dependent on FACT than normal cells, and altering FACT levels leads to corresponding changes in oncogene-induced transformation. This makes FACT of interest to cancer research as it may present novel therapeutic potential. The rapid changes that occur in response to FACT regulation have, however, been difficult to study with existing technologies.

Dr. Barkai’s laboratory has recently established a novel approach that overcomes this methodological barrier. In this project, she proposes to use this method to follow the consequences of FACT depletion and replenishment on the dynamic interactions of histones throughout the human genome. FACT function will be linked to specific histone interactions by analyzing appropriate mutants, establishing a link between the structure of FACT and its activities that will reveal the mechanistic basis of its action within cells. The results of this research may benefit future drug development efforts that target this oncogenic factor.


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