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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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Summary of Keystone Symposium: Epigenetic Marks and Cancer Drugs

In order for each of the cells of our bodies to stay healthy, gene expression must be controlled in a tightly regulated fashion. DNA is packaged around histone proteins, and a diverse set of enzymes are responsible for adding or removing specific post-translational modifications, or epigenetic marks, to histone tails. …

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Dietary Epigenetics, Chemoprevention, and Green Tea Cupcakes

EpiBeat is excited to have Nikki write this guest post for us!  Nikki started her blog Scientifically Delicious about a year ago to write about the intersection between two of her passions: science and cooking.  She uses her background in biology to explain recent news and findings about food and …

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Does defective binding of 5-hmC by MeCP2 contribute to Rett syndrome?

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that plays an important role in gene expression. Aberrant changes of DNA methylation in the genome are associated with many epigenetic-related neurological disorders. However, the mechanism by which DNA methylation affects chromatin structure and gene expression is not completely understood. Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2, (MeCP2), …

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How To Silence Your Neighbor – Tips From A Transposon

Did you know that nearly half of our DNA consists of transposable elements?  Until recently, this was believed to be a product of transposon duplication and random insertion into the genome.  Estécio et al. recently proposed a new model suggesting that the distribution of transposable elements may not be random, …

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Role Reversal: Are Transcription Factors Responsible for Heterochromatin Formation?

Regions of eukaryotic chromosomes are classified into two distinct groups: euchromatin, which is generally less compacted and contains actively transcribed genes, and heterochromatin, which is typically more compacted and contains silent genes and the majority of the repeated DNA elements.  Transcription factors are generally thought of as proteins that are …

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Chromatin Density Matters

Histone methylation mediated by polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is involved in numerous biological processes, including cell differentiation, proliferation, and stem cell plasticity. Enhancer of Zeste homolog 2 (Ezh2), a subunit of PRC2, is a histone methyltransferase that specifically methylates histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27) and regulates polycomb gene …

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