Research Department „Totipotency"
Totipotency, the developmental potential of a cell to give rise to all cell types and a whole organism, is naturally achieved when differentiated egg and sperm fuse to form the one-cell embryo or zygote. How chromatin is epigenetically reprogrammed to totipotency within hours after fertilization and an embryonic transcription program is initiated remain crucial questions in biology. The department of Kikuë Tachibana is investigating the mechanisms of totipotency reprogramming, spatial chromatin reorganization and zygotic genome activation (ZGA) in mouse embryos. The group uses an interdisciplinary approach combining mechanistic cell biology with genetics, genomics, bioinformatics and biochemistry. An understanding of how cells reprogram chromatin to totipotency, an earlier embryonic state than pluripotency, has the potential to improve induced reprogramming technology and revolutionize regenerative medicine.