DNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation in Stem Cells

Ying Cheng, Nina Xie, Tao Wang Stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs), are undifferentiated cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and self-renew through mitosis. These stem cell identities and functions are highly controlled by epigenetic regulation, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and nucleosome …


Removing the breaks on DNA methylation increases “rough and tumble” play behavior: the role of Gadd45b, a demethylase, in social development

Autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD are characterized by the inappropriate manifestation of social behavior, with symptoms typically arising in childhood. Understanding what biological mechanisms put the brain at greater risk for social deficits is necessary to effectively develop better intervention strategies. It has become increasingly clear that adverse interactions between environmental …


Epigenetics Matter: Ensuring Functional Stability of Regulatory T Cell Therapy Products

Many autoimmune diseases are characterized by an imbalance between the effector and regulatory arms of the immune system: auto-reactive effector T cells are hyper-activated, while their regulatory counterparts are impaired, or at least insufficient to keep harmful effector responses in check. Regulatory T cell (Treg) cell therapy is a promising …

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Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Why should you care?

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI) is a relatively recent concept that has a major role in biological processes. Although we are just starting to understand the role of TEI in human health, the implications seem enormous. Our recent article in Clinical Epigenetics summarizes evidence in animal models showing transgenerational phenotypes that …


The epigenome mapped in more than 100 tissues and cell types

A consortium of researchers published a description of 111 epigenetic maps produced as part of the Roadmap Epigenomics Program. A useful tool for understanding epigenetic changes associated with several conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancers or autoimmune disorders. In the body, most of the cells have identical genomes. But the …

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Prenatal Environment and Autism Related Impairment

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of restricted or repetitive behaviors. Recent research advances indicate that genetics play a large role in the etiology of ASD1. The presence of de novo copy number variation (CNV), chromosomal deletions …


Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlying Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Alcohol consumption during any stage of pregnancy has been shown to result in a range of congenital and cognitive defects, collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Alcohol (EtOH) consumed by the mother is readily able to cross the placenta where it remains trapped in the amniotic fluid resulting …


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 …