UCL Cancer Institute


Cancer Institute Seminar Series - Dr Konstantina Skourti-Stathaki

10 July 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Konstantina Skourti-Stathaki

Dr Konstantina Skourti-Stathaki, University of Edinburgh, presents: 'Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation by R-loops.'

Event Information

Open to



Veronica Dominguez


Courtyard Cafe
UCL Cancer Institute 72 Huntley Street

Hosted by Prof Richard Jenner

The high fidelity of transcriptional programs in each cell type ensures organism development, homeostasis and survival. Notably, the immediate product of protein-coding gene expression, its own nascent pre-mRNA, can also regulate the transcriptional process. Nascent pre-mRNA may hybridise with the DNA template strand, leaving the non-template strand single-stranded. These structures are called R-loops and are a natural outcome of transcription. Even though persistent and uncontrolled formation of R-loops can have potentially deleterious effects on genome integrity and cellular fitness, lately an increasing body of evidence places R-loops as potential regulators of gene expression. We have previously shown that R-loops form over transcription termination regions in mammalian cells to promote efficient termination1 via the RNAi-dependent formation of repressive chromatin marks2. In mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), R-loops form at Polycomb-repressed developmental regulator genes, and by so doing enhance their silenced state3. This talk will discuss work over the last years to understand the function and regulation of R-loops, in the light of identifying new angles to characterize mechanisms that control gene expression and genome integrity.

A light lunch will be served after the seminar. This seminar has been sponsored in part by the Biomedical Research Centre and Cancer Research UK.