Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDNA Methylation and HydroxymethylationHistone Modifications

Put down that water bottle! BPA Exposure Alters Epigenetic Profile in Neurons

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that is present in many consumer products, including plastic bottles and other food and beverage containers.  Although BPA has been used routinely since the 1960s, exposure to BPA has recently gained a lot of attention due to its proposed effect on brain development. …

Chromatin StructureHistone ModificationsTools & Technology

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 …

Aging, Environment, & DiseaseHistone Modifications

Epigenetics of Cocaine Addiction: Your Brain on Drugs

The dramatic behavioral changes induced by cocaine, such as hyperactivity, are accompanied by post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones. These modifications result in altered gene expression in the area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens (NAc), which is associated with pleasure. Past research pointed to the use of histone …

Jeannie Lee lncRNA
Developmental Biology & Stem CellsImprinting and InheritanceRegulatory RNA

Reviewing the Roles of Long noncoding RNAs in Epigenetic Processes

Although RNA has traditionally been thought to act primarily as an intermediate between DNA and protein in the central dogma of molecular biology, these important molecules have received more attention in the last few years for their ability to carry out a wide variety of biological processes, including epigenetic regulation …

DNA Methylation and HydroxymethylationHistone ModificationsImprinting and Inheritance

Teamwork in silencing: histone modifications and DNA methylation

Histone tails that are exposed at the nucleosomal surface are targets for a multitude of covalent modifications, such as acetylation, methylation, and phosphorylation. These post-translational modifications have been shown to function as a ‘histone code’ that coordinates the recruitment of effector proteins and regulates chromatin structure, gene expression, and genome …

Chromatin StructureHistone Modifications

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, …

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 …

Chromatin StructureDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsHistone Modifications

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 …