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Sample records for epigenetic gene-regulatory model

  1. Computational challenges in modeling gene regulatory events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pataskar, Abhijeet; Tiwari, Vijay K

    2016-10-19

    Cellular transcriptional programs driven by genetic and epigenetic mechanisms could be better understood by integrating "omics" data and subsequently modeling the gene-regulatory events. Toward this end, computational biology should keep pace with evolving experimental procedures and data availability. This article gives an exemplified account of the current computational challenges in molecular biology.

  2. Current approaches to gene regulatory network modelling

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    Brazma Alvis

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Many different approaches have been developed to model and simulate gene regulatory networks. We proposed the following categories for gene regulatory network models: network parts lists, network topology models, network control logic models, and dynamic models. Here we will describe some examples for each of these categories. We will study the topology of gene regulatory networks in yeast in more detail, comparing a direct network derived from transcription factor binding data and an indirect network derived from genome-wide expression data in mutants. Regarding the network dynamics we briefly describe discrete and continuous approaches to network modelling, then describe a hybrid model called Finite State Linear Model and demonstrate that some simple network dynamics can be simulated in this model.

  3. Sparsity in Model Gene Regulatory Networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zagorski, M.

    2011-01-01

    We propose a gene regulatory network model which incorporates the microscopic interactions between genes and transcription factors. In particular the gene's expression level is determined by deterministic synchronous dynamics with contribution from excitatory interactions. We study the structure of networks that have a particular '' function '' and are subject to the natural selection pressure. The question of network robustness against point mutations is addressed, and we conclude that only a small part of connections defined as '' essential '' for cell's existence is fragile. Additionally, the obtained networks are sparse with narrow in-degree and broad out-degree, properties well known from experimental study of biological regulatory networks. Furthermore, during sampling procedure we observe that significantly different genotypes can emerge under mutation-selection balance. All the preceding features hold for the model parameters which lay in the experimentally relevant range. (author)

  4. Simple mathematical models of gene regulatory dynamics

    CERN Document Server

    Mackey, Michael C; Tyran-Kamińska, Marta; Zeron, Eduardo S

    2016-01-01

    This is a short and self-contained introduction to the field of mathematical modeling of gene-networks in bacteria. As an entry point to the field, we focus on the analysis of simple gene-network dynamics. The notes commence with an introduction to the deterministic modeling of gene-networks, with extensive reference to applicable results coming from dynamical systems theory. The second part of the notes treats extensively several approaches to the study of gene-network dynamics in the presence of noise—either arising from low numbers of molecules involved, or due to noise external to the regulatory process. The third and final part of the notes gives a detailed treatment of three well studied and concrete examples of gene-network dynamics by considering the lactose operon, the tryptophan operon, and the lysis-lysogeny switch. The notes contain an index for easy location of particular topics as well as an extensive bibliography of the current literature. The target audience of these notes are mainly graduat...

  5. Modeling stochasticity and robustness in gene regulatory networks.

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    Garg, Abhishek; Mohanram, Kartik; Di Cara, Alessandro; De Micheli, Giovanni; Xenarios, Ioannis

    2009-06-15

    Understanding gene regulation in biological processes and modeling the robustness of underlying regulatory networks is an important problem that is currently being addressed by computational systems biologists. Lately, there has been a renewed interest in Boolean modeling techniques for gene regulatory networks (GRNs). However, due to their deterministic nature, it is often difficult to identify whether these modeling approaches are robust to the addition of stochastic noise that is widespread in gene regulatory processes. Stochasticity in Boolean models of GRNs has been addressed relatively sparingly in the past, mainly by flipping the expression of genes between different expression levels with a predefined probability. This stochasticity in nodes (SIN) model leads to over representation of noise in GRNs and hence non-correspondence with biological observations. In this article, we introduce the stochasticity in functions (SIF) model for simulating stochasticity in Boolean models of GRNs. By providing biological motivation behind the use of the SIF model and applying it to the T-helper and T-cell activation networks, we show that the SIF model provides more biologically robust results than the existing SIN model of stochasticity in GRNs. Algorithms are made available under our Boolean modeling toolbox, GenYsis. The software binaries can be downloaded from http://si2.epfl.ch/ approximately garg/genysis.html.

  6. Synchronous versus asynchronous modeling of gene regulatory networks.

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    Garg, Abhishek; Di Cara, Alessandro; Xenarios, Ioannis; Mendoza, Luis; De Micheli, Giovanni

    2008-09-01

    In silico modeling of gene regulatory networks has gained some momentum recently due to increased interest in analyzing the dynamics of biological systems. This has been further facilitated by the increasing availability of experimental data on gene-gene, protein-protein and gene-protein interactions. The two dynamical properties that are often experimentally testable are perturbations and stable steady states. Although a lot of work has been done on the identification of steady states, not much work has been reported on in silico modeling of cellular differentiation processes. In this manuscript, we provide algorithms based on reduced ordered binary decision diagrams (ROBDDs) for Boolean modeling of gene regulatory networks. Algorithms for synchronous and asynchronous transition models have been proposed and their corresponding computational properties have been analyzed. These algorithms allow users to compute cyclic attractors of large networks that are currently not feasible using existing software. Hereby we provide a framework to analyze the effect of multiple gene perturbation protocols, and their effect on cell differentiation processes. These algorithms were validated on the T-helper model showing the correct steady state identification and Th1-Th2 cellular differentiation process. The software binaries for Windows and Linux platforms can be downloaded from http://si2.epfl.ch/~garg/genysis.html.

  7. Comparison of evolutionary algorithms in gene regulatory network model inference.

    LENUS (Irish Health Repository)

    2010-01-01

    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The evolution of high throughput technologies that measure gene expression levels has created a data base for inferring GRNs (a process also known as reverse engineering of GRNs). However, the nature of these data has made this process very difficult. At the moment, several methods of discovering qualitative causal relationships between genes with high accuracy from microarray data exist, but large scale quantitative analysis on real biological datasets cannot be performed, to date, as existing approaches are not suitable for real microarray data which are noisy and insufficient. RESULTS: This paper performs an analysis of several existing evolutionary algorithms for quantitative gene regulatory network modelling. The aim is to present the techniques used and offer a comprehensive comparison of approaches, under a common framework. Algorithms are applied to both synthetic and real gene expression data from DNA microarrays, and ability to reproduce biological behaviour, scalability and robustness to noise are assessed and compared. CONCLUSIONS: Presented is a comparison framework for assessment of evolutionary algorithms, used to infer gene regulatory networks. Promising methods are identified and a platform for development of appropriate model formalisms is established.

  8. Analysis of deterministic cyclic gene regulatory network models with delays

    CERN Document Server

    Ahsen, Mehmet Eren; Niculescu, Silviu-Iulian

    2015-01-01

    This brief examines a deterministic, ODE-based model for gene regulatory networks (GRN) that incorporates nonlinearities and time-delayed feedback. An introductory chapter provides some insights into molecular biology and GRNs. The mathematical tools necessary for studying the GRN model are then reviewed, in particular Hill functions and Schwarzian derivatives. One chapter is devoted to the analysis of GRNs under negative feedback with time delays and a special case of a homogenous GRN is considered. Asymptotic stability analysis of GRNs under positive feedback is then considered in a separate chapter, in which conditions leading to bi-stability are derived. Graduate and advanced undergraduate students and researchers in control engineering, applied mathematics, systems biology and synthetic biology will find this brief to be a clear and concise introduction to the modeling and analysis of GRNs.

  9. Algebraic model checking for Boolean gene regulatory networks.

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    Tran, Quoc-Nam

    2011-01-01

    We present a computational method in which modular and Groebner bases (GB) computation in Boolean rings are used for solving problems in Boolean gene regulatory networks (BN). In contrast to other known algebraic approaches, the degree of intermediate polynomials during the calculation of Groebner bases using our method will never grow resulting in a significant improvement in running time and memory space consumption. We also show how calculation in temporal logic for model checking can be done by means of our direct and efficient Groebner basis computation in Boolean rings. We present our experimental results in finding attractors and control strategies of Boolean networks to illustrate our theoretical arguments. The results are promising. Our algebraic approach is more efficient than the state-of-the-art model checker NuSMV on BNs. More importantly, our approach finds all solutions for the BN problems.

