Section on Human Genetics
Bruce Howard, Section Head
The primary goal of this section is to increase understanding of normal growth control mechanisms, and of "disorders" in growth control that are manifested as cellular immortalization, transformation, or in vitro replicative senescence (with senescence considered to be a model of aging). Within this framework, emphasis is placed on differentiation-like pathways in which remodeling of higher order chromatin structures is likely to play a role. Recently discovered histone acetyltransferases, including PCAF and the tumor suppressor/transcriptional co-activators p300/CBP, are being studied, along with several histone deacetylases. Priority is given to the investigation of epigenetically inherited repressive chromatin domains, in particular the fidelity with which these domains are maintained, and the extent to which they may serve as critical structures that define the differentiation state and/or proliferation potential of the cell.