Corvalan, Adriana (2014 - 2016)

Adriana is in the Molecular Biology IDP.  She joined the CMB training program in 2014. She received a B.S. degree in 2013 from UC Santa Cruz.

Mentor: Dr. Hilary Coller

Research project:

The Essence of Quiescence: Understanding the roles of the histone modification H4K20me3 and the histone modifying enzyme Suv4-20h2 in cellular quiescence and cancer.

The ability to transition between a proliferative state and quiescence, a resting state outside the cell cycle, is essential for proper development. During the formation of tumors by cancer cells, this ability to correctly exit and re-enter the cell cycle is lost. The shift from the proliferative to quiescent state is associated with changes in gene expression and chromatin landscape. Histone H4K20 is the histone modification that is most differentially methylated in quiescent fibroblasts, with an 8 fold increase of H4K20me3 in quiescent cells. Levels of H4K20me3 are regulated by Suv4-20h2; loss of this enzyme results in decreased chromatin compaction, an increase of cells in S phase, and a defect in entry to quiescence. Understanding the mechanisms through which quiescent cells regulate their chromatin state has implications for proliferative disease, development, and reprogramming. My research focuses on defining the role of Suv4-20h2, H4K20, and chromatin compaction in quiescence and the development of tumors.