Dr Alexandra Sapetschnig | Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate

This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Sapetschnig, Alexandra

I am a senior postdoctoral Research Associate in Eric Miska's lab at the Gurdon Institute and recently joined the Sanger Institute as a Visiting Scientist to start up our Associate Faculty lab. My main research focus is the function of germline-specific small non-coding RNAs.

Nongenetic (epigenetic) inheritance of acquired traits has been observed in many organisms, including plants and animals. I have previously studied a link between transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and germline-specific small non-coding RNAs, so-called piRNAs, in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. In the germline of the nematode, piRNAs and other small non-coding RNAs are required to silence transposable (mobile) elements thereby providing genome stability to the offspring. Recently, we demonstrated that induction of gene silencing by piRNAs can be stably inherited even in the absence of the initial trigger. This transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is achieved by relaying the silencing signal to endogenous small-interfering RNAs (endo-siRNAs) that can be stably maintained over many generations. Now I focus my research on the biological function of piRNAs in mammals with a specific focus on a putative role of piRNAs in epigenetic inheritance.

Publications

  • Tertiary siRNAs mediate paramutation in C. elegans.

    Sapetschnig A, Sarkies P, Lehrbach NJ and Miska EA

    PLoS genetics 2015;11;3;e1005078

  • piRNAs can trigger a multigenerational epigenetic memory in the germline of C. elegans.

    Ashe A, Sapetschnig A, Weick EM, Mitchell J, Bagijn MP et al.

    Cell 2012;150;1;88-99

  • Function, targets, and evolution of Caenorhabditis elegans piRNAs.

    Bagijn MP, Goldstein LD, Sapetschnig A, Weick EM, Bouasker S et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2012;337;6094;574-578

  • Piwi and piRNAs act upstream of an endogenous siRNA pathway to suppress Tc3 transposon mobility in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline.

    Das PP, Bagijn MP, Goldstein LD, Woolford JR, Lehrbach NJ et al.

    Molecular cell 2008;31;1;79-90

  • Function, targets, and evolution of Caenorhabditis elegans piRNAs.

    Bagijn MP, Goldstein LD, Sapetschnig A, Weick EM, Bouasker S et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2012;337;6094;574-578

  • piRNAs can trigger a multigenerational epigenetic memory in the germline of C. elegans.

    Ashe A, Sapetschnig A, Weick EM, Mitchell J, Bagijn MP et al.

    Cell 2012;150;1;88-99

  • SUMO-modified Sp3 represses transcription by provoking local heterochromatic gene silencing.

    Stielow B, Sapetschnig A, Wink C, Krüger I and Suske G

    EMBO reports 2008;9;9;899-906

  • Piwi and piRNAs act upstream of an endogenous siRNA pathway to suppress Tc3 transposon mobility in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline.

    Das PP, Bagijn MP, Goldstein LD, Woolford JR, Lehrbach NJ et al.

    Molecular cell 2008;31;1;79-90

  • Identification of SUMO-dependent chromatin-associated transcriptional repression components by a genome-wide RNAi screen.

    Stielow B, Sapetschnig A, Krüger I, Kunert N, Brehm A et al.

    Molecular cell 2008;29;6;742-54

  • Complexity of translationally controlled transcription factor Sp3 isoform expression.

    Sapetschnig A, Koch F, Rischitor G, Mennenga T and Suske G

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;40;42095-105

  • E2F and Sp1/Sp3 Synergize but are not sufficient to activate the MYCN gene in neuroblastomas.

    Kramps C, Strieder V, Sapetschnig A, Suske G and Lutz W

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;7;5110-7

  • Transcription factor Sp3 is silenced through SUMO modification by PIAS1.

    Sapetschnig A, Rischitor G, Braun H, Doll A, Schergaut M et al.

    The EMBO journal 2002;21;19;5206-15

Sapetschnig, Alexandra
Alexandra's Timeline
2015

Visiting Scientist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to start up Eric Miska's Associate Faculty lab.

2013

Senior Research Associate with Eric Miska at the Wellcome Trust/CRUK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK.

2007

Started postdoctoral research with Eric Miska at the Wellcome Trust/CRUK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. Funded by Herchel Smith and HFSP post-doc fellowships.

2006

PhD in Molecular Biology with Guntram Suske at the Institute for Molecular Biology and Tumour Research (IMT), Philipps University Marburg, Germany.