Interactions between Polycomb-group proteins and signalling pathwaysPolycomb-group (PcG) proteins mediate transcriptionally repressive epigenetic information and are key regulators of cell fate decisions. Our group is interested in understanding how PcG proteins modulate the epigenome in development and stem cell regulation, with a particular focus on their critical role during mesoderm and endoderm specification. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that PcG proteins may be directly regulated by specific signalling factors, raising the exciting possibility that intracellular signalling pathways can relay growth factor responses to control epigenetic function. We are therefore investigating potential interactions between PcG proteins and intracellular mediators of key signalling pathways. These insights may reveal potential mechanisms through which signalling and other environmental factors could lead to changes in epigenetic regulation of gene expression that govern cell fate decisions.
Generation of the major cell lineages during gastrulation in the embryo and stem cell differentiation depends on interactions between epigenetic and signalling pathways. Our research group uniquely combines small-scale examination of embryo tissues, together with large-scale analysis of stem cells in culture, to understand the mechanisms that regulate cell differentiation. These multiple approaches allow us to maximise the benefits of each cellular system.