  10. Sequence-based model of gap gene regulatory network.

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    Kozlov, Konstantin; Gursky, Vitaly; Kulakovskiy, Ivan; Samsonova, Maria

    2014-01-01

    The detailed analysis of transcriptional regulation is crucially important for understanding biological processes. The gap gene network in Drosophila attracts large interest among researches studying mechanisms of transcriptional regulation. It implements the most upstream regulatory layer of the segmentation gene network. The knowledge of molecular mechanisms involved in gap gene regulation is far less complete than that of genetics of the system. Mathematical modeling goes beyond insights gained by genetics and molecular approaches. It allows us to reconstruct wild-type gene expression patterns in silico, infer underlying regulatory mechanism and prove its sufficiency. We developed a new model that provides a dynamical description of gap gene regulatory systems, using detailed DNA-based information, as well as spatial transcription factor concentration data at varying time points. We showed that this model correctly reproduces gap gene expression patterns in wild type embryos and is able to predict gap expression patterns in Kr mutants and four reporter constructs. We used four-fold cross validation test and fitting to random dataset to validate the model and proof its sufficiency in data description. The identifiability analysis showed that most model parameters are well identifiable. We reconstructed the gap gene network topology and studied the impact of individual transcription factor binding sites on the model output. We measured this impact by calculating the site regulatory weight as a normalized difference between the residual sum of squares error for the set of all annotated sites and for the set with the site of interest excluded. The reconstructed topology of the gap gene network is in agreement with previous modeling results and data from literature. We showed that 1) the regulatory weights of transcription factor binding sites show very weak correlation with their PWM score; 2) sites with low regulatory weight are important for the model output; 3

  11. Mutual information and the fidelity of response of gene regulatory models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tabbaa, Omar P; Jayaprakash, C

    2014-01-01

    We investigate cellular response to extracellular signals by using information theory techniques motivated by recent experiments. We present results for the steady state of the following gene regulatory models found in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells: a linear transcription-translation model and a positive or negative auto-regulatory model. We calculate both the information capacity and the mutual information exactly for simple models and approximately for the full model. We find that (1) small changes in mutual information can lead to potentially important changes in cellular response and (2) there are diminishing returns in the fidelity of response as the mutual information increases. We calculate the information capacity using Gillespie simulations of a model for the TNF-α-NF-κ B network and find good agreement with the measured value for an experimental realization of this network. Our results provide a quantitative understanding of the differences in cellular response when comparing experimentally measured mutual information values of different gene regulatory models. Our calculations demonstrate that Gillespie simulations can be used to compute the mutual information of more complex gene regulatory models, providing a potentially useful tool in synthetic biology. (paper)

  12. Mining Gene Regulatory Networks by Neural Modeling of Expression Time-Series.

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    Rubiolo, Mariano; Milone, Diego H; Stegmayer, Georgina

    2015-01-01

    Discovering gene regulatory networks from data is one of the most studied topics in recent years. Neural networks can be successfully used to infer an underlying gene network by modeling expression profiles as times series. This work proposes a novel method based on a pool of neural networks for obtaining a gene regulatory network from a gene expression dataset. They are used for modeling each possible interaction between pairs of genes in the dataset, and a set of mining rules is applied to accurately detect the subjacent relations among genes. The results obtained on artificial and real datasets confirm the method effectiveness for discovering regulatory networks from a proper modeling of the temporal dynamics of gene expression profiles.

  13. Large-scale modeling of condition-specific gene regulatory networks by information integration and inference.

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    Ellwanger, Daniel Christian; Leonhardt, Jörn Florian; Mewes, Hans-Werner

    2014-12-01

    Understanding how regulatory networks globally coordinate the response of a cell to changing conditions, such as perturbations by shifting environments, is an elementary challenge in systems biology which has yet to be met. Genome-wide gene expression measurements are high dimensional as these are reflecting the condition-specific interplay of thousands of cellular components. The integration of prior biological knowledge into the modeling process of systems-wide gene regulation enables the large-scale interpretation of gene expression signals in the context of known regulatory relations. We developed COGERE (http://mips.helmholtz-muenchen.de/cogere), a method for the inference of condition-specific gene regulatory networks in human and mouse. We integrated existing knowledge of regulatory interactions from multiple sources to a comprehensive model of prior information. COGERE infers condition-specific regulation by evaluating the mutual dependency between regulator (transcription factor or miRNA) and target gene expression using prior information. This dependency is scored by the non-parametric, nonlinear correlation coefficient η(2) (eta squared) that is derived by a two-way analysis of variance. We show that COGERE significantly outperforms alternative methods in predicting condition-specific gene regulatory networks on simulated data sets. Furthermore, by inferring the cancer-specific gene regulatory network from the NCI-60 expression study, we demonstrate the utility of COGERE to promote hypothesis-driven clinical research. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  14. Challenges for modeling global gene regulatory networks during development: insights from Drosophila.

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    Wilczynski, Bartek; Furlong, Eileen E M

    2010-04-15

    Development is regulated by dynamic patterns of gene expression, which are orchestrated through the action of complex gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Substantial progress has been made in modeling transcriptional regulation in recent years, including qualitative "coarse-grain" models operating at the gene level to very "fine-grain" quantitative models operating at the biophysical "transcription factor-DNA level". Recent advances in genome-wide studies have revealed an enormous increase in the size and complexity or GRNs. Even relatively simple developmental processes can involve hundreds of regulatory molecules, with extensive interconnectivity and cooperative regulation. This leads to an explosion in the number of regulatory functions, effectively impeding Boolean-based qualitative modeling approaches. At the same time, the lack of information on the biophysical properties for the majority of transcription factors within a global network restricts quantitative approaches. In this review, we explore the current challenges in moving from modeling medium scale well-characterized networks to more poorly characterized global networks. We suggest to integrate coarse- and find-grain approaches to model gene regulatory networks in cis. We focus on two very well-studied examples from Drosophila, which likely represent typical developmental regulatory modules across metazoans. Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Boolean Dynamic Modeling Approaches to Study Plant Gene Regulatory Networks: Integration, Validation, and Prediction.

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    Velderraín, José Dávila; Martínez-García, Juan Carlos; Álvarez-Buylla, Elena R

    2017-01-01

    Mathematical models based on dynamical systems theory are well-suited tools for the integration of available molecular experimental data into coherent frameworks in order to propose hypotheses about the cooperative regulatory mechanisms driving developmental processes. Computational analysis of the proposed models using well-established methods enables testing the hypotheses by contrasting predictions with observations. Within such framework, Boolean gene regulatory network dynamical models have been extensively used in modeling plant development. Boolean models are simple and intuitively appealing, ideal tools for collaborative efforts between theorists and experimentalists. In this chapter we present protocols used in our group for the study of diverse plant developmental processes. We focus on conceptual clarity and practical implementation, providing directions to the corresponding technical literature.

