Steven Jacobsen

Steven Jacobsen, PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute



Scientific Interests

Dr. Steven Jacobsen's lab studies epigenetic gene regulation in plants and animals. Their work focuses on modifications of chromatin, including cytosine DNA methylation, histone modifications and the role of non-coding RNAs in gene regulation. About 70% their effort is aimed at using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model genetic system to study how conserved epigenetic modifications function in gene silencing and activation. The other 30% is focused on mouse and human epigenetic regulation.

Current efforts of Jacobsen's lab are aimed at understanding mechanisms of RNA-directed DNA methylation, the action of the conserved MORC proteins in gene silencing processes in plants and animals and antisilencing mechanisms that function to oppose silencing mechanisms. They also have a program focused on targeting various epigenetic modifications using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) systems. The main approaches they use are genetic screens, genomics and bioinformatics, and biochemistry and structural biology.

Highlighted Publications

Pastor WA, Stroud H, Nee K, Liu W, Pezic D, Manakov S, Lee SA, Moissiard G, Zamudio N, Bourc'his D, Aravin AA, Clark AT, Jacobsen SE. MORC1 represses transposable elements in the mouse male germline. Nat Commun. 2014 Dec 12;5:5795. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6795.

Moissiard G, Cokus SJ, Cary J, Feng S, Billi AC, Stroud H, Husmann D, Zhan Y, Lajoie BR, McCord RP, Hale CJ, Feng W, Michaels SD, Frand AR, Pellegrini M, Dekker J, Kim JK, Jacobsen SE. MORC family ATPases required for heterochromatin condensation and gene silencing. Science. 2012 Jun 15;336(6087):1448-51. Epub 2012 May 3

Chodavarapu RK, Feng S, Bernatavichute YV, Chen PY, Stroud H, Yu Y, Hetzel JA, Kuo F, Kim J, Cokus SJ, Casero D, Bernal M, Huijser P, Clark AT, Kramer U, Merchant SS, Zhang X, Jacobsen SE, Pellegrini M. Relationship between nucleosome positioning and DNA methylation. Nature. 2010 Jul 15;466(7304):388-92. Epub 2010 May 30

Jacob Y, Stroud H, Leblanc C, Feng S, Zhuo L, Caro E, Hassel C, Gutierrez C, Michaels SD, Jacobsen SE. Regulation of heterochromatic DNA replication by histone H3 lysine 27 methyltransferases. Nature. 2010 Aug 19;466(7309):987-91. Epub 2010 Jul 14

Law JA, Jacobsen SE. Establishing, maintaining and modifying DNA methylation patterns in plants and animals. Nat Rev Genet. 2010 Mar;11(3):204-20.