DNA Methylation and Glucocorticoid Resistance Offers Clues to Improve Cancer Drugs

May 12, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital conducted a study that illuminates a mechanism by which leukemia cells resist steroids, a key factor detrimental to the success of chemotherapy. This discovery could help create more effective cancer drugs and improve the treatment of many autoimmune related diseases. The researchers looked at a certain type of steroid hormones involved in the immune system, known as glucocorticoids. These hormones are crucial components to the chemotherapy drug cocktail that has helped increase long-term [more…]

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Epigenetics

April 7, 2015 Mary Vagula

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a polygenic metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels due to pancreatic beta-cell functional impairment and insulin resistance in tissues such as skeletal muscle, adipose tissue and the liver (1). Millions of people around the globe are diagnosed with diabetes, and its incidence is estimated to double by 2030. It has become one of the most challenging public health issues of 21st century and the fifth leading cause of death worldwide (2). The [more…]

Could Epigenetics Explain the Origins of Allergic Disease?

March 24, 2015 Natalie Crowley

Finally, spring is here – that wonderful time of year when the temperature starts to rise and everything is in bloom. But for many of us, it also marks the beginning of allergy season. That means itchy watery eyes, sneezing, running nose, coughing and overall misery. But allergies don’t just affect people in the spring and they are not all related to weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1), more than 50 million Americans have an allergy [more…]

Inheritance and Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Generations

September 30, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New research has been suggesting that parents can transmit changes to their gene expression to their children. The heritable changes occur as a result of environmental stresses and are known as epigenetic modifications. A previous article covered the epigenetic transfer of nutrition “memory” across several generations. Now, a recent study by researchers from the University of California in Santa Cruz, demonstrates the transferring of epigenetic memory across generations as well as from one cell to another during early development. The [more…]

Identifying Site Specific Methylation in tRNAs and Target Substrates of RNA Methyltransferase NSun2

August 26, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

Currently, DNA methylation is one of the most broadly studied and well-characterized epigenetic modifications associated with gene silencing. The biological importance of 5-mC as a major epigenetic modification in phenotype and gene expression has been widely recognized. DNA hypomethylation is likely caused by methyl-deficiency due to a variety of environmental influences and has been proposed as a molecular marker in multiple biological processes such as cancer. The quantification of 5-mC content or global methylation in diseased or environmentally impacted cells [more…]