  16. Model checking optimal finite-horizon control for probabilistic gene regulatory networks.

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    Wei, Ou; Guo, Zonghao; Niu, Yun; Liao, Wenyuan

    2017-12-14

    Probabilistic Boolean networks (PBNs) have been proposed for analyzing external control in gene regulatory networks with incorporation of uncertainty. A context-sensitive PBN with perturbation (CS-PBNp), extending a PBN with context-sensitivity to reflect the inherent biological stability and random perturbations to express the impact of external stimuli, is considered to be more suitable for modeling small biological systems intervened by conditions from the outside. In this paper, we apply probabilistic model checking, a formal verification technique, to optimal control for a CS-PBNp that minimizes the expected cost over a finite control horizon. We first describe a procedure of modeling a CS-PBNp using the language provided by a widely used probabilistic model checker PRISM. We then analyze the reward-based temporal properties and the computation in probabilistic model checking; based on the analysis, we provide a method to formulate the optimal control problem as minimum reachability reward properties. Furthermore, we incorporate control and state cost information into the PRISM code of a CS-PBNp such that automated model checking a minimum reachability reward property on the code gives the solution to the optimal control problem. We conduct experiments on two examples, an apoptosis network and a WNT5A network. Preliminary experiment results show the feasibility and effectiveness of our approach. The approach based on probabilistic model checking for optimal control avoids explicit computation of large-size state transition relations associated with PBNs. It enables a natural depiction of the dynamics of gene regulatory networks, and provides a canonical form to formulate optimal control problems using temporal properties that can be automated solved by leveraging the analysis power of underlying model checking engines. This work will be helpful for further utilization of the advances in formal verification techniques in system biology.

  17. Inference of gene regulatory networks with sparse structural equation models exploiting genetic perturbations.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaodong Cai

    Full Text Available Integrating genetic perturbations with gene expression data not only improves accuracy of regulatory network topology inference, but also enables learning of causal regulatory relations between genes. Although a number of methods have been developed to integrate both types of data, the desiderata of efficient and powerful algorithms still remains. In this paper, sparse structural equation models (SEMs are employed to integrate both gene expression data and cis-expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL, for modeling gene regulatory networks in accordance with biological evidence about genes regulating or being regulated by a small number of genes. A systematic inference method named sparsity-aware maximum likelihood (SML is developed for SEM estimation. Using simulated directed acyclic or cyclic networks, the SML performance is compared with that of two state-of-the-art algorithms: the adaptive Lasso (AL based scheme, and the QTL-directed dependency graph (QDG method. Computer simulations demonstrate that the novel SML algorithm offers significantly better performance than the AL-based and QDG algorithms across all sample sizes from 100 to 1,000, in terms of detection power and false discovery rate, in all the cases tested that include acyclic or cyclic networks of 10, 30 and 300 genes. The SML method is further applied to infer a network of 39 human genes that are related to the immune function and are chosen to have a reliable eQTL per gene. The resulting network consists of 9 genes and 13 edges. Most of the edges represent interactions reasonably expected from experimental evidence, while the remaining may just indicate the emergence of new interactions. The sparse SEM and efficient SML algorithm provide an effective means of exploiting both gene expression and perturbation data to infer gene regulatory networks. An open-source computer program implementing the SML algorithm is freely available upon request.

  18. A comparative study of covariance selection models for the inference of gene regulatory networks.

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    Stifanelli, Patrizia F; Creanza, Teresa M; Anglani, Roberto; Liuzzi, Vania C; Mukherjee, Sayan; Schena, Francesco P; Ancona, Nicola

    2013-10-01

    The inference, or 'reverse-engineering', of gene regulatory networks from expression data and the description of the complex dependency structures among genes are open issues in modern molecular biology. In this paper we compared three regularized methods of covariance selection for the inference of gene regulatory networks, developed to circumvent the problems raising when the number of observations n is smaller than the number of genes p. The examined approaches provided three alternative estimates of the inverse covariance matrix: (a) the 'PINV' method is based on the Moore-Penrose pseudoinverse, (b) the 'RCM' method performs correlation between regression residuals and (c) 'ℓ(2C)' method maximizes a properly regularized log-likelihood function. Our extensive simulation studies showed that ℓ(2C) outperformed the other two methods having the most predictive partial correlation estimates and the highest values of sensitivity to infer conditional dependencies between genes even when a few number of observations was available. The application of this method for inferring gene networks of the isoprenoid biosynthesis pathways in Arabidopsis thaliana allowed to enlighten a negative partial correlation coefficient between the two hubs in the two isoprenoid pathways and, more importantly, provided an evidence of cross-talk between genes in the plastidial and the cytosolic pathways. When applied to gene expression data relative to a signature of HRAS oncogene in human cell cultures, the method revealed 9 genes (p-value<0.0005) directly interacting with HRAS, sharing the same Ras-responsive binding site for the transcription factor RREB1. This result suggests that the transcriptional activation of these genes is mediated by a common transcription factor downstream of Ras signaling. Software implementing the methods in the form of Matlab scripts are available at: http://users.ba.cnr.it/issia/iesina18/CovSelModelsCodes.zip. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by

  19. Neural model of gene regulatory network: a survey on supportive meta-heuristics.

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    Biswas, Surama; Acharyya, Sriyankar

    2016-06-01

    Gene regulatory network (GRN) is produced as a result of regulatory interactions between different genes through their coded proteins in cellular context. Having immense importance in disease detection and drug finding, GRN has been modelled through various mathematical and computational schemes and reported in survey articles. Neural and neuro-fuzzy models have been the focus of attraction in bioinformatics. Predominant use of meta-heuristic algorithms in training neural models has proved its excellence. Considering these facts, this paper is organized to survey neural modelling schemes of GRN and the efficacy of meta-heuristic algorithms towards parameter learning (i.e. weighting connections) within the model. This survey paper renders two different structure-related approaches to infer GRN which are global structure approach and substructure approach. It also describes two neural modelling schemes, such as artificial neural network/recurrent neural network based modelling and neuro-fuzzy modelling. The meta-heuristic algorithms applied so far to learn the structure and parameters of neutrally modelled GRN have been reviewed here.

  20. Computational modeling identifies key gene regulatory interactions underlying phenobarbital-mediated tumor promotion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luisier, Raphaëlle; Unterberger, Elif B.; Goodman, Jay I.; Schwarz, Michael; Moggs, Jonathan; Terranova, Rémi; van Nimwegen, Erik

    2014-01-01

    Gene regulatory interactions underlying the early stages of non-genotoxic carcinogenesis are poorly understood. Here, we have identified key candidate regulators of phenobarbital (PB)-mediated mouse liver tumorigenesis, a well-characterized model of non-genotoxic carcinogenesis, by applying a new computational modeling approach to a comprehensive collection of in vivo gene expression studies. We have combined our previously developed motif activity response analysis (MARA), which models gene expression patterns in terms of computationally predicted transcription factor binding sites with singular value decomposition (SVD) of the inferred motif activities, to disentangle the roles that different transcriptional regulators play in specific biological pathways of tumor promotion. Furthermore, transgenic mouse models enabled us to identify which of these regulatory activities was downstream of constitutive androstane receptor and β-catenin signaling, both crucial components of PB-mediated liver tumorigenesis. We propose novel roles for E2F and ZFP161 in PB-mediated hepatocyte proliferation and suggest that PB-mediated suppression of ESR1 activity contributes to the development of a tumor-prone environment. Our study shows that combining MARA with SVD allows for automated identification of independent transcription regulatory programs within a complex in vivo tissue environment and provides novel mechanistic insights into PB-mediated hepatocarcinogenesis. PMID:24464994

  1. An Organismal Model for Gene Regulatory Networks in the Gut-Associated Immune Response

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    Katherine M. Buckley

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available The gut epithelium is an ancient site of complex communication between the animal immune system and the microbial world. While elements of self-non-self receptors and effector mechanisms differ greatly among animal phyla, some aspects of recognition, regulation, and response are broadly conserved. A gene regulatory network (GRN approach provides a means to investigate the nature of this conservation and divergence even as more peripheral functional details remain incompletely understood. The sea urchin embryo is an unparalleled experimental model for detangling the GRNs that govern embryonic development. By applying this theoretical framework to the free swimming, feeding larval stage of the purple sea urchin, it is possible to delineate the conserved regulatory circuitry that regulates the gut-associated immune response. This model provides a morphologically simple system in which to efficiently unravel regulatory connections that are phylogenetically relevant to immunity in vertebrates. Here, we review the organism-wide cellular and transcriptional immune response of the sea urchin larva. A large set of transcription factors and signal systems, including epithelial expression of interleukin 17 (IL17, are important mediators in the activation of the early gut-associated response. Many of these have homologs that are active in vertebrate immunity, while others are ancient in animals but absent in vertebrates or specific to echinoderms. This larval model provides a means to experimentally characterize immune function encoded in the sea urchin genome and the regulatory interconnections that control immune response and resolution across the tissues of the organism.

