UCL Cancer Institute


Cancer Institute Seminar Series - Prof Shaun Cowley

21 November 2019, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Shaun Cowley

Professor Shaun Cowley, Leicester University, presents: 'Histone Deacetylases (HDACs) regulate expression of the pluripotent gene network via recruitment of RNA polymerase II.'

Event Information

Open to



Veronica Dominguez


Courtyard Cafe
UCL Cancer Institute 72 Huntley Street

Hosted by: Prof Richard Jenner

Histone acetylation is a dynamic modification regulated by the opposing actions of histone acetyltransferases and histone deacetylases (HDACs). Deacetylation of histone tails results in chromatin tightening and therefore HDACs are generally regarded as transcriptional repressors. Counterintuitively, simultaneous deletion of Hdac1 and Hdac2 in embryonic stem cells (ESC) reduced expression of pluripotent transcription factors, Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog (OSN). Using inhibitors of HDACs and BRD4 (LBH589 and JQ1 respectively) in combination with precision nuclear run-on and sequencing (PRO-seq) to examine their roles in defining the ESC transcriptome, we have found that HDAC activity is required to maintain pluripotency by regulating the OSN enhancer network via recruitment of RNA polymerase II.

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