Montserrat Anguera, Ph.D.
Research Areas: Epigenetics, X-Chromosome Inactivation, Xist RNA, female-biased autoimmunity, epigenetic analyses using female lymphocytes, allele-specific analyses, RNA/DNA FISH, microscopy, long noncoding RNAs
The research in the Anguera laboratory focuses on maintenance of X-chromosome Inactivation in the immune system and in stem cells. They also study epigenetic mechanisms involving long noncoding RNAs during early human development and placental progenitors.
Mechanisms of X-chromosome Inactivation:
We are investigating the molecular mechanisms of X-Chromosome Inactivation, and how altered dosage of X-linked genes affects early embryonic development and contributes to sex-biased disease. We focus on the autoimmune disorder lupus, which has a strong female-bias, exhibits overexpression of X-linked immune-related genes, and involves lymphocytes. We study the epigenetic status of the inactive X in female lymphocytes from humans and mice, and have made the remarkable discovery that these cells do not maintain X-Chromosome Inactivation in the same way as other female somatic cells. We were the first to discover that the inactive X has euchromatic features in female lymphocytes, which may explain the female bias in autoimmune disorders such as lupus. We also study the dynamic mechanisms of Xist RNA localization and heterochromatin mark recruitment to the inactive X following lymphocyte activation.
Long noncoding RNAs during early human development:
We are also investigating sex-specific differences during human placental development using in vitro model systems. We discovered a novel X-linked long noncoding RNA specifically expressed in human placental progenitor cells that regulates the innate immune response.
X-chromosome Inactivation, Xist RNA, epigenetics, heterochromatin, female-biased autoimmunity, B cell development, B cell quiescence and activation, T cell quiescence and activation.
Ph.D (Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology) Cornell University, 2004
Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School (2004 to 2012)
Fellow in Molecular Biology