It has been a busy first-half of 2022 for Ksenia. From thesis writing to thesis submission, followed by manuscript compilation and submission for review, Ksenia's PhD work is now on bioRxiv!
In her very first first-author manuscript, Ksenia addresses the question of how the transcriptional machinery comes together to form transcription bodies in the nucleus. Taking advantage of two prominent transcription bodies that form in the early zebrafish embryo, Ksenia set out to characterize the dynamics of how these transcription bodies form. Using a combination of genetics and imaging, Ksenia found that these bodies are enriched for initiating and elongating RNA polymerase II. The transcription factors, Nanog and Sox19b, also are enriched in these transcription bodies and cluster in a sequential manner: Nanog clusters first, and this is required for the clustering of Sox19b and the initiation of transcription. Through a series of Nanog mutant analysis, Ksenia discovered that both the DNA-binding domain, as well as one of the two intrinsically disordered regions of Nanog are required to organize the two bodies of transcriptional activity.
For in-depth reading and to grasp how clustering of transcription factors dictates the formation of transcription bodies, check out the manuscript:
Other Vastenhouwies, Martino and Edlyn, also make an appearance in the manuscript. This work was a collaboration with Yuko Sato, Haruka Oda, and Hiroshi Kimura (the Kimura lab at the Tokyo Institue for Technology, Tokyo, Japan thank you for the Fab-ulous Fragmented Antibodies, Fabs) and Manan Lalit and Florian Jug (the Jug lab at the Human Technology, Milan, Italy for imaging analysis support).
Happy faces and moment of relief following paper submission