Humaira Gowher

Humaira Gowher Profile Picture

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry
PhD (Dr. rer. nat.), JLU, Germany

Contact Info:
BCHM 313

Training Group(s):
Biomolecular Structure and Biophysics
Cancer Biology

Active Mentor - currently hosting PULSe students for laboratory rotations and recruiting PULSe students into the laboratory; serves on preliminary exam committees

Current Research Interests:

The overarching goal of our research is to elucidate epigenetic mechanisms that control cell identity and determine how these mechanisms are disrupted in cancer. The research specifically focuses on the activity of distal regulatory elements, called enhancers, and insulators of developmental genes by using mouse embryonic stem cells and embryonal carcinoma cells as model systems. In addition, we also study biochemical mechanism/s of DNA methyltransferases and the effect of mutations commonly found in cancer and other developmental disorders.

Selected Publications:

Norvil AB**, AlAbdi L**, Liu B***, Forstoffer NE*, Michie AR*, Chen T, Gowher H. The Acute Myeloid Leukemia variant DNMT3A Arg882His is a DNMT3B-like enzyme. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Apr 17;48(7):3761-3775. Impact Factor: 11.2

AlAbdi L**, Saha D***, He M***, Dar MS***, Utturkar SM, Sudyanti PA**, McCune S*, Spears BH*, Breedlove JA*, Lanman NA, Gowher H. Oct4 mediated inhibition of Lsd1 activity promotes the active and primed state of pluripotency enhancers. 2020 Cell Reports 30 (5), 1478-1490. Impact Factor: 7.8

Norvil AB**, Saha D***, Saleem Dar M***, Gowher H. Effect of Disease-Associated Germline Mutations on Structure Function Relationship of DNA Methyltransferases. Genes (Basel). 2019 May 14;10(5).Impact Factor: 3.3

Alabdi, LA **, He M, Yang Q***, Norvil, AB** and Gowher H. The transcription factor Vezf1 represses the expression of the antiangiogenic factor Cited2 in endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 2018 Jul 13;293 (28):11109-11118. Impact Factor: 4.1

Norvil AB*, Petell CJ**, Alabdi LA**, Wu L*, Rossie S, Gowher H. Dnmt3b methylates DNA by a non-cooperative mechanism and its activity is unaffected by manipulations at the predicted dimer interface. Biochemistry 2016 Nov 4th. Impact Factor: 3.0

Petell CJ**, Alabdi L**, He M, San Miguel P, Rose R*, Gowher H. An epigenetic switch regulates de novo DNA methylation at a subset of pluripotency gene enhancers during embryonic stem cell differentiation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Sep 19;44 (16):7605-17. Impact Factor: 11.5

Gowher, H., Brick, K. and Felsenfeld, G. Pausing of elongating Pol II stimulated by Vezf1 regulates alternative splicing. (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 14;109(7):2370-5.

Dickson J., Gowher H., Strogantsev R., Gaszner M., Hair A., Felsenfeld G. and West A.G. (2010) VEZF1 elements mediate protection from DNA methylation PLoS Genet. 2010 Jan;6(1) Bold= authors contributed equally Gowher, H., Stuhlmann, H. and Felsenfeld, G. (2008).

Vezf1 Regulates Genomic DNA Methylation Through its Effects on Expression of DNA Methyltransferase Dnmt3b. Genes Dev. 2008 Aug 1;22(15):2075-84 

 Gowher, H., Loutchanwoot, P., Vorobjeva, O., Handa, V., Jurkowska, R. Z., Jurkowski, T. P., and Jeltsch, A. (2006). Mutational analysis of the catalytic domain of the murine Dnmt3a DNA-(cytosine C5)-methyltransferase. J Mol Biol 357, 928-941.

Gowher, H., Stockdale, C. J., Goyal, R., Ferreira, H., Owen-Hughes, T., and Jeltsch, A. (2005b). De novo methylation of nucleosomal DNA by the mammalian Dnmt1 and Dnmt3A DNA methyltransferases. Biochemistry 44, 9899-9904.

Gowher, H., Liebert, K., Hermann, A., Xu, G., and Jeltsch, A. (2005a). Mechanism of stimulation of catalytic activity of Dnmt3A and Dnmt3B DNA-(cytosine-C5)- methyltransferases by Dnmt3L. J Biol Chem 280, 13341-13348.

Ghirlando R, Giles K, Gowher H, Xiao T, Xu Z, Yao H, Felsenfeld G. (2012) Chromatin domains, insulators, and the regulation of gene expression. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jul;1819(7):644-51

Giles KE, Gowher H, Ghirlando R, Jin C, Felsenfeld G. (2010) Chromatin Boundaries, Insulators, and Long-Range Interactions in the Nucleus. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2010, Nov 3.

Gowher, H., and Jeltsch, A. (2004). Mechanism of inhibition of DNA methyltransferases by cytidine analogs in cancer therapy. Cancer Biol Ther 3, 1062-1068.

Hermann, A., Gowher, H., and Jeltsch, A. (2004). Biochemistry and biology of mammalian DNA methyltransferases. Cell Mol Life Sci 61, 2571-2587.   

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