Hello World

Epigenetic reprogramming key to normal development

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) defines the process in which a somatic cell’s nucleus is removed and then introduced into an enucleated oocyte, or egg cell. Following transfer, the nucleus is reprogrammed by factors in the oocyte such that it now possesses the ability to mitotically divide and form totipotent …


Lost in translation? New findings suggest a critical role for cytosine methylation in tRNAs

While cytosine methylation in the DNA context will continue to be an important marker for epigenetic discoveries, current trends in the cytosine methylation game indicate diverse and critical roles of the modification in the RNA context. Much attention has been paid recently to findings in mRNA methylation, suggesting an important …


AID/APOBEC – Unlikely Contenders for Primary DNA Demethylation Pathway.

Over the past couple of years, extensive efforts have been made to elucidate the 5-methylcytosine demethylation pathway. Two distinctly different families of enzymes were implicated as the most likely candidates.  The TET (ten-eleven translocation) family of α-ketoglutarate-dependent deoxygenases consists of enzymes which iteratively oxidize 5-methylcytosine to 5-carboxylcytosine, and represents one …

Cognitive decline in the brain

Don’t forget about Dnmt’s

There is not a lot of knowledge about the enzymes that influence the molecular pathways underlying the normal aging process. A recent publication in Nature Neuroscience showed that the DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a2 is critically involved in age-associated cognitive decline in mice. Oliveira et al.  found that up regulating Dnmt3a2 can …

Stem Cell Cultures

Differing culture conditions can lead to both reversible and irreversible changes in DNA methylation.

Investigation into the mechanisms of pluripotency in stem cells and their potential applications is ongoing.  It is of utmost importance that these cells be propagated stably, both for the consistency of data within the scientific community and then also for potential clinical applications.  How do culture conditions impact methylation and …

Mouse embryonic stem cells

How is DNA Methylation Maintained in ESCs and Differentiated Cells?

DNA methylation has been shown to be very important for development, differentiation, and aging.  But how is DNA methylation maintained?  When and how does de novo DNA methylation occur?  Are there specific DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts) involved in non-symmetric DNA methylation or DNA methylation outside of the CpG context?  There have …

5mC and 5hmC

Maternal instincts: Protection of 5mC?

DNA modification by 5-methylcytosine (5mC) was the only recognized DNA modification for many years in mammals and 5mC plays important roles in cell differentiation and development. Recently, a novel 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) DNA modification has been reported and the balance between 5mC and 5hmC in the genome is a critical step …


Epigenetic Regulation is Involved in Host Antiviral Defense Mechanisms

Influenza is the virus that causes the flu, and can result in serious, sometimes fatal infections.  Influenza virus is easily transmitted within a population raising concerns of it causing an epidemic, or worse, a pandemic.  In recent years, the highly pathogenic H5N1 and H1N1 viruses have caused thousands of deaths …