Faculty Profile

John Denu
330 North Orchard Street
(608) 316-4341
Training Programs


Research Description
The Denu lab investigates the mechanism and biological function of reversible protein modifications involved in modulating signal transduction, chromatin dynamics and metabolism. The group uses a breadth of approaches that involve biochemistry, genetics, proteomics, enzymology, and utilize mammalian tissue culture system and mouse models to explore biological function. There are currently three major areas of research in the group: 1.) Writing, reading and editing a molecular language/code. What are the basic biochemical principles that govern epigenetic information written onto histones? 2.) Linking metabolism with the epigenome. How does metabolism communicate with both short term and long term epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression? 3.) Sirtuins (NAD-dependent deacetylases) and reversible protein acetylation. How do sirtuins regulate metabolism, transcription and genome maintenance, and how does this relate to diseases of aging?
Selected Publications
• Su Z, Boersma MD, Lee JH, Oliver SS, Liu S, Garcia BA, Denu JM. ChIP-less analysis of chromatin states. Epigenetics Chromatin. 2014 Apr 24;7:7. doi: 10.1186/1756-8935-7-7. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24872844; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4022240.
• Feldman JL, Baeza J, Denu JM. Activation of the protein deacetylase SIRT6 by long-chain fatty acids and widespread deacylation by mammalian sirtuins. J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 25;288(43):31350-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C113.511261. Epub 2013 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 24052263; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3829447.