  2. Recurrent neural network-based modeling of gene regulatory network using elephant swarm water search algorithm.

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    Mandal, Sudip; Saha, Goutam; Pal, Rajat Kumar

    2017-08-01

    Correct inference of genetic regulations inside a cell from the biological database like time series microarray data is one of the greatest challenges in post genomic era for biologists and researchers. Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) is one of the most popular and simple approach to model the dynamics as well as to infer correct dependencies among genes. Inspired by the behavior of social elephants, we propose a new metaheuristic namely Elephant Swarm Water Search Algorithm (ESWSA) to infer Gene Regulatory Network (GRN). This algorithm is mainly based on the water search strategy of intelligent and social elephants during drought, utilizing the different types of communication techniques. Initially, the algorithm is tested against benchmark small and medium scale artificial genetic networks without and with presence of different noise levels and the efficiency was observed in term of parametric error, minimum fitness value, execution time, accuracy of prediction of true regulation, etc. Next, the proposed algorithm is tested against the real time gene expression data of Escherichia Coli SOS Network and results were also compared with others state of the art optimization methods. The experimental results suggest that ESWSA is very efficient for GRN inference problem and performs better than other methods in many ways.

  3. An extended Kalman filtering approach to modeling nonlinear dynamic gene regulatory networks via short gene expression time series.

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    Wang, Zidong; Liu, Xiaohui; Liu, Yurong; Liang, Jinling; Vinciotti, Veronica

    2009-01-01

    In this paper, the extended Kalman filter (EKF) algorithm is applied to model the gene regulatory network from gene time series data. The gene regulatory network is considered as a nonlinear dynamic stochastic model that consists of the gene measurement equation and the gene regulation equation. After specifying the model structure, we apply the EKF algorithm for identifying both the model parameters and the actual value of gene expression levels. It is shown that the EKF algorithm is an online estimation algorithm that can identify a large number of parameters (including parameters of nonlinear functions) through iterative procedure by using a small number of observations. Four real-world gene expression data sets are employed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the EKF algorithm, and the obtained models are evaluated from the viewpoint of bioinformatics.

  4. Recurrent neural network based hybrid model for reconstructing gene regulatory network.

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    Raza, Khalid; Alam, Mansaf

    2016-10-01

    One of the exciting problems in systems biology research is to decipher how genome controls the development of complex biological system. The gene regulatory networks (GRNs) help in the identification of regulatory interactions between genes and offer fruitful information related to functional role of individual gene in a cellular system. Discovering GRNs lead to a wide range of applications, including identification of disease related pathways providing novel tentative drug targets, helps to predict disease response, and also assists in diagnosing various diseases including cancer. Reconstruction of GRNs from available biological data is still an open problem. This paper proposes a recurrent neural network (RNN) based model of GRN, hybridized with generalized extended Kalman filter for weight update in backpropagation through time training algorithm. The RNN is a complex neural network that gives a better settlement between biological closeness and mathematical flexibility to model GRN; and is also able to capture complex, non-linear and dynamic relationships among variables. Gene expression data are inherently noisy and Kalman filter performs well for estimation problem even in noisy data. Hence, we applied non-linear version of Kalman filter, known as generalized extended Kalman filter, for weight update during RNN training. The developed model has been tested on four benchmark networks such as DNA SOS repair network, IRMA network, and two synthetic networks from DREAM Challenge. We performed a comparison of our results with other state-of-the-art techniques which shows superiority of our proposed model. Further, 5% Gaussian noise has been induced in the dataset and result of the proposed model shows negligible effect of noise on results, demonstrating the noise tolerance capability of the model. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Stochastic Boolean networks: An efficient approach to modeling gene regulatory networks

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    Liang Jinghang

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Various computational models have been of interest due to their use in the modelling of gene regulatory networks (GRNs. As a logical model, probabilistic Boolean networks (PBNs consider molecular and genetic noise, so the study of PBNs provides significant insights into the understanding of the dynamics of GRNs. This will ultimately lead to advances in developing therapeutic methods that intervene in the process of disease development and progression. The applications of PBNs, however, are hindered by the complexities involved in the computation of the state transition matrix and the steady-state distribution of a PBN. For a PBN with n genes and N Boolean networks, the complexity to compute the state transition matrix is O(nN22n or O(nN2n for a sparse matrix. Results This paper presents a novel implementation of PBNs based on the notions of stochastic logic and stochastic computation. This stochastic implementation of a PBN is referred to as a stochastic Boolean network (SBN. An SBN provides an accurate and efficient simulation of a PBN without and with random gene perturbation. The state transition matrix is computed in an SBN with a complexity of O(nL2n, where L is a factor related to the stochastic sequence length. Since the minimum sequence length required for obtaining an evaluation accuracy approximately increases in a polynomial order with the number of genes, n, and the number of Boolean networks, N, usually increases exponentially with n, L is typically smaller than N, especially in a network with a large number of genes. Hence, the computational efficiency of an SBN is primarily limited by the number of genes, but not directly by the total possible number of Boolean networks. Furthermore, a time-frame expanded SBN enables an efficient analysis of the steady-state distribution of a PBN. These findings are supported by the simulation results of a simplified p53 network, several randomly generated networks and a

  6. Reconstructing gene regulatory networks from knock-out data using Gaussian Noise Model and Pearson Correlation Coefficient.

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    Mohamed Salleh, Faridah Hani; Arif, Shereena Mohd; Zainudin, Suhaila; Firdaus-Raih, Mohd

    2015-12-01

    A gene regulatory network (GRN) is a large and complex network consisting of interacting elements that, over time, affect each other's state. The dynamics of complex gene regulatory processes are difficult to understand using intuitive approaches alone. To overcome this problem, we propose an algorithm for inferring the regulatory interactions from knock-out data using a Gaussian model combines with Pearson Correlation Coefficient (PCC). There are several problems relating to GRN construction that have been outlined in this paper. We demonstrated the ability of our proposed method to (1) predict the presence of regulatory interactions between genes, (2) their directionality and (3) their states (activation or suppression). The algorithm was applied to network sizes of 10 and 50 genes from DREAM3 datasets and network sizes of 10 from DREAM4 datasets. The predicted networks were evaluated based on AUROC and AUPR. We discovered that high false positive values were generated by our GRN prediction methods because the indirect regulations have been wrongly predicted as true relationships. We achieved satisfactory results as the majority of sub-networks achieved AUROC values above 0.5. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Establishing neural crest identity: a gene regulatory recipe

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    Simões-Costa, Marcos; Bronner, Marianne E.

