What is Epigenetics technical articles are geared towards epigenetic research techniques, news, and trends in the field of epigenetics, written by scientists from universities and institutions including UCLA, Hofstra, NIH, Johns Hopkins, and more.

Explore in detail new epigenetic research techniques and tips for topics like next-generation sequencing (NGS) in epigenetics, m6A RNA methylation, CRISPR/Cas9 system epigenetic editing, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) protocol optimization, and single-cell epigenomics methods.

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Erasure of Tet-Oxidized 5-Methylcytosine by SRAP1

February 9, 2018 Estephany Ferrufino

DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic mechanism that plays a critical role in the regulation of gene expression during embryonic development. The erasure of Tet-oxidized 5-Methylcytosine (5-mC) is not only important during the reprogramming steps but as well as the cell differentiation stages of development. In their study, Kweon et al. (2017) have shown that the SOS response-associated peptidase domain protein, SRAP1, binds to Tet-oxidized forms of 5-mC in DNA and selectively cleave DNA containing Tet-oxidized 5-methylcytosine. They also reveal [more…]

CRISPR/Cas9-Based Engineering of the Epigenome

January 25, 2018 Estephany Ferrufino

It is a challenge to determine a cause and effect relationship between a distinct epigenetic mark and the ultimate behavior and function of the affected cell. However, CRISPR/Cas9 has provided the opportunity for investigators to manipulate the epigenome and observe the effects that it may have on cell function, development, and differentiation. The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been further expanded with the engineering of the nuclease-deficient version, dCas9, which can be used to directly manipulate a specific regulatory region or epigenetic [more…]

Temporal Control of Mammalian Cortical Neurogenesis by m6A Methylation

January 4, 2018 Estephany Ferrufino

Neurogenesis is a highly coordinated process with sequential waves of tightly controlled changes in gene expression. N6-Methyladenosine (m6A), is believed to play a role in the epitranscriptomic mechanism that controls mammalian cortical neurogenesis. M6A is the most abundant modification in mRNA and is found in most eukaryotic cells. It is installed by the methyltransferase complex, consisting of methyltransferase-like 3 (Mettl3) and methyltransferase-like 14 (Mettl14) as the SAM-binding sub-unit. The role of m6A modification in cancer has previously been investigated. Now, [more…]

An Overview of Single-Cell Epigenomics Methods

December 7, 2017 Estephany Ferrufino

Although cells have the same genetic material, they can function differently. Single-cell RNA sequencing has revealed how heterogeneous the transriptome of an individual cell may be with a homogeneous cell population or tissue.  Single-cell genome sequencing has provided insights into genomic variations that occur in physiology and in diseases. Today we can probe the majority of epigenetic dimensions with single-cell resolution through multiple methods (Table 1). Studying individual cells offers insight into molecular components of the genome and its functional [more…]

A Novel Role for RNA Methylation (m6A) in the DNA Damage Response

May 18, 2017 Blanca Valle

Every day our cells undergo substantial amounts of DNA damage from exogenous and endogenous sources. UV light, in particular, can cause an estimated 100,000 lesions per cell every day. Left unrepaired, these DNA lesions could lead to induction of senescence, cell death or mutations, which could be responsible for the development of cancer, neurodegeneration and several other diseases. However, our organisms have developed a mechanism to recognize the DNA damage caused by UV light and other damaging agents, in the [more…]

Sunshine and Epigenetics: Altering Histone Variant H2A.Z Turnover and Gene Expression in Rice Seedlings

March 7, 2017 Sadman Sakib

Have you ever thought of how the day-night cycle can epigenetically affect plants? Latest research from Zhang et al. has shown a possible mechanism of how histone variants can negatively regulate gene expression in day-night cycles of rice seedling tissues. This paves a way for an exciting area of research of how histone variants can be differentially deposited in a very short time span, in order to fine tune the transcription due to the environmental stimuli in plants. Histones variants, [more…]

Introducing WERAM: Find Integrated Info on Your Histone Regulator in Your Favorite Species

January 5, 2017 Blanca Valle

Recently Dr. Yu Xue’s group, at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, developed a database designated as Eukaryotic Writers, Erasers and Readers protein of Histone Acetylation and Methylation system Database (WERAM). WERAM is a comprehensive database containing integrated information on the writers, erasers, and readers of histone acetylation and methylation. Namely writers are the enzymes that catalyze acetylation and methylation, the erasers are the enzymes that remove these marks, and the readers are proteins that recognize and interact [more…]

Editing DNA Methylation Using CRISPR/Cas9

November 29, 2016 Estephany Ferrufino

Gene expression is controlled on several levels from DNA sequence to post-transcriptional changes. Epigenetics demonstrate that gene expression can be controlled by chemical changes in the DNA such as methylation. Since the discovery of epigenetics, researchers have been attempting to produce effective methods to alter the methylation status of select genes. This would enable researchers to effectively turn on or off target genes without affecting the genetic code. Liu et al. (2016) have repurposed the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit DNA [more…]

The Epigenetic Marks of Circulating Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA)

September 16, 2016 Blanca Valle

Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) are small DNA fragments found circulating in plasma or serum, as well as other bodily fluids. The cfDNA isolated from plasma usually contains fragments of about ~170-500 bp, mostly corresponding to ~170 bp mononucleosomal and ~300 bp dinucleosomal DNA fragments [1,2], thought to arise mostly from apoptotic cells. In addition, larger fragments (>1,000 bp) are often detected, thought to arise mostly from necrotic cells. In healthy individuals, the levels of cfDNA in plasma/serum are generally low, ranging between [more…]

Histone variant H2A.Z underlies inactivation of activity-dependent gene expression in learned behavior

August 23, 2016 Caitlin Aamodt

Over the past decade discoveries about the role of epigenetic mechanisms in learning and memory have changed the way scientists think about cognition 1. The most well characterized to date are histone acetylation and DNA methylation, but more recently discovered epigenetic mechanisms are continuing to shape researchers’ understandings of transcriptional regulation in post-mitotic neurons. Chromatin is made up of nucleosomes, which are 147 base pairs of DNA wrapped around a histone octomer. The canonical histones that organize DNA at the [more…]

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