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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Eleanor Maine

maine portrait





346 Life Sciences Complex


Research and Teaching Interests

Genetic regulation of development, cell-signaling, germline development, RNA silencing.

Research Spotlight


We study the regulation of cell fate during animal development, focusing on germline development in the model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. We use a variety of genetic, molecular, genomics, biochemical, and cell biological approaches to study mechanisms that regulate germ cell proliferation and gamete formation.

Our areas of research include:

  • Regulation of chromatin structure during meiosis
  • Balancing germ cell renewal and differentiation

The Maine Lab works to understand how histone modifications are targeted to specific chromosomal sites, along with the role of meiotic silencing inCaenorhabditis elegans. We have identified a number of regulators of germline proliferation, including positive regulators of GLP-1/Notch signaling. We also study how diverse regulatory pathways are controlled to maintain a balance between germ cell renewal and gamete formation.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1986-1990)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University (1984-1986)
  • Ph.D., Princeton University (1984)


  • BIO 305: Integrated Biology Laboratory
  • BIO 503: Developmental Biology
  • BIO 700: Animal Developmental Mechanisms

Selected Publications

Yang, B. , X. Xu, L. Russell, M.T. Sullenberger, J.L. Yanowitz, and E.M. Maine (2019) A DNA repair protein and histone methyltransferase interact to promote genome stability in C. elegans germ line. PLoS Genetics 15(2):e1007992. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007992.

Sullenberger, M.T., and E.M. Maine (2018) Simplified detection of a point mutation in C. elegans using tetra-primer ARMS-PCR.  microPublication Biology

Mutlu, B., H-M. Chen, J.J. Moresco, B.D. Orelo, B. Yang, J. Gaspar, S. Keppler-Ross, J.R. Yates III, D.H. Hall, E.M. Maine, and S.E. Mango (2018) Regulated nuclear accumulation of a histone methyltransferase times the onset of heterochromatin formation in C. elegans embryos.  Science Advances 4: eaat6224.

Lissemore, J.L., E. Connors, Y. Liu, L. Qiao, B. Yang, M.L. Edgley, S. Flibotte, J. Taylor, V. Au, D.G. Moerman, and E.M. Maine (2018) The molecular chaperone HSP90 promotes Notch signaling in the germline of Caenorhabditis elegans.  G3 8:1535-1544.

Li, Y., and E.M. Maine (2018) The balance of poly(U) polymerase activity ensures germline identity, survival, and development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development 145: dev165944. doi: 10.1242/dev.165944.

Safdar, K., A. Gu, X. Xu, V. Au, J. Taylor, S. Flibotte, D. G. Moerman, and E. M. Maine (2016) UBR-5, a conserved HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase, negatively regulates Notch-type signaling in C. elegans. G3 6:2125-2134.

Guo, Y., B. Yang, Y Li, X. Xu, and E. M. Maine (2015) Enrichment of H3K9me2 on unsynapsed chromatin in Caenorhabditis elegans does not target de novo sites. G3 5:1865-1878.

Van Wynsberghe, P. M., and E. M. Maine (2013) Epigenetic control of germline development. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 757:373-403. Editor: T. Schedl. Publisher: Springer Verlag.

Fox, P.M., V.E. Vought, M. Hanazawa, M-H. Lee, E. M. Maine, and T. Schedl (2011) Cyclin E/CDK-2 regulates proliferative cell fate and cell cycle progression in the C. elegans germline. Development 138, 2223-2234.

Maine, E.M. (2010) Meiotic silencing in Caenorhabditis elegans. International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology 282, 91-134.

She, X., X. Xu, A. Fedotov, W.G. Kelly, and E.M. Maine (2009) Regulation of heterochromatin assembly during C. elegans meiosis by components of a small RNA-mediated pathway. PLoS Genet 5(8): e1000624. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000624

Maine, E.M. (2008) Studying gene function in Caenorhabditis elegans using RNA-mediated interference. Briefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics 7, 184-194.

Liu, Y., and E.M. Maine (2007) The Bro1-domain protein, EGO-2, promotes notch signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 177, 2265-2277.

* This paper was featured in the Genetics Society of America Newsletter.

Maine, E. M., J. Hauth, T. Ratliff, V.E. Vought, X. She, and W. G. Kelly (2005) EGO-1, a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, is required for heterochromatin assembly on unpaired DNA during C. elegans meiosis. Current Biology 15, 1972-1978.

* This paper was cited by the Faculty of 1000.

Smardon, A., J. M. Spoerke, S. C. Stacey, M. E. Klein, N. Mackin, and E. M. Maine (2000) EGO-1 is related to RNA-directed RNA polymerase and functions in germline development and RNA interference in C. elegans. Current Biology 10, 169-178.

* This paper was featured in Science Editor's Choice and Current Biology Dispatch reviews.


Biology Professor Receives NIH Grant for Study of Genes Critical in Development

(Feb. 5, 2018)

Graduate student, Yini Li, identifies two proteins critical for development in the team’s study

Biologists Use Federal Grant to Advance Epigenetics

(June 23, 2016)

Eleanor Maine Research Lab will study mechanisms, developmental importance of meiotic silencing