SulfoMet: Unravelling biological roles of epigenetic DNA methylation in the model archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius

Project Details


Methylation of genomic DNA is a universal epigenetic mechanism
that governs phenotypic diversity, developmental processes and
stress response. In contrast to eukaryotes and bacteria, very little is
known about the biological roles of DNA methylation in archaea,
which constitute a distinct phylogenetic group. In the
thermoacidophilic model archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, the
widespread occurrence of 6-mA and 4-mC, and to a smaller extent 5-
mC, has been shown for different motifs throughout the genome.
Nevertheless, the methyltransferase enzymes responsible for these
methylations, as well as the molecular and physiological effects are
largely unknown. In this research project, we aim to unravel the
biological functions of DNA methylation in S. acidocaldarius by
investigating the research hypothesis that methylation patterns are
connected to higher-order chromosome architecture and
transcriptional activity, which in turn is linked to the physiological
state of the cell. A multidisciplinary research methodology will be
followed to test this hypothesis by integrating a multi-omic approach
with classical genetic/biochemical and bioinformatic research
methodologies. This project will not only generate new insights into
the intricate DNA methylation network in S. acidocaldarius, but will
also advance the understanding of how evolutionary ancient DNA
methylation mechanisms might have preceded epigenetic
mechanisms in the eukaryotic cell
Effective start/end date1/01/2331/12/26


  • Methylome
  • archaea
  • Sulfolobus

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Genome structure and regulation
  • Microbiology not elsewhere classified
  • Proteins
  • Epigenomics
  • Transcription and translation


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