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Wolfgang Fischle

Professor, Bioscience 

Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division


Laboratory of Chromatin Biochemistry

Education Profile

  • ​​​​​Dr. rer. nat. (PhD), University of Tübingen, Germany, 2002
  • Diploma (MSc) in Biochemistry, University of Tübingen, Germany, 1996
  • Prediploma (BSc) in Biochemistry, University of Tübingen, Germany, 1994

Research Interests


To sustain life in different environments, cells and organisms must adjust to different conditions and external cues. In contrast to immediate and mostly transient responses to short-term stimuli, processes of long-term adaptation require lasting changes in gene expression patterns. Such epigenetic changes are controlled on the level of chromatin, the packaging form of eukaryotic genomes. Here, different chemical modifications are associated with distinct functional states of chromatin.

Prof. Fischle's research aims to gain detailed and molecular understanding of fundamental epigenetic processes. In particular, he is investigating how modifications and small cellular molecules interplay to direct different structural and functional states of chromatin. To address these problems, Prof. Fischle is applying highly interdisciplinary approaches. These include advancing technologies for establishing and analyzing complex chromatin systems in vitro (biochemistry and biophysics), molecular and cellular biology for studying essential chromatin components and global analysis of modules of epigenetic regulation.

Selected Publications

  • Stützer, A., Liokatis, S., Kiesel, A., Schwarzer, D., Sprangers, R., Söding, J., Selenko, P. and Fischle, W. (2016) Modulations of DNA contacts by linker histoens and post-translational modifications determine the mobility and modifiability of nucleosomal H3 tails. Mol. Cell 61:247-259.
  • ​Hiragami-Hamada, K., Soeroes, S., Nikolov, M., Wilkins, B., Kreuz, S., Chen, C., De La Rosa-Velázquez, I.A., Zenn, H.M., Kost, N., Pohl, W., Chernev, A., Schwarzer, D., Jenuwein, T., Lorincz, M., Zimmermann, B., Walla, P.J., Neumann, H., Baubec, T.,Urlaub, H., and Fischle, W. (2015) Dynamic and flexible bridging of H3K9me3 via HP1β-dimerization establishes a plastic state of condensed chromatin. Nat. Comm. 7: 11310.
  • Kost, N., Kaiser, S., Ostwal, Y., Riedel, D., Stützer, A., Nikolov, M., Rathke, C., Renkawitz-Pohl, R. and Fischle, W. (2015) Multimerization of Drosophila sperm protein Mst77Fcauses a unique condensed chromatin structure. Nucleic Acids Res. 43:3033-3044.
  • Gelato, K.G., Tauber, M., Ong, M., Winter, S., Hiragami-Hamada, K., Sindlinger, J., Lemak, A., Bultsma, Y., Houliston, S., Schwarzer, D., Divecha, N., Arrowsmith, C.H.  and Fischle, W. (2014) Interaction of UHRF1 with the unmodified or lysine 9 trimethylated H3 tail is allosterically regulated by phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate. Mol. Cell, 54:905-919.
  • Wilkins, B.J., Rall, N.A., Ostwal, Y., Kruitwagen, T., Hiragami-Hamada, K., Winkler, M., Barral, Y., Fischle, W. and Neumann H. (2014) A cascade of histone modifications induces chromatin condensation in mitosis. Science 343:77-80.
  • Shema-Yaacoby, E., Nikolov, M., Haj-Yahya, M., Siman, P., Allemand, E., Yamaguchi, Y., Muchardt, C., Urlaub, H., Brik, A., Oren, M. and Fischle W. (2013) Systematic identification of proteins binding to chromatin-embedded ubiquitylated H2B reveals recruitment of SWI/SNF to regulate transcription. Cell Rep. 4:601-608.