    2015-01-01

    The neural crest is a stem/progenitor cell population that contributes to a wide variety of derivatives, including sensory and autonomic ganglia, cartilage and bone of the face and pigment cells of the skin. Unique to vertebrate embryos, it has served as an excellent model system for the study of cell behavior and identity owing to its multipotency, motility and ability to form a broad array of cell types. Neural crest development is thought to be controlled by a suite of transcriptional and epigenetic inputs arranged hierarchically in a gene regulatory network. Here, we examine neural crest development from a gene regulatory perspective and discuss how the underlying genetic circuitry results in the features that define this unique cell population. PMID:25564621

  8. Epigenetics and Evolution: Transposons and the Stochastic Epigenetic Modification Model

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    Sergio Branciamore

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available In addition to genetic variation, epigenetic variation and transposons can greatly affect the evolutionary fitnesses landscape and gene expression. Previously we proposed a mathematical treatment of a general epigenetic variation model that we called Stochastic Epigenetic Modification (SEM model. In this study we follow up with a special case, the Transposon Silencing Model (TSM, with, once again, emphasis on quantitative treatment. We have investigated the evolutionary effects of epigenetic changes due to transposon (T insertions; in particular, we have considered a typical gene locus A and postulated that (i the expression level of gene A depends on the epigenetic state (active or inactive of a cis- located transposon element T, (ii stochastic variability in the epigenetic silencing of T occurs only in a short window of opportunity during development, (iii the epigenetic state is then stable during further development, and (iv the epigenetic memory is fully reset at each generation. We develop the model using two complementary approaches: a standard analytical population genetics framework (di usion equations and Monte-Carlo simulations. Both approaches led to similar estimates for the probability of fixation and time of fixation of locus TA with initial frequency P in a randomly mating diploid population of effective size Ne. We have ascertained the e ect that ρ, the probability of transposon Modification during the developmental window, has on the population (species. One of our principal conclusions is that as ρ increases, the pattern of fixation of the combined TA locus goes from "neutral" to "dominant" to "over-dominant". We observe that, under realistic values of ρ, epigenetic Modifications can provide an e cient mechanism for more rapid fixation of transposons and cis-located gene alleles. The results obtained suggest that epigenetic silencing, even if strictly transient (being reset at each generation, can still have signi cant

  9. Models of epigenetics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alsing, Anne

    switch of phage TP901-1, in which the devotion to a distinct state is governed by a small network of trans-acting factors. TP901-1 infects lactococcal bacteria and either exploit the host for the production of new phage leading to the death of the host, or become integrated on the host genome as a non....... In its lethal path, it is proposed that the switch should implement an interaction between the two antagonistic proteins, and the switch DNA. Such an interaction is novel within the biological context of phage switches. However, the network partly resembles a theoretic mixed feedback module able to show...... bistability. From comparisons between experimental data and model predictions based on mathematical descriptions, it is verified that TP901-1 could be a rst biological example of a phage switch achieving bistability through the trans-acting e ect of a repressing heteromer. While networks such as that of TP901...

  10. An empirical model of Onecut binding activity at the sea urchin SM50 C-element gene regulatory region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otim, Ochan

    2017-01-01

    Studying the formation of endoskeleton in many species is complex and difficult. The sea urchin embryo offers an unparalleled platform for understanding this process because of the ease with which its skeletogenic mesenchyme cells can be manipulated. In this study, preliminary evidence from biochemical studies towards understanding the role of the Onecut transcription factor during sea urchin skeletogenic mesenchyme cell specification is presented. Based on the evidence, an empirical model is proposed showing how Onecut, together with associated co-factors, may be using the C-element of the SM50 gene regulatory region in advance of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus spicule development. In the model, Onecut recognizes and binds the DNA sequence CATCGATCTC in the C-element without temporal restriction. Onecut then utilizes different sets of co-factors to switch from its unknown function early in development (four cell stage to the mesenchyme blastula stage), to its known role in the oral-aboral boundary thereafter. At the writing of this report, definitive evidence as to whether the "early" factors are expressed in all cells except the micromere lineages, or whether the "late" factors are expressed in micromere descendants or ectodermal precursors only are lacking. The former would suggest a possible Onecut repression function for the early co-factors outside the micromere lineages; the latter scenario would suggest a Onecut activation function for the late co-factors in the presumptive ciliary band.

  11. Peromyscus as a Mammalian Epigenetic Model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kimberly R. Shorter

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Deer mice (Peromyscus offer an opportunity for studying the effects of natural genetic/epigenetic variation with several advantages over other mammalian models. These advantages include the ability to study natural genetic variation and behaviors not present in other models. Moreover, their life histories in diverse habitats are well studied. Peromyscus resources include genome sequencing in progress, a nascent genetic map, and >90,000 ESTs. Here we review epigenetic studies and relevant areas of research involving Peromyscus models. These include differences in epigenetic control between species and substance effects on behavior. We also present new data on the epigenetic effects of diet on coat-color using a Peromyscus model of agouti overexpression. We suggest that in terms of tying natural genetic variants with environmental effects in producing specific epigenetic effects, Peromyscus models have a great potential.

  12. Sparse Additive Ordinary Differential Equations for Dynamic Gene Regulatory Network Modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Hulin; Lu, Tao; Xue, Hongqi; Liang, Hua

    2014-04-02

    The gene regulation network (GRN) is a high-dimensional complex system, which can be represented by various mathematical or statistical models. The ordinary differential equation (ODE) model is one of the popular dynamic GRN models. High-dimensional linear ODE models have been proposed to identify GRNs, but with a limitation of the linear regulation effect assumption. In this article, we propose a sparse additive ODE (SA-ODE) model, coupled with ODE estimation methods and adaptive group LASSO techniques, to model dynamic GRNs that could flexibly deal with nonlinear regulation effects. The asymptotic properties of the proposed method are established and simulation studies are performed to validate the proposed approach. An application example for identifying the nonlinear dynamic GRN of T-cell activation is used to illustrate the usefulness of the proposed method.

  13. Root Systems Biology: Integrative Modeling across Scales, from Gene Regulatory Networks to the Rhizosphere1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Kristine; Porco, Silvana; Lobet, Guillaume; Zappala, Susan; Mooney, Sacha; Draye, Xavier; Bennett, Malcolm J.

    2013-01-01

    Genetic and genomic approaches in model organisms have advanced our understanding of root biology over the last decade. Recently, however, systems biology and modeling have emerged as important approaches, as our understanding of root regulatory pathways has become more complex and interpreting pathway outputs has become less intuitive. To relate root genotype to phenotype, we must move beyond the examination of interactions at the genetic network scale and employ multiscale modeling approaches to predict emergent properties at the tissue, organ, organism, and rhizosphere scales. Understanding the underlying biological mechanisms and the complex interplay between systems at these different scales requires an integrative approach. Here, we describe examples of such approaches and discuss the merits of developing models to span multiple scales, from network to population levels, and to address dynamic interactions between plants and their environment. PMID:24143806

  14. A quantitative and dynamic model of the Arabidopsis flowering time gene regulatory network.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Felipe Leal Valentim

    Full Text Available Various environmental signals integrate into a network of floral regulatory genes leading to the final decision on when to flower. Although a wealth of qualitative knowledge is available on how flowering time genes regulate each other, only a few studies incorporated this knowledge into predictive models. Such models are invaluable as they enable to investigate how various types of inputs are combined to give a quantitative readout. To investigate the effect of gene expression disturbances on flowering time, we developed a dynamic model for the regulation of flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana. Model parameters were estimated based on expression time-courses for relevant genes, and a consistent set of flowering times for plants of various genetic backgrounds. Validation was performed by predicting changes in expression level in mutant backgrounds and comparing these predictions with independent expression data, and by comparison of predicted and experimental flowering times for several double mutants. Remarkably, the model predicts that a disturbance in a particular gene has not necessarily the largest impact on directly connected genes. For example, the model predicts that SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS (SOC1 mutation has a larger impact on APETALA1 (AP1, which is not directly regulated by SOC1, compared to its effect on LEAFY (LFY which is under direct control of SOC1. This was confirmed by expression data. Another model prediction involves the importance of cooperativity in the regulation of APETALA1 (AP1 by LFY, a prediction supported by experimental evidence. Concluding, our model for flowering time gene regulation enables to address how different quantitative inputs are combined into one quantitative output, flowering time.

