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Mary Bryk

Bryk, Mary
Mary Bryk
Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
BioBio / Room 334A
Undergraduate Education
B.Sc. Cornell University (1985)
Graduate Education
M.S. Albany Medical College (1991)
Ph.D. Albany Medical College (1994)
Postdoc. Wadsworth Center, Albany (1995-1997)
Harvard Medical School, Boston (1997-2002)
Joined Texas A&M in 2002

Transcriptional Regulation/Chromatin Structure

How cells regulate gene expression is fundamental to most aspects of biology. My laboratory is interested in the regulation of gene expression at active and inactive regions of the yeast genome. We identify proteins that regulate transcription using classic and modern genetic techniques. Then, we investigate how these factors influence transcription and chromatin structure using a combination of genetic, molecular, and biochemical methods.
Our current research addresses complex questions regarding the role of histone methylation in the regulation of transcription of the HIS3 gene. In budding yeast, there is a single lysine methyltransferase, Set1, that catalyzes mono-, di- and tri-methylation of the fourth residue, lysine 4, of histone H3. Set1 is a great model to study because it generates three chromatin marks and each mark is not equivalent. We exploit novel genetic variants of the conserved Set1 protein that differentially affect methylation of lysine 4 (K4) of histone H3 (e.g. abolish H3K4 tri-methylation while keeping H3K4 mono-methylation intact). Studies using these Set1 mutants provide insights into the roles of different H3K4 methyl marks in transcription by Pol II. We are also investigating the role of antisense transcription in regulation of the HIS3 gene. This research is expected to define new paradigms in gene regulation.
Our research on silent chromatin focuses on Pol II-transcribed genes located in the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) locus. We use Pol II-transcribed genes to characterize mechanisms that regulate silent chromatin. Silent chromatin not only represses Pol II transcription but also genetic recombination. Alterations in rDNA recombination reduce the stability of the rDNA locus and the yeast genome, leading to premature aging and cell death.
The goal of my lab is to learn about mechanisms that regulate Pol II transcription and chromatin structure. We use several methods, such as growth assays, RNA analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation, mutagenesis and genetic screens, to characterize Pol II transcription and chromatin function. Our findings will increase our understanding of how chromatin dynamics influence gene expression and genome integrity. Many of the factors we study have homologues in human cells indicating that our discoveries may provide insights into mechanisms that regulate gene expression in higher eukaryotes.

Recent Publications

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  1. Nassr, AA, King, A, Espinoza, J, Sanz Cortes, M, Shamshirsaz, AA, Belfort, MA et al.. Successful release of pseudoamniotic bands that followed laser photocoagulation for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome: utility of a partial carbon dioxide uterine environment. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2019; :.
    doi: 10.1002/uog.20396. PubMed PMID:31290581. .

  2. Kassam-Adams, N, Kohser, KL, McLaughlin, J, Winston, F, Marsac, ML. Evaluating the Acceptability and Validity of Assessing Pain and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in an Adaptable eHealth System for School-Age Children. Clin Pract Pediatr Psychol. 2019;7 (1):9-19.
    doi: 10.1037/cpp0000261. PubMed PMID:31275781. PubMed Central PMC6604622.

  3. Casavale, KO, Ahuja, JKC, Wu, X, Li, Y, Quam, J, Olson, R et al.. NIH workshop on human milk composition: summary and visions. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2019; :.
    doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz123. PubMed PMID:31274142. .

  4. Joyeux, L, De Bie, F, Danzer, E, Russo, FM, Javaux, A, Peralta, CFA et al.. Learning curves of open and endoscopic fetal spina bifida closure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2019; :.
    doi: 10.1002/uog.20389. PubMed PMID:31273862. .

  5. Belfort, MB, Ramel, SE. NICU Diet, Physical Growth and Nutrient Accretion, and Preterm Infant Brain Development. Neoreviews. 2019;20 (7):e385-e396.
    doi: 10.1542/neo.20-7-e385. PubMed PMID:31261105. .

  6. Li, Z, Fu, B, Green, CM, Liu, B, Zhang, J, Lang, Y et al.. Cisplatin protects mice from challenge of Cryptococcus neoformans by targeting the Prp8 intein. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2019;8 (1):895-908.
    doi: 10.1080/22221751.2019.1625727. PubMed PMID:31223062. PubMed Central PMC6598491.

  7. Sanz Cortes, M, Torres, P, Yepez, M, Guimaraes, C, Zarutskie, A, Shetty, A et al.. Comparison of brain microstructure after prenatal spina bifida repair by either laparotomy assisted fetoscopic or open approach. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2019; :.
    doi: 10.1002/uog.20373. PubMed PMID:31219638. .

  8. Parker, MG, Burnham, LA, Melvin, P, Singh, R, Lopera, AM, Belfort, MB et al.. Addressing Disparities in Mother's Milk for VLBW Infants Through Statewide Quality Improvement. Pediatrics. 2019;144 (1):.
    doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-3809. PubMed PMID:31213519. .

  9. Pan, ET, Pallapati, J, Krueger, A, Yepez, M, VanLoh, S, Nassr, AA et al.. Evaluation and Disposition of Fetal Myelomeningocele Repair Candidates: A Large Referral Center Experience. Fetal. Diagn. Ther. 2019; :1-8.
    doi: 10.1159/000500451. PubMed PMID:31212296. .

  10. Erfani, H, Haeri, S, Shainker, SA, Saad, AF, Ruano, R, Dunn, TN et al.. Vasa Previa: A multicenter retrospective cohort study. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 2019; :.
    doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.06.006. PubMed PMID:31201807. .

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