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Of Mice and Men: The Evolution of Cis-Regulatory Elements

DNase Hypersenestive sites (DHSs) are regions within the genome that are susceptible to cleavage by the enzyme DNase I. These regions are susceptible because they lie in uncondensed regions of euchromatin and are readily accessible to the DNase enzyme. In vivo however, these regions are also accessible to regulatory proteins …

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Chromatin Remodelers: A new suspect wanted for questioning regarding their role in the development of cancer

Chromatin remodelers are famous for their ability to mobilize nucleosomes and modify DNA structures. However, mutations in chromatin remodelers are being frequently cited for their implications in cancers and are now almost as notorious as p53 (Shain and Pollack, 2013), with perhaps more sinister activities. This includes mutations amongst members …

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3D Chromatin Organization, Transcription, and Behavior

The chromosomes of differentiated cells contain heterochromatic and euchromatic compartments. Heterochromatin is highly condensed and associated with repressed transcription, whereas in euchromatin  transcription is generally active. Spatial organization of heterochromatin can vary vastly among different differentiated cell types1. In contrast to differentiated cells, embryonic stem cells contain only sparse heterochromatic …

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Gene Transcription: Not Always Dictated by Histone Modifications!

The proper regulation of gene expression is of fundamental importance in the maintenance of normal growth and development.  Misregulation of genes can lead to such outcomes as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease.  A key step in gene regulation occurs during the transcription of the chromosomal DNA into messenger RNA by …

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The Y chromosome has genome-wide influences over chromatin structure and gene regulation

The Y chromosome has genome-wide influences over chromatin structure and gene regulation

In mammals, the Y chromosome is responsible for determining the male sex by initiating the development of male-specific gonad tissues. Hormones, produced and secreted by the sex organs, are vital for initiating and maintaining sexual dimorphisms. However, differences seen between the sexes are not solely derived from hormones. In fact, …

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SNP-SNP here, SNP-SNP there, everywhere a SNP-SNP, old McDonald had a GWAS……

SNP-SNP here, SNP-SNP there, everywhere a SNP-SNP, old McDonald had a GWAS……

Gerhard A. Coetzee, Wange Lu, Peggy Farnham USC Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed numerous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) where allelic frequencies differ between cases and controls of many complex diseases (NHGRI GWA Catalog). In the last decade 6,696 genetic associations of 598 traits have been reported in 16,770 papers (up …

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AACR Special Conference on Chromatin and Epigenetics in Cancer

The advancements in Next-Generation sequencing technology have recently helped researchers uncover the importance of epigenetic modifying enzymes in many human cancers.  Numerous different cancer cells contain mutations in genes that encode histone-modifying enzymes and chromatin-remodeling factors, leading scientists and doctors to conclude that misregulated epigenetic processes are of central importance …

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You can take a gene out of context, but can you take context out of a gene?

A gene’s precise chromatin context profoundly affects its regulation. For example, genes located near nucleosomes containing acetylated histones are generally actively transcribed. By contrast, genes located near nucleosomes containing histones methylated at specific lysine residues are usually transcriptionally repressed. But is the opposite also true? Do specific gene sequences affect …

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