Losing Heterochromatin to Determine Cell Fate
Chromatin StructureDevelopmental Biology & Stem Cells

Losing Heterochromatin to Determine Cell Fate

In the moments after fertilization, the tiny mass that is the embryo sets in motion developmental programs that will transform it into a human being. One of the earliest steps in human development is the formation of the germ layers. Humans and other animals in the Chordata phylum, have three …

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Chromatin StructureDevelopmental Biology & Stem Cells

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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Aging, Environment, & DiseaseChromatin StructureHistone Modifications

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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Chromatin StructureDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsRegulatory RNA

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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