The research focus of the Epigenetics in Metabolism and Aging consists of 3 research lines. The major research interest is to understand how histone variants, an exquisite epigenetic mechanism of regulation of gene expression in mammals, affect cell metabolism, reprogaming and cancer. The EMA studies how large histone variants called macroH2A1.1 and macr
oH2A1.2, splicing isoforms of macroH2A1, function as energy sensors and oncogenes in many cancer types and during induced pluripotent stem cells reprograming. The second line of investigation concerns the study of new-patented senolytics, drugs that kill selectively senescent cells in liver physiology and pathology. A third line of investigation involves the detailed study of the role of a rejuvenating factor, identified through parabiotic screening called Growth Differentiation Factor 11 (GDF11) in nutrient metabolism in mice.
Laboratory equipment for cell sorting, analysis, tissue characterization:
HUVEC-derived iPSC overexpressing macroH2A1.1 isoform display more efficient reprogramming and higher levels of DNA damage repair (DDR). Recent results:
Another line of investigation concerns the role of circulating histones, including macroH2A1 isoforms, as markers of disease. We have recently identified a new circulating histone signature able to discriminate the severity of steatosis in individuals with lean metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD).