Could Poor Sleep and Histone Modification Degrade Your Memory?

August 30, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Impaired sleep is a common issue that plagues many people. Not getting enough rest can lead to moodiness, cognitive decline, increased anxiety, and difficulty concentrating or remembering things. It’s estimated that 50-70 million adults in the US have sleep or wakefulness disorder, according to the CDC. But, for something so crucial to our lives, sleep is still shrouded in mystery. Interestingly, previous research has uncovered a link between sleep disorders and memory. Other studies have even shown that short-term sleep [more…]

HDAC and HAT Inhibitors Reprogram Social Behavior in Carpenter Ants

January 26, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Florida carpenter ants, or Camponotus floridanus, are social creatures that can develop into one of two distinct castes of workers – majors or minors. These two types of worker ants display specific differences in foraging and scouting behavior for their entire lives. However, a group of researchers conducted a study at the University of Pennsylvania and discovered that these castes can actually be epigenetically reprogrammed via histone acetylation with the help of epigenetic inhibitors. Surprisingly, the ant’s genetic makeup didn’t [more…]

Histone Deacetylation Turns Cancer-Protecting Cells into Cancer-Killing Cells

September 29, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A significant advancement in cancer research was presented in a recent study conducted by scientists from Cornell University, University of Chicago, and Houston Methodist Hospital. The researchers demonstrated that a specific protein known as a cell surface receptor can cause immune cells to attack malignant tumors as opposed to protecting them via an epigenetic mechanism known as histone deacetylation. The research was published in Nature Communications. CD4+ T-cells, also known as CD4 or helper T-cells, are crucial to the immune [more…]

Epigenetics Holds the Answer to Chemoresistance in Ovarian Cancer Patients

May 14, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A study conducted at Georgia State University and the University of Georgia gives us novel insight into the chemoresistance of ovarian cancer and offers a potential therapeutic approach to overcoming it. Inhibiting enzymes that lead to changes in gene expression could decrease chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer patients, researchers say. Dr. Susanna Greer and her colleagues have identified two enzymes that suppress proteins that regulate cell survival and chemoresistance in ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic [more…]

A Super Brief and Basic Explanation of Epigenetics for Total Beginners

July 30, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

In simplified terms, epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off. What does that mean? Well, if you are new to this whole thing, we first need a quick crash course in biochemistry and genetics: Cells are fundamental working units of every human being. All the instructions required to direct their activities are contained within the chemical deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA. DNA from humans is made up of approximately 3 billion nucleotide [more…]