DNA methylation dynamics

The Same, Only Different: DNA Methylation Dynamics in the Human Genome

DNA methylation is one of the most common, and most studied, epigenetic modifications.  DNA methylation plays a central role in the development and differentiation of mammalian cells, and when DNA methylation is misregulated, it can lead to many different types of human diseases, including cancer and neurological disorders.  DNA methylation, …

5-methylcytosine (5-mC) in RNA

5-Methylcytosine in RNA is More Common and Widespread than Previously Known!

The existence of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) in nucleic acid has been known for more than 50 years, and the majority of research in the past has focused on 5-mC in DNA. However, 5-mC is also present in RNA and interest in this RNA modification has been increasing in recent years. To …

DNA Methylation and Immune Cell Differentiation

DNA Methylation Regulates Differentiation of Naive Immune Cells into Effector Cells

During an adaptive immune response, naive CD8 T cells differentiate into antigen-specific effector cells that release cytotoxic proteins and rapidly proliferate to kill infected cells. When the pathogen has cleared, the majority of effector cells undergo apoptosis while a selected pool becomes memory cells. The differentiation process from naive to …

5-hmC apple

An Apple a Day Keeps the DNA Methylation Away! Vitamin C and DNA Demethylation in Mouse ES Cells

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is essential for normal development and also plays important roles in diverse cellular functions, such as genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, suppression of repetitive DNA elements, carcinogenesis, and other human diseases. In the last few years, scientists have focused on better understanding the process …

fist bump

Yet Another Reason to Thank Dad This Father’s Day! Evidence for Paternally-Inherited Epigenetic Modifications

Maternal health during gestation and prenatal conditions are well documented as having profound effects on health and development of a baby after birth. The mechanisms behind many of these effects are attributed to epigenetic changes that take place in utero. More recently, pre-fertilization maternal health has been also been implicated …


Old Dog, New Tricks? Cytosine Methylation in Long Non-Coding RNAs

Cytosine methylation (5-mC) in DNA is very common, and is generally associated with repression of gene expression.  DNA methylation was the first discovered type of epigenetic modification and remains one of the most actively investigated epigenetic processes, especially with respect to its use as a valuable biomarker for cancer and …


Soaking up the Competition – Circular RNAs as Molecular Sponges for miRNAs

Numerous families of non-coding RNAs have been identified in mammalian cells, including lncRNA, miRNA, siRNA, and piRNA.  Another type of RNA called circular RNA (circRNA) has remained a mysterious class, as the exact function of these molecules has not been described. Usually, circRNAs result from spicing events and have been …


Starting from Scratch: DNA Methylation Marks Erased Through 5-hmC in Primordial Germ Cells

A growing body of evidence indicates that ancestral environmental factors can influence the physiology and behavior of the offspring, a process known as epigenetic inheritance. However, in each generation the epigenetically inherited modifications are thought to be erased in cells called primordial germ cells (PGCs), the precursors to sperm and …