Grants awarded

Structure and molecular function of the DREAM complex in gene expression programmes of cellular quiescence


Dr Claudio Alfieri

Institute of Cancer Research

United Kingdom

Quiescence is the process where cells stop proliferating by exiting the cell cycle. This guarantees the maintenance of reservoirs of stem cells, which are crucial for tissue regeneration. Quiescence is also a strategy used by cancer cells to survive anti-cancer drugs in both primary and metastatic tumours.

I plan to perform a molecular characterisation of a key promoter of quiescence called the DREAM complex. I will determine the DREAM structure by cryo-electron microscopy in the context of its functional environment, including the chromatin of target genes, which this complex represses. I will use this information to further characterise the DREAM function in human cancer cells.

The findings of my research will expand our knowledge of cellular mechanisms regulating the cell cycle and will give foundations to drug development that targets the quiescent state to prevent resistance and the spread of cancer.