Nuclear organization by actin

Maria Vartiainen research group

Our lab studies the functional organization of the cell nucleus, and especially the role of actin in this process.

The cell nucleus is a highly organized and dynamic organelle. This dynamic organization is required for essential nuclear processes, such as gene expression and maintenance of genomic integrity. In the cytoplasm, actin has a well-established role as a component of the cytoskeleton and plays important roles for example in cell motility and morphology.

In the nucleus, actin has been linked to many processes that regulate gene expression, such as transcription factor regulation, RNA polymerase function and chromatin remodeling, as well as to DNA damage response. However, the molecular mechanisms by which actin functions during these key nuclear events are largely unclear.

By combining advanced imaging techniques with functional genomics, we study how actin operates in the nucleus to regulate nuclear organization and consequently nuclear processes.

We are especially interested in:

  • The molecular mechanisms of actin-regulated transcription
  • The role of actin in chromatin dynamics.

Maria K. Vartiainen, PhD, Docent

Research Director

Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE

Biocenter 2, room 2038c

PO BOX 56 (Viikinkaari 5D)

00014 University of Helsinki


Phone: +358-50 4484606


Maria is a Principal Investigator/Research Director at BI. She was granted an ERC Starting Grant in 2011 and Loreal for Women in Science fellowship in 2014.