  15. Hybrid models for chemical reaction networks: Multiscale theory and application to gene regulatory systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winkelmann, Stefanie; Schütte, Christof

    2017-09-01

    Well-mixed stochastic chemical kinetics are properly modeled by the chemical master equation (CME) and associated Markov jump processes in molecule number space. If the reactants are present in large amounts, however, corresponding simulations of the stochastic dynamics become computationally expensive and model reductions are demanded. The classical model reduction approach uniformly rescales the overall dynamics to obtain deterministic systems characterized by ordinary differential equations, the well-known mass action reaction rate equations. For systems with multiple scales, there exist hybrid approaches that keep parts of the system discrete while another part is approximated either using Langevin dynamics or deterministically. This paper aims at giving a coherent overview of the different hybrid approaches, focusing on their basic concepts and the relation between them. We derive a novel general description of such hybrid models that allows expressing various forms by one type of equation. We also check in how far the approaches apply to model extensions of the CME for dynamics which do not comply with the central well-mixed condition and require some spatial resolution. A simple but meaningful gene expression system with negative self-regulation is analysed to illustrate the different approximation qualities of some of the hybrid approaches discussed. Especially, we reveal the cause of error in the case of small volume approximations.

  16. Hybrid models for chemical reaction networks: Multiscale theory and application to gene regulatory systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winkelmann, Stefanie; Schütte, Christof

    2017-09-21

    Well-mixed stochastic chemical kinetics are properly modeled by the chemical master equation (CME) and associated Markov jump processes in molecule number space. If the reactants are present in large amounts, however, corresponding simulations of the stochastic dynamics become computationally expensive and model reductions are demanded. The classical model reduction approach uniformly rescales the overall dynamics to obtain deterministic systems characterized by ordinary differential equations, the well-known mass action reaction rate equations. For systems with multiple scales, there exist hybrid approaches that keep parts of the system discrete while another part is approximated either using Langevin dynamics or deterministically. This paper aims at giving a coherent overview of the different hybrid approaches, focusing on their basic concepts and the relation between them. We derive a novel general description of such hybrid models that allows expressing various forms by one type of equation. We also check in how far the approaches apply to model extensions of the CME for dynamics which do not comply with the central well-mixed condition and require some spatial resolution. A simple but meaningful gene expression system with negative self-regulation is analysed to illustrate the different approximation qualities of some of the hybrid approaches discussed. Especially, we reveal the cause of error in the case of small volume approximations.

  17. GRNsight: a web application and service for visualizing models of small- to medium-scale gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kam D. Dahlquist

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available GRNsight is a web application and service for visualizing models of gene regulatory networks (GRNs. A gene regulatory network (GRN consists of genes, transcription factors, and the regulatory connections between them which govern the level of expression of mRNA and protein from genes. The original motivation came from our efforts to perform parameter estimation and forward simulation of the dynamics of a differential equations model of a small GRN with 21 nodes and 31 edges. We wanted a quick and easy way to visualize the weight parameters from the model which represent the direction and magnitude of the influence of a transcription factor on its target gene, so we created GRNsight. GRNsight automatically lays out either an unweighted or weighted network graph based on an Excel spreadsheet containing an adjacency matrix where regulators are named in the columns and target genes in the rows, a Simple Interaction Format (SIF text file, or a GraphML XML file. When a user uploads an input file specifying an unweighted network, GRNsight automatically lays out the graph using black lines and pointed arrowheads. For a weighted network, GRNsight uses pointed and blunt arrowheads, and colors the edges and adjusts their thicknesses based on the sign (positive for activation or negative for repression and magnitude of the weight parameter. GRNsight is written in JavaScript, with diagrams facilitated by D3.js, a data visualization library. Node.js and the Express framework handle server-side functions. GRNsight’s diagrams are based on D3.js’s force graph layout algorithm, which was then extensively customized to support the specific needs of GRNs. Nodes are rectangular and support gene labels of up to 12 characters. The edges are arcs, which become straight lines when the nodes are close together. Self-regulatory edges are indicated by a loop. When a user mouses over an edge, the numerical value of the weight parameter is displayed. Visualizations can

  18. An overview of the gene regulatory network controlling trichome development in the model plant, Arabidopsis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sitakanta ePattanaik

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Trichomes are specialized epidermal cells located on aerial parts of plants and are associated with a wide array of biological processes. Trichomes protect plants from adverse conditions including UV light and herbivore attack and are also an important source of a number of phytochemicals. The simple unicellular trichomes of Arabidopsis serve as an excellent model to study molecular mechanism of cell differentiation and pattern formation in plants. The emerging picture suggests that the developmental process is controlled by a transcriptional network involving three major groups of transcription factors: the R2R3 MYB, basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH and WD40 repeat (WDR protein. These regulatory proteins form a trimeric activator complex that positively regulates trichome development. The single repeat R3 MYBs act as negative regulators of trichome development. They compete with the R2R3 MYBs to bind the bHLH factor and form a repressor complex. In addition to activator-repressor mechanism, a depletion mechanism may operate in parallel during trichome development. In this mechanism, the bHLH factor traps the WDR protein which results in depletion of WDR protein in neighboring cells. Consequently, the cells with high levels of bHLH and WDR proteins are developed into trichomes. A group of C2H2 zinc finger TFs has also been implicated in trichome development. Phytohormones, including gibberellins and jasmonic acid, play significant roles in this developmental process. Recently, microRNAs have been shown to be involved in trichome development. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the activities of the key regulatory proteins involved in trichome development are controlled by the 26S/ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS, highlighting the complexity of the regulatory network controlling this developmental process. To complement several excellent recent relevant reviews, this review focuses on the transcriptional network and hormonal interplay

  19. Inflammatory gene regulatory networks in amnion cells following cytokine stimulation: translational systems approach to modeling human parturition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruth Li

    Full Text Available A majority of the studies examining the molecular regulation of human labor have been conducted using single gene approaches. While the technology to produce multi-dimensional datasets is readily available, the means for facile analysis of such data are limited. The objective of this study was to develop a systems approach to infer regulatory mechanisms governing global gene expression in cytokine-challenged cells in vitro, and to apply these methods to predict gene regulatory networks (GRNs in intrauterine tissues during term parturition. To this end, microarray analysis was applied to human amnion mesenchymal cells (AMCs stimulated with interleukin-1β, and differentially expressed transcripts were subjected to hierarchical clustering, temporal expression profiling, and motif enrichment analysis, from which a GRN was constructed. These methods were then applied to fetal membrane specimens collected in the absence or presence of spontaneous term labor. Analysis of cytokine-responsive genes in AMCs revealed a sterile immune response signature, with promoters enriched in response elements for several inflammation-associated transcription factors. In comparison to the fetal membrane dataset, there were 34 genes commonly upregulated, many of which were part of an acute inflammation gene expression signature. Binding motifs for nuclear factor-κB were prominent in the gene interaction and regulatory networks for both datasets; however, we found little evidence to support the utilization of pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP signaling. The tissue specimens were also enriched for transcripts governed by hypoxia-inducible factor. The approach presented here provides an uncomplicated means to infer global relationships among gene clusters involved in cellular responses to labor-associated signals.

  20. Models of life: epigenetics, diversity and cycles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sneppen, Kim

    2017-04-01

    This review emphasizes aspects of biology that can be understood through repeated applications of simple causal rules. The selected topics include perspectives on gene regulation, phage lambda development, epigenetics, microbial ecology, as well as model approaches to diversity and to punctuated equilibrium in evolution. Two outstanding features are repeatedly described. One is the minimal number of rules to sustain specific states of complex systems for a long time. The other is the collapse of such states and the subsequent dynamical cycle of situations that restitute the system to a potentially new metastable state.

  1. Robust variable selection method for nonparametric differential equation models with application to nonlinear dynamic gene regulatory network analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Tao

    2016-01-01

    The gene regulation network (GRN) evaluates the interactions between genes and look for models to describe the gene expression behavior. These models have many applications; for instance, by characterizing the gene expression mechanisms that cause certain disorders, it would be possible to target those genes to block the progress of the disease. Many biological processes are driven by nonlinear dynamic GRN. In this article, we propose a nonparametric differential equation (ODE) to model the nonlinear dynamic GRN. Specially, we address following questions simultaneously: (i) extract information from noisy time course gene expression data; (ii) model the nonlinear ODE through a nonparametric smoothing function; (iii) identify the important regulatory gene(s) through a group smoothly clipped absolute deviation (SCAD) approach; (iv) test the robustness of the model against possible shortening of experimental duration. We illustrate the usefulness of the model and associated statistical methods through a simulation and a real application examples.

