Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

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Linda Barthel of the Raymond Lab.
Members of the Chapman Lab.
Michael O'Connor of the Chapman Lab.
Members of the Jakob Lab.

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The Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology strives to develop new knowledge through basic research about the function of living organisms with focus on the molecular and cellular levels of all branches of life - bacteria, plants, and animals. Our faculty research strengths are animal physiology and neurobiology, biochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology and plant molecular biology. We are home to the undergraduate concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology that graduates nearly 200 students per year. Our General Public and Pre-College Students section offers answers to questions about biology. We hope you find our site informative!
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MCDB News
Undergraduates
and their faculty adviser, Ray Barbehenn, helped explain an observation that had puzzled insect ecologists who study gypsy moth caterpillars. Read more.

MCDB News
Elaina Breznau,
a graduate student in the Miller Lab, was recently awarded a Journal of Cell Science Travelling Fellowship. Read more.

MCDB News
Lilia Popova,
a member of the Schiefelbein Lab, has been selected as a 2013 Intel Science Talent Search Finalist. Read more.

MCDB News
MCDB Professors
James Bardwell, Jianming Li, and Eran Pichersky have been named American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows. Read more.

MCDB News
Adnan Syed,
a PhD student in the Boles Lab, was recently awarded an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Read more.

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Professor Emeritus
Sally Allen
passed away November 13, 2012 at age 86 after a brief illness. Sally was professor of biology for over 30 years and was a tireless and dedicated researcher and lecturer. Read more.

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A SWI/SNF nucleosome remodeling complex acts in non-coding RNA-mediated transcriptional silencing
Molecular Cell 49: 298-309
Yongyou Zhu, M. Jordan Rowley, Gudrun Bömdorfer, Andrzej T. Wierzbicki

RNA-mediated transcriptional silencing prevents deleterious effects of transposon activity and controls the expression of protein-coding genes. It involves long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). In Arabidopsis thaliana some of those lncRNAs are produced by a specialized RNA Polymerase V (Pol V). The mechanism by which lncRNAs affect chromatin structure and mRNA production remains mostly unknown. Here we identify the SWI/SNF ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeling complex as a component of the RNA-mediated transcriptional silencing pathway. We found that SWI3B, an essential subunit of the SWI/SNF complex, physically interacts with a lncRNA-binding protein, IDN2. SWI/SNF subunits contribute to lncRNA-mediated transcriptional silencing. Moreover, Pol V mediates stabilization of nucleosomes on silenced regions. We propose that Pol V-produced lncRNAs mediate transcriptional silencing by guiding the SWI/SNF complex and establishing positioned nucleosomes on specific genomic loci. We further propose that guiding ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes may be a more general function of lncRNAs. Read this Publication Read All Featured Publications
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