Book Review: Epigenetics by Lyle Armstrong

January 13, 2014 Milka Rodriguez

The study of epigenetics has been around for some time, but to many it is still a relatively new field of research. Not that much is written about it or easy to reference on the web. That’s why we were thrilled when Garland Science announced its newest publication, Epigenetics by Lyle Armstrong, PhD, Newcastle University. This easy to follow and well-written scientific textbook brings together the structure and machinery of epigenetic modification, how epigenetic modification controls cellular functions, and the [more…]

Our Parents’ Lives Could Influence Memories Through Epigenetics

January 7, 2014 WhatIsEpigenetics

The scientists at Emory University School of Medicine showed new evidence that our parents’ behaviors before we are born may have a bigger influence on us than we previously imagined, although we know our parents have a big impact on our lives. The scientists used olfactory molecular specificity to examine the inheritance of parental traumatic exposure, a phenomenon that has been frequently observed, but not understood. They subjected F0 mice to odor fear conditioning before conception and found that subsequently [more…]

Folate Deficiency in a Father’s Diet Could Cause Negative Pregnancy Outcomes by Changing Sperm Epigenome

December 18, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

Scientists at McGill University, Canada reported that folate deficiency in a father’s diet could increase birth defects in the offspring by altering sperm epigenome. These defects include craniofacial and musculoskeletal malformations. The scientists fed male mice either a folate-deficient or folate-sufficient diet throughout life and then performed genome-wide DNA methylation analysis and subsequent functional analysis to identify differential methylation in sperm of genes implicated in development, and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. They found that >300 [more…]

The Epigenetic Landscape is a Key Determinant of Gene Expression Reprogramming in Cardiac Hypertrophy

December 4, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

The epigenetic signature for cardiac hypertrophy, which can progress to heart failure through an adaptive response of the myocardium to stress, is still poorly understood. The scientists at Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Rozzano, Italy report on the genome-wide distribution of seven histone modifications in adult mouse cardiomyocytes subjected to a prohypertrophy stimulus in vivo. They found a set of promoters with an epigenetic pattern that distinguishes specific functional classes of genes regulated in hypertrophy and identified 9,207 candidate active [more…]

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…]

Accurately Telling the Age of Human Tissues and Cells by DNA Methylation Clock

November 11, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

External signs of the human body’s age can be given by wrinkles and graying hair. However, these signs may not be accurate to tell the age of human tissues and cells that construct your body. Geneticist and biomathematician Steve Horvath at the University of California Los Angeles has developed a multi-tissue predictor of age that enables one to estimate the age of most tissues and cell types based on DNA methylation that can selectively switch off genes. This age predictor was [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…]

Simple Blood Test of DNA Methylation Markers Promises Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

November 1, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

The scientists at Johns Hopkins University used a genome-wide pharmacologic transcriptome approach to identify two novel cancer-specific DNA methylation markers in cultured pancreatic cancer cells: BNC1 and ADAMTS1. Using a nanoparticle-enabled MOB (Methylation On Beads) technology, they found that these two markers are also frequently detected in serum samples of pancreatic cancer patients (N = 42) with a sensitivity for BNC1 of 79% and for ADAMTS1 of 48%, while the specificity was 89% for BNC1 and 92% for ADAMTS1. Overall [more…]

New Study Shows Epigenetic Process Controls Cancer-Killing Cells

October 1, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

A new study from the scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) describes for the first time how natural killer (NK) cells, which are able to kill and contain viruses and cancerous tumors in the human body, can be manipulated by epigenetics. Through a series of experiments in mice, these scientists found that MYSM1, an enzyme in the body’s immune system that turns genes on and off by modifying proteins called histones embedded in DNA, is required for natural [more…]

Targeting Noncoding RNAs in Disease: Challenges and Opportunities

September 13, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

Noncoding RNAs make up the majority of transcribed RNA and have a wide range of functions in cellular and developmental processes. Consequently, they are also implicated in the development and pathophysiology of many diseases and represent potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Scientists found that effective in vivo inhibition (or silencing) of microRNA, one class of noncoding RNA, has enabled to make groundbreaking discoveries about the contribution of these short regulating RNAs to some of the major human diseases, such as [more…]

1 22 23 24 25

WIE-logo-icon

If you like reading our articles…

Join our e-newsletter! Stay up-to-date with our weekly posts on epigenetics and health, nutrition, exercise, and more.