Our research lies at the crossroad of genetics, molecular biology and biophysics. We study the architecture of eukaryotic chromatin focusing on molecular mechanisms that drive DNA recombination events. Using various approaches (e.g. ChIP-Seq, FRET, FRAP) we address central problems of genome instability as (i) chromosomal R-loops – RNA-DNA hybrids – that form under physiological and pathological conditions, (ii) developmentally programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) associated to the initiation of meiotic recombination, (iii) histone modifications and histone gene mutations driving human disease. Most recently we target various histone modifying enzymes and recombinosome proteins to predefined chromosomal loci to induce meiotic recombination.
Figure 2. In vivo targeting of the histone lysine methyltransferase (COMPASS) subunit Spp1. The GAL4BD-Spp1 fusion protein initiates meiotic recoombination – via Spo11-induced DSBs – within a recombinationally cold region. In collaboration with Alain Nicolas (Institut Curie, Paris, France) and Vincent Géli (CRCM, Marseille, France).