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September 02 - 04, 2013
Venue: Grandia Housen, Fukui, Japan

Report on Yeast Epigenetics International Symposium

PRESTO http://www.jst.go.jp/kisoken/presto/

The Yeast Epigenetics International Symposium was held by three researchers from the advanced field of "Epigenetic control and biological functions" (PRESTO researchers: Masaya Oki, associate professor, Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Fukui University, Tetsushi Iida, assistant professor, Division of Cytogenetics, National Institute of Genetics, Hideaki Tagami, associate professor, Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Nagoya City University). Consisting of 33 lecturers (14 of which were from overseas) and ten sessions of oral presentations including lively discussions, the symposium was huge success. A total of 119 people participated.

At the symposium, it was suggested that the yeast model would be extremely useful for research in the field of epigenetics. Epigentic research using multicellular organisms such as human is currently being actively conducted both in Japan and overseas. It was emphasized that, in order to propose a model with more advanced molecular mechanism, it is indispensable to perform research on simple organisms such as yeast.

Dr. Lorraine Pillus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) introduced a detailed and bold approach that can only be realized with yeast, involving analysis of preserved complex organisms ranging from yeast to human. There were lively discussions concerning the unexpected discovery through advanced genetic analysis and control through histone modification in the region of gene.

Dr. Chen-Hung Kao of Academia Sinica in Taiwan gave a presentation on the mechanism by which check points normally progress, while maintaining DNA replication fork by means of ubiquitination of histone H2B. This presentation also included a lively discussion.

Concerning the general overview of the symposium, there were lectures on heterochromatin and ncRNA on the first day. Telomere, centromere, chromosonal boundary structure, tRNA genes, conditioned molecules and nuclear pore complexes were discussed on the second day. Dr. Jerry Workman of the Stowers Institute gave a lecture on transcription and conjugated chromatin dynamics on the third day. After that, concerning the new field of epigenetic research using yeast, the fusion of mathematical models and morphological alteration mechanism were discussed.

Although the speakers invited from overseas lectured on various topics, it is very interesting to note that a large number of speakers talked about expression and function of non-coding RNA. This is that field of research concerning gene expression focusing on mRNA, and involves research on discovery and control of various types of histone modification. It is currently clear that chromatin remodeling and histone modification are involved in control of promoter activity within the genetic code domain and inflow of non-coding RNA. This tendency could indicate that research involving chromatin and epigenetics is clearly shifting to role and function of non-coding RNA decomposed immediately following transcription.

The symposium ended with a panel discussion of the present and future of epigenetic research using yeast, including lively discussion of topics including the state of yeast research in various countries, student recruitment current state and future prospects of obtaining research funding. Participants discussed the facts that, whereas we are currently at a stage where progress in analytical technologies has facilitated research employing cells of mice and human, it clearly tends to be increasingly difficult to secure funding for research proposals employing yeast as a model. In addition to educating students who aspire to be researchers, however, it is extremely useful to employ yeast as a model. Through use of advanced gene recombination technologies using yeast and by conducting detailed analysis, these research activities present also the potential to develop into something completely new. The participants also discussed the need to work on academic societies and prominent researchers so that the usefulness of yeast will be recognized as superior to other organisms.

During the three days, extremely high quality lectures and research discussions took place, and the symposium ended successfully by merit of lively sessions from beginning to end.

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