  2. Heart morphogenesis gene regulatory networks revealed by temporal expression analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Jonathon T; Demarest, Bradley; Gorsi, Bushra; Smith, Megan; Yost, H Joseph

    2017-10-01

    During embryogenesis the heart forms as a linear tube that then undergoes multiple simultaneous morphogenetic events to obtain its mature shape. To understand the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) driving this phase of heart development, during which many congenital heart disease malformations likely arise, we conducted an RNA-seq timecourse in zebrafish from 30 hpf to 72 hpf and identified 5861 genes with altered expression. We clustered the genes by temporal expression pattern, identified transcription factor binding motifs enriched in each cluster, and generated a model GRN for the major gene batteries in heart morphogenesis. This approach predicted hundreds of regulatory interactions and found batteries enriched in specific cell and tissue types, indicating that the approach can be used to narrow the search for novel genetic markers and regulatory interactions. Subsequent analyses confirmed the GRN using two mutants, Tbx5 and nkx2-5 , and identified sets of duplicated zebrafish genes that do not show temporal subfunctionalization. This dataset provides an essential resource for future studies on the genetic/epigenetic pathways implicated in congenital heart defects and the mechanisms of cardiac transcriptional regulation. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  3. A model of gene expression based on random dynamical systems reveals modularity properties of gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antoneli, Fernando; Ferreira, Renata C; Briones, Marcelo R S

    2016-06-01

    Here we propose a new approach to modeling gene expression based on the theory of random dynamical systems (RDS) that provides a general coupling prescription between the nodes of any given regulatory network given the dynamics of each node is modeled by a RDS. The main virtues of this approach are the following: (i) it provides a natural way to obtain arbitrarily large networks by coupling together simple basic pieces, thus revealing the modularity of regulatory networks; (ii) the assumptions about the stochastic processes used in the modeling are fairly general, in the sense that the only requirement is stationarity; (iii) there is a well developed mathematical theory, which is a blend of smooth dynamical systems theory, ergodic theory and stochastic analysis that allows one to extract relevant dynamical and statistical information without solving the system; (iv) one may obtain the classical rate equations form the corresponding stochastic version by averaging the dynamic random variables (small noise limit). It is important to emphasize that unlike the deterministic case, where coupling two equations is a trivial matter, coupling two RDS is non-trivial, specially in our case, where the coupling is performed between a state variable of one gene and the switching stochastic process of another gene and, hence, it is not a priori true that the resulting coupled system will satisfy the definition of a random dynamical system. We shall provide the necessary arguments that ensure that our coupling prescription does indeed furnish a coupled regulatory network of random dynamical systems. Finally, the fact that classical rate equations are the small noise limit of our stochastic model ensures that any validation or prediction made on the basis of the classical theory is also a validation or prediction of our model. We illustrate our framework with some simple examples of single-gene system and network motifs. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Large-Scale Recurrent Neural Network Based Modelling of Gene Regulatory Network Using Cuckoo Search-Flower Pollination Algorithm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandal, Sudip; Khan, Abhinandan; Saha, Goutam; Pal, Rajat K

    2016-01-01

    The accurate prediction of genetic networks using computational tools is one of the greatest challenges in the postgenomic era. Recurrent Neural Network is one of the most popular but simple approaches to model the network dynamics from time-series microarray data. To date, it has been successfully applied to computationally derive small-scale artificial and real-world genetic networks with high accuracy. However, they underperformed for large-scale genetic networks. Here, a new methodology has been proposed where a hybrid Cuckoo Search-Flower Pollination Algorithm has been implemented with Recurrent Neural Network. Cuckoo Search is used to search the best combination of regulators. Moreover, Flower Pollination Algorithm is applied to optimize the model parameters of the Recurrent Neural Network formalism. Initially, the proposed method is tested on a benchmark large-scale artificial network for both noiseless and noisy data. The results obtained show that the proposed methodology is capable of increasing the inference of correct regulations and decreasing false regulations to a high degree. Secondly, the proposed methodology has been validated against the real-world dataset of the DNA SOS repair network of Escherichia coli. However, the proposed method sacrifices computational time complexity in both cases due to the hybrid optimization process.

  5. Daphnia as an Emerging Epigenetic Model Organism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kami D. M. Harris

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Daphnia offer a variety of benefits for the study of epigenetics. Daphnia’s parthenogenetic life cycle allows the study of epigenetic effects in the absence of confounding genetic differences. Sex determination and sexual reproduction are epigenetically determined as are several other well-studied alternate phenotypes that arise in response to environmental stressors. Additionally, there is a large body of ecological literature available, recently complemented by the genome sequence of one species and transgenic technology. DNA methylation has been shown to be altered in response to toxicants and heavy metals, although investigation of other epigenetic mechanisms is only beginning. More thorough studies on DNA methylation as well as investigation of histone modifications and RNAi in sex determination and predator-induced defenses using this ecologically and evolutionarily important organism will contribute to our understanding of epigenetics.

  6. Generic Properties of Random Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Zhiyuan; Bianco, Simone; Zhang, Zhaoyang; Tang, Chao

    2013-12-01

    Modeling gene regulatory networks (GRNs) is an important topic in systems biology. Although there has been much work focusing on various specific systems, the generic behavior of GRNs with continuous variables is still elusive. In particular, it is not clear typically how attractors partition among the three types of orbits: steady state, periodic and chaotic, and how the dynamical properties change with network's topological characteristics. In this work, we first investigated these questions in random GRNs with different network sizes, connectivity, fraction of inhibitory links and transcription regulation rules. Then we searched for the core motifs that govern the dynamic behavior of large GRNs. We show that the stability of a random GRN is typically governed by a few embedding motifs of small sizes, and therefore can in general be understood in the context of these short motifs. Our results provide insights for the study and design of genetic networks.

  7. Eusocial insects as emerging models for behavioural epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Hua; Simola, Daniel F; Bonasio, Roberto; Liebig, Jürgen; Berger, Shelley L; Reinberg, Danny

    2014-10-01

    Understanding the molecular basis of how behavioural states are established, maintained and altered by environmental cues is an area of considerable and growing interest. Epigenetic processes, including methylation of DNA and post-translational modification of histones, dynamically modulate activity-dependent gene expression in neurons and can therefore have important regulatory roles in shaping behavioural responses to environmental cues. Several eusocial insect species - with their unique displays of behavioural plasticity due to age, morphology and social context - have emerged as models to investigate the genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of animal social behaviour. This Review summarizes recent studies in the epigenetics of social behaviour and offers perspectives on emerging trends and prospects for establishing genetic tools in eusocial insects.

  8. The Reconstruction and Analysis of Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Guangyong; Huang, Tao

    2018-01-01

    In post-genomic era, an important task is to explore the function of individual biological molecules (i.e., gene, noncoding RNA, protein, metabolite) and their organization in living cells. For this end, gene regulatory networks (GRNs) are constructed to show relationship between biological molecules, in which the vertices of network denote biological molecules and the edges of network present connection between nodes (Strogatz, Nature 410:268-276, 2001; Bray, Science 301:1864-1865, 2003). Biologists can understand not only the function of biological molecules but also the organization of components of living cells through interpreting the GRNs, since a gene regulatory network is a comprehensively physiological map of living cells and reflects influence of genetic and epigenetic factors (Strogatz, Nature 410:268-276, 2001; Bray, Science 301:1864-1865, 2003). In this paper, we will review the inference methods of GRN reconstruction and analysis approaches of network structure. As a powerful tool for studying complex diseases and biological processes, the applications of the network method in pathway analysis and disease gene identification will be introduced.

