I am very interested in understanding biological problems on a mechanistic level. During my graduate work, I worked on questions centered around protein quality control and how cells have evolved to handle protein aggregation upon severe stress conditions. One aspect of this research was to understand how ageing influences the clearance of damaged proteins. For my postdoc, I moved away from protein quality control to the regulation of gene expression by chromatin. During my time in Tony Kouzarides’ lab, I discovered the first histone modification dedicated to only one polymerase, RNA polymerase I. In 2014, I set up my own group in Cologne and combined interests from my graduate and postdoctoral work to address how age-related changes in chromatin architecture impact on the regulation of gene expression.

Education and positions held

  • 2014 – present
    • Max Planck Research Group Leader at MPI for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany
  • 2009 – 2014
    • Postdoc with Tony Kouzarides, Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2003 – 2008
    • Graduate student with Bernd Bukau, ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Germany”

Research Summary

Our research aims at understanding mechanistically how ageing-dependent alterations in chromatin architecture impacts the regulation of gene expression. One important aspect that we are fascinated about is the tight connection between central metabolism and the chromatin landscape – and how these two pathways influence each other upon ageing onset. We address these questions using a combination of biochemistry, cell biology and next generation sequencing technologies either directly in tissues or in primary culture systems.

Key publications

  • Pouikli A, Parekh S, Maleszewska M, Baghdadi M, Tripodi I, Nikopoulou C, Folz-Donahue K, Hinze Y, Mesaros A, Giavalisco P, Dowell R, Partridge L and Tessarz P (2020). Deregulated mito-nuclear communication alters chromatin plasticity and differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells upon ageing. bioRxiv. doi: 2020.04.02.022293
  • Mylonas C and Tessarz P (2019): NET-prism enables RNA polymerase-dedicated transcriptional interrogation at nucleotide resolution. RNA Biol. 16 (9): 1156-65
  • Mylonas C and Tessarz P (2018): Transcriptional repression by FACT is linked to regulation of chromatin accessibility at the promoter of ES cells. Life Science Alliance 1 (3): e201800085
  • Tessarz P and Kouzarides T (2014). Histone core modifications regulating nucleosome structure and dynamics. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol (11); 703-8
  • Tessarz P, Santos-Rosa H, Robson S, Nelson C, Nielsen ML and Kouzarides T (2014). Glutamine methylation on histone H2A is an RNA Polymerase I dedicated modification. Nature 505 (7484): 564-8