Public Release: 

ASBMB Schering-Plough Award lecture to focus on histone modifications in transcription

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Bethesda, Maryland, March 1, 2005: Dr. Brian Strahl will discuss the important roles that histone modifications play in DNA transcription when he receives the 2005 ASBMB-Schering-Plough Research Institute Award. The award will be presented to Dr. Strahl on Tuesday, April 5 at 4:45 p.m. at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The award lecture will focus specifically on Dr. Strahl's research on an enzyme called Rad6, which is responsible for adding ubiquitin to histone 2B. Normally in cells, DNA is wrapped around an octamer of histones. When the cell is ready to express the genes on the DNA, a variety of modifications are made to the histones, including the addition of ubiquitin.

Through his research Dr. Strahl has discovered that Rad6 is associated with polymerase II, an enzyme complex responsible for producing mRNA from DNA. This interaction is mediated by the Paf1 transcription elongation complex and the E3 ligase Bre1. Dr. Strahl has found that this association is necessary for the proper functioning of Rad6 and hence the production of the mRNA transcript.

Dr. Strahl will also discuss some of his research on another histone modification, methylation, or the addition of a methyl group. He has been studying the biochemical and cellular pathways that regulate histone methylation and will talk about some of his findings related to this research.

Dr. Strahl, who is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, completed his doctoral studies in molecular endocrinology at North Carolina State University in 1998, and subsequently moved to the laboratory of Dr. David Allis at the University of Virginia. Dr. Allis is an internationally recognized expert on dynamic chromatin structure and its relationship to gene transcription and other fundamental DNA processes, and in a relatively short time, Dr. Strahl emerged as a young leader in this area, which is currently a subject of intense investigation.

The ASBMB-Schering-Plough Research Institute Award recognizes outstanding research contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology. The recipient must have no more than ten years post-doctoral experience, and the nominees and nominators need not be ASBMB members. The Award consists of a plaque, stipend, and transportation and expenses to present a lecture at the ASBMB Annual Meeting. Additional expenses are awarded for travel to attend a meeting of the recipient's choice. Recent recipients of this Award include Pehr A. B. Harbury, Catherine Drennan, John D. York, Stephen P. Bell, and Xiadong Wang.


The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with 12,000 members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions, and industry.

Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's primary purpose is to advance the sciences of biochemistry and molecular biology through its publications, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Lipid Research, Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and the holding of scientific meetings.

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