Epigenetic control of gene expression and genome stability

Epigenetics and Chromatin Biology

In multicellular organisms, every cell contains nearly identical genetic information. However, there is an amazing diversity of cell types that perform varieties of functions. Cellular identity and differentiation are therefore not determined by the DNA sequence itself but by the expression of selected genomic regions in time and space. At the molecular level, these transcriptional programs are controlled by so-called epigenetic processes guiding each single cell towards its own fate. Failures in epigenetic pathways are often at the heart of human diseases such as cancer. Furthermore, reprogramming the genome using epigenetic tools is rapidly emerging as a powerful approach to improve human health or plant fitness. The research in the Bischof lab aims at understanding the role of the epigenome on a cell’s behavior, ultimately paving the way for improving both human health and agriculture.

Recent Publications

  • MTHFD1 controls DNA methylation in Arabidopsis
    Groth M, Moissiard G, Wirtz M, Wang H, Garcia-Salinas C, Ramos-Parra PA, Bischof S, Feng S, Cokus SJ, John A, Smith DC, Zhai J, Hale CJ, Long JA, Hell R, Díaz de la Garza RI, and Jacobsen SE
    Nature Communications 2016 Jun 13;7:11640. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11640
  • The starch granule-associated protein EARLY STARVATION1 (ESV1) is required for the control of starch degradation in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves.
    Feike D, Seung D, Graf A, Bischof S, Ellick T, Coiro M, Soyk S, Eicke S, Mettler-Altmann T, Lu KJ, Trick M, Zeeman SC, Smith AM (2016)
    Plant Cell. 2016 Jun;28(6):1472-89. doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00011. Epub 2016 May 20.
  • A one precursor one siRNA model for Pol IV-dependent siRNA biogenesis.
    Zhai J*, Bischof S*, Lee T-F, Teng C, Wang H, Chen X, Feng S, Gallego-Bartolome J, Park SY, Liu L, Liu W, Henderson IR, Meyers BC, Ausin I and Jacobsen SE (2015)
    Cell 2015 Oct 8;163(2):445-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.032.
  • SRA- and SET-domain-containing proteins link RNA polymerase V occupancy to DNA methylation.
    Johnson LM, Du J, Hale CJ, Bischof S, Feng S, Chodavarapu RK, Zhong X, Marson G, Pellegrini M, Segal DJ, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. (2014)
    Nature. 507(7490):124-8. (PubMed)
  • Transcriptional gene silencing by Arabidopsis microrchidia homologues involves the formation of heteromers.
    Moissiard G*, Bischof S*, Husmann D, Pastor WA, Hale CJ, Yen L, Stroud H, Papikian A, Vashisht AA, Wohlschlegel JA, Jacobsen SE. (2014)
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111(20):7474-9. 153. * equal first authors (PubMed)
  • Cecropia peltata accumulates starch or soluble glycogen by differentially regulating starch biosynthetic genes.
    Bischof S*, Umhang M*, Eicke S, Streb S, Qi W, Zeeman SC. (2013)
    Plant Cell. 25(4):1400-153. * equal first authors (PubMed)
  • The proteome landscape of Giardia lamblia encystation.
    Faso C*, Bischof S*, Hehl AB. (2013)
    PLoS One. 8(12):e83207. * equal first authors (PubMed)
  • The heteromultimeric debranching enzyme involved in starch synthesis in Arabidopsis requires both isoamylase1 and isoamylase2 subunits for complex stability and activity.
    Sundberg M, Pfister B, Fulton D, Bischof S, Delatte T, Eicke S, Stettler M, Smith SM, Streb S, Zeeman SC. (2013)
    PLoS One. 8(9):e75223. (PubMed)
  • Arabidopsis MSI1 connects LHP1 to PRC2 complexes.
    Derkacheva M, Steinbach Y, Wildhaber T, Mozgová I, Mahrez W, Nanni P, Bischof S, Gruissem W, Hennig L. (2013)
    EMBO J. 32(14):2073-85. (PubMed)
Sylvain Bischof UZH

Prof. Sylvain Bischof
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
University of Zurich
8008 Zurich

+41 (0)44 63 48287

Research topics

  • Epigenetics
  • Chromatin Remodeling
  • Genome Stability


  • 3D-omics
  • Chromatin and transcriptome dynamics during sexual plant reproduction
  • Genetic and epigenetic control of plant reproduction
  • Genomics and bioinformatics in plants and fungi
  • Methylome dynamics during Arabidopsis reproduction