Heterochromatin & genome stability

In eukaryotes, DNA is packaged into chromatin. Chromatin occurs in either an open, accessible form called euchromatin, or a tightly wound, compact form called heterochromatin. Heterochromatin is essential to prevent transcription of both repetitive elements (e.g. transposons), and tissue-specific genes during differentiation. Loss of heterochromatin can drive cancer and ageing, and disrupts tissue integrity. We investigate how heterochromatin is altered in response to persistent DNA damage and how this affects cell function and genome integrity, using C. elegans as a model organism.

Research website

Positions held

  • 2022: Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
  • 2013 - 2022: Postdoctoral researcher, Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel


  • 2013: PhD in Cell Biology, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
  • 2009: Diploma in Biology, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg
  • 2006: Vordiploma in Biology, RWTH Aachen University

Selected publications by Jan Padeken

Delaney CE, Methot SP, Kalck V, Seebacher J, Hess D, Gasser SM and Padeken J (2022) SETDB1-like MET-2 promotes transcriptional silencing and development independently of its H3K9me-associated catalytic activityNat Struct Mol Biol, 29:85–96 Link

Padeken J, Methot SP and Gasser SM (2022) Establishment of H3K9-methylated heterochromatin and its functions in tissue differentiation and maintenanceNat Rev Mol Cell Biol, doi: 10.1038/s41580-022-00483-w Link

Methot SP*, Padeken J*, Brancati G, Zeller P, Delaney CE, Gaidatzis D, Kohler H, van Oudenaarden A, Großhans H and Gasser SM (2021) H3K9me selectively blocks transcription factor activity and ensures differentiated tissue integrityNat Cell Biol, 23:1163–1175 (*indicates joint contribution) Link

Padeken J, Methot S, Zeller P, Delaney CE, Kalck V and Gasser SM (2021) Argonaute NRDE-3 and MBT domain protein LIN-61 redundantly recruit an H3K9me3 HMT to prevent embryonic lethality and transposon expressionGenes Dev, 35:82–101 Link

Delaney CE*, Methot SP*, Guidi M*, Katic I, Gasser SM and Padeken J (2019) Heterochromatic foci and transcriptional repression by an unstructured MET-2/SETDB1 co-factor LIN-65J Cell Biol, 218:820–838 (*indicates joint contribution) Link