Institute for Integrative Genome Biology


Jikui SongJikui Song

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Mailing Address:

Boyce Hall /4414
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-4221
Fax: (951) 827-4294
Email: jikui.song@ucr.edu


2002 Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin Madison
MS 1997 Molecular Biology, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
BS 1994 Chemical Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, China

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Areas Of Expertise:

Structural Biology; Epigenetic Gene Regulation and Inheritance

Awards / Honors:

2000-01  Peterson Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1999-00  Wharton Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Summary:

Eukaryotic genome is organized into the form of chromatin, with nucleosome as a basic unit. Each nucleosome is comprised of an octamer of histones (two copies of each H2A, H2B, H3 and H4), wrapped by a 147-bp DNA. Covalent modifications of histones and DNA, termed epigenetic modifications, significantly influence chromatin structure and function. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying epigenetic regulation, through a structural biology approach (X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy), combined with molecular biology and biochemical assay.

One of our research areas concerns the regulatory mechanism of DNA methylation. As a major epigenetic mechanism, DNA methylation plays an essential role in gene suppression, silencing of retrotransposons, genome imprinting and X-chromosome inactivation. DNA methylation in mammalian genome occurs at the C-5 position of cytosine within CpG dinucleotide and is dynamically controlled by distinct DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs): DNMT3a and DNMT3b for de novo methylation during embryonic stage, and DNMT1 for maintenance methylation in somatic cells. The molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation machineries remain elusive. We are particularly interested in addressing how DNA methyltransferases are regulated in attaining their distinct functions. For instance, how does DNMT1, as the major maintenance DNA methyltransferase, fulfill its function by enzymatically favoring hemimethylated DNA substrates? Through structure determination of DNMT1 in complex with state-specific DNA substrates, we have revealed that the N-terminal domains and the methyltransferase domain of DNMT1 cooperate to discriminate hemimethylated substrates against unmethylated ones. Our ongoing efforts include illustrating how distinct regulatory mechanisms of DNMTs are coordinated in orchestrating specific DNA methylation patterns.

In addition, we are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of other macromolecular machineries involved in the broad area of genomic maintenance and gene regulation. .

Selected Publications:

List of publications from PubMed

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director