RNA-Methylation-Dependent RNA Processing Controls the Speed of the Circadian Clock

November 18, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

Circadian rhythms are the physiological changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, such as the sleep-wake cycle. They are found in most living things including animals, plants and fungi. The mammalian circadian biological clock regulates metabolism via a negative transcription-translation feedback loop of clock genes. Histone protein methylation is an epigenetic modification which has been suggested to be involved in circadian clock regulation; however, the role of RNA methylation in this process is still unknown. The most common and abundant [more…]

Vitamin C Modulates TET1 Function During Somatic Cell Reprogramming

November 1, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

Cellular reprogramming of somatic cells to a pluripotent state (an undetermined state in which a cell is capable of differentiating to all of the various cell types of the body) is accompanied by several epigenetic changes including genome-wide resetting of DNA methylation status. Vitamin C, an essential nutrient for humans, is involved in several metabolic pathways and in the prevention of conditions such as scurvy. Vitamin C was recently found to promote the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) [more…]

DNMT1-Interacting RNAs Block Gene-Specific DNA Methylation

October 16, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

5-methylcytosine is found in the context of paired symmetrical methylation of a CpG site. In normal somatic cells, most CpG sites are heavily methylated, while CpG islands (sites of CpG clusters) in germ-line tissues and located near promoters, remain unmethylated thus allowing gene expression to occur.  When a CpG island in the promoter region of a gene is methylated, expression of the gene is repressed. The addition of methyl groups is controlled at several different levels in cells and is [more…]

Chromatin Remodelers Fine-Tune H3K36me-Directed Deacetylation of Neighbor Nucleosomes by Rpd3S

September 30, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

To form chromatin, DNA is tightly wrapped around nuclear proteins called histones. The repeating DNA-histone complex, which consists of 146 base pairs of double-stranded DNA wrapped around eight core histone proteins (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4), is called a nucleosome. Histone proteins are involved in structural organization of chromatin in eukaryotic cells. They can undergo various posttranslational modifications (PTMs) such as methylation/demethylation and acetylation/deacetylation, which can alter their interaction with DNA and nuclear proteins resulting in remodeling of chromatin structure [more…]

Epigenetic Memory at Embryonic Enhancers Identified in DNA Maps from Adult Mouse Tissues

September 13, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

In human DNA, 5-methylcytosine is found in approximately 1.5% of genomic DNA. In somatic cells, 5-mC occurs almost exclusively in the context of paired symmetrical methylation of a CpG site. An exception to this is seen in embryonic stem (ES) cells, where a substantial amount of 5-mC is also observed in non-CpG contexts. In the bulk of genomic DNA, most CpG sites are heavily methylated while CpG islands (sites of CpG clusters) in germ-line tissues and located near promoters of [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…]

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