Dr. Alex Kouzmenko, Professor of Molecular Biology and Program Director, Life Sciences Program, in the College of Science and General Studies, co-authored a research paper recently published in “Molecular Cell”, a leading biomedical journal with a current impact factor of 14.2:


According to the 2011 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report, only around 1% of major international journals across all disciplines and less than 4% of biomedical science journals have impact factor above 10.

The publication entitled “Epigenetic Silencing of Core Histone Genes by HERS in Drosophila” is a result of collaboration with the University of Tokyo and Kyoto Prefectural Medical University in Japan. The study addressed molecular mechanisms of the cell-cycle specific regulation of histone gene expression.

Histones are fundamental components of eukaryotic chromosomes that maintain and regulate appropriate chromatin conformation to support all genomic DNA-dependent processes, including transcription, replication, repair, and mitosis. In early S phase of the cell cycle, histone genes are activated to supply histone proteins for the integration of newly synthesized DNA into nucleosomes. At the end of S phase, histone gene transcription is rapidly turned down, ending the histone protein production. However, the molecular basis of cell cycle-dependent silencing of histone expression remained unknown. By using Drosophila as an experimental genetic model system, this study has identified a novel regulatory factor designated HERS (Histone gene-specific Epigenetic Repressor in late S phase) and determined molecular mechanisms of the cell cycle phase-specific silencing of histone genes by HERS.