Barbara Jennings

active 2 years, 2 months ago
Our paper profiling recruitment of the Groucho co-repressor is out! Debunks the old spreading and silencing models. View


Full Name

Barbara Jennings

Current position

Senior Lecturer


Oxford Brookes University


Oxford, UK

Research interests

My group is interested in how transcription is regulated during cell fate decisions and differentiation.

Twitter handle


Research activity


Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating gene expression during cell fate determination and differentiation. We are currently focussing on two examples of transcriptional repression observed in the early embryonic development of Drosophila.

i) Repression by Groucho/TLE family proteins
Groucho/TLE family proteins are recruited to act as corepressors for many different families of transcription factors (including Hes, Runx, Nkx, LEF1/Tcf, Pax, Six and c-Myc) and are a key factor in many signalling pathways, including Notch and Wnt, which act during development, tissue regeneration, and stem cell specification/maintenance. Recent reports demonstrate that deregulated expression of human Gro family members is correlated with the pathogenesis of some cancers.

ii) Repression via transcriptional pausing
Transcription is initiated by recruitment of a preinitiation complex containing RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) and assorted transcription factors at the promoter of a gene. After clearing the promoter, RNAP II transcribes 20-40 base pairs and pauses before transcribing the rest of the gene. This pausing is a checkpoint that can be regulated to repress or activate gene expression. Recent studies in human embryonic stem cells and Drosophila have revealed the large extent to which transcriptional pausing is used as a regulatory point in vivo.
The aim of our current research is to ascertain the molecular mechanisms by which contextual transcription factors regulate transcriptional pausing. Our central questions are: Which proteins are involved? How do these proteins interact with each other and RNA polymerase?

Representative publications

25165826, 23894613, 23575664, 20078428, 18254933, 18034187, 16762837, 15380072,

Research keywords

transcription factors, repression, development, genetics


Latitude and Longitude