  9. Mutational robustness of gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aalt D J van Dijk

    Full Text Available Mutational robustness of gene regulatory networks refers to their ability to generate constant biological output upon mutations that change network structure. Such networks contain regulatory interactions (transcription factor-target gene interactions but often also protein-protein interactions between transcription factors. Using computational modeling, we study factors that influence robustness and we infer several network properties governing it. These include the type of mutation, i.e. whether a regulatory interaction or a protein-protein interaction is mutated, and in the case of mutation of a regulatory interaction, the sign of the interaction (activating vs. repressive. In addition, we analyze the effect of combinations of mutations and we compare networks containing monomeric with those containing dimeric transcription factors. Our results are consistent with available data on biological networks, for example based on evolutionary conservation of network features. As a novel and remarkable property, we predict that networks are more robust against mutations in monomer than in dimer transcription factors, a prediction for which analysis of conservation of DNA binding residues in monomeric vs. dimeric transcription factors provides indirect evidence.

  10. Mechanistic modelling of genetic and epigenetic events in radiation carcinogenesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Andreev, S. G.; Eidelman, Y. A.; Salnikov, I. V.; Khvostunov, I. K.

    2006-01-01

    Methodological problems arise on the way of radiation carcinogenesis modelling with the incorporation of radiobiological and cancer biology mechanistic data. The results of biophysical modelling of different endpoints [DNA DSB induction, repair, chromosome aberrations (CA) and cell proliferation] are presented and applied to the analysis of RBE-LET relationships for radiation-induced neoplastic transformation (RINT) of C3H/10T1/2 cells in culture. Predicted values for some endpoints correlate well with the data. It is concluded that slowly repaired DSB clusters, as well as some kind of CA, may be initiating events for RINT. As an alternative interpretation, it is possible that DNA damage can induce RINT indirectly via epigenetic process. A hypothetical epigenetic pathway for RINT is discussed. (authors)

  11. Toward epigenetic and gene regulation models of specific language impairment: looking for links among growth, genes, and impairments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rice Mabel L

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Children with specific language impairment (SLI are thought to have an inherited form of language impairment that spares other developmental domains. SLI shows strong heritability and recent linkage and association studies have replicated results for candidate genes. Regulatory regions of the genes may be involved. Behavioral growth models of language development of children with SLI reveal that the onset of language is delayed, and the growth trajectories of children with SLI parallel those of younger children without SLI. The rate of language acquisition decelerates in the pre-adolescent period, resulting in immature language levels for the children with SLI that persist into adolescence and beyond. Recent genetic and epigenetic discoveries and models relevant to language impairment are reviewed. T cell regulation of onset, acceleration, and deceleration signaling are described as potential conceptual parallels to the growth timing elements of language acquisition and impairment. A growth signaling disruption (GSD hypothesis is proposed for SLI, which posits that faulty timing mechanisms at the cellular level, intrinsic to neurocortical functioning essential for language onset and growth regulation, are at the core of the growth outcomes of SLI. The GSD highlights the need to document and account for growth patterns over childhood and suggests needed directions for future investigation.

  12. The capacity for multistability in small gene regulatory networks

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    Grotewold Erich

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the use of mathematical modeling to gain insight into gene regulatory network behavior across many different organisms. In particular, there has been considerable interest in using mathematical tools to understand how multistable regulatory networks may contribute to developmental processes such as cell fate determination. Indeed, such a network may subserve the formation of unicellular leaf hairs (trichomes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Results In order to investigate the capacity of small gene regulatory networks to generate multiple equilibria, we present a chemical reaction network (CRN-based modeling formalism and describe a number of methods for CRN analysis in a parameter-free context. These methods are compared and applied to a full set of one-component subnetworks, as well as a large random sample from 40,680 similarly constructed two-component subnetworks. We find that positive feedback and cooperativity mediated by transcription factor (TF dimerization is a requirement for one-component subnetwork bistability. For subnetworks with two components, the presence of these processes increases the probability that a randomly sampled subnetwork will exhibit multiple equilibria, although we find several examples of bistable two-component subnetworks that do not involve cooperative TF-promoter binding. In the specific case of epidermal differentiation in Arabidopsis, dimerization of the GL3-GL1 complex and cooperative sequential binding of GL3-GL1 to the CPC promoter are each independently sufficient for bistability. Conclusion Computational methods utilizing CRN-specific theorems to rule out bistability in small gene regulatory networks are far superior to techniques generally applicable to deterministic ODE systems. Using these methods to conduct an unbiased survey of parameter-free deterministic models of small networks, and the Arabidopsis epidermal cell

  13. A stochastic model of epigenetic dynamics in somatic cell reprogramming

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    Max eFloettmann

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Somatic cell reprogramming has dramatically changed stem cell research inrecent years. The high pace of new findings in the field and an ever increasingamount of data from new high throughput techniques make it challengingto isolate core principles of the process. In order to analyze suchmechanisms, we developed an abstract mechanistic model of a subset of theknown regulatory processes during cell differentiation and production of inducedpluripotent stem cells. This probabilistic Boolean network describesthe interplay between gene expression, chromatin modifications and DNAmethylation. The model incorporates recent findings in epigenetics and reproducesexperimentally observed reprogramming efficiencies and changes inmethylation and chromatin remodeling. It enables us to investigate in detail,how the temporal progression of the process is regulated. It also explicitlyincludes the transduction of factors using viral vectors and their silencing inreprogrammed cells, since this is still a standard procedure in somatic cellreprogramming. Based on the model we calculate an epigenetic landscape.Simulation results show good reproduction of experimental observations duringreprogramming, despite the simple stucture of the model. An extensiveanalysis and introduced variations hint towards possible optimizations of theprocess, that could push the technique closer to clinical applications. Fasterchanges in DNA methylation increase the speed of reprogramming at theexpense of efficiency, while accelerated chromatin modifications moderatelyimprove efficiency.

  14. Animal Models of Autism: An Epigenetic and Environmental Viewpoint

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keiko Iwata

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder of social behavior, which is more common in males than in females. The causes of autism are unknown; there is evidence for a substantial genetic component, but it is likely that a combination of genetic, environmental and epigenetic factors contribute to its complex pathogenesis. Rodent models that mimic the behavioral deficits of autism can be useful tools for dissecting both the etiology and molecular mechanisms. This review discusses animal models of autism generated by prenatal or neonatal environmental challenges, including virus infection and exposure to valproic acid (VPA or stress. Studies of viral infection models suggest that interleukin-6 can influence fetal development and programming. Prenatal exposure to the histone deacetylase inhibitor VPA has been linked to autism in children, and male VPA-exposed rats exhibit a spectrum of autistic-like behaviors. The experience of prenatal stress produces male-specific behavioral abnormalities in rats. These effects may be mediated by epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation and histone acetylation resulting in alterations to the transcriptome.

  15. Learning gene regulatory networks from only positive and unlabeled data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elkan Charles

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Recently, supervised learning methods have been exploited to reconstruct gene regulatory networks from gene expression data. The reconstruction of a network is modeled as a binary classification problem for each pair of genes. A statistical classifier is trained to recognize the relationships between the activation profiles of gene pairs. This approach has been proven to outperform previous unsupervised methods. However, the supervised approach raises open questions. In particular, although known regulatory connections can safely be assumed to be positive training examples, obtaining negative examples is not straightforward, because definite knowledge is typically not available that a given pair of genes do not interact. Results A recent advance in research on data mining is a method capable of learning a classifier from only positive and unlabeled examples, that does not need labeled negative examples. Applied to the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks, we show that this method significantly outperforms the current state of the art of machine learning methods. We assess the new method using both simulated and experimental data, and obtain major performance improvement. Conclusions Compared to unsupervised methods for gene network inference, supervised methods are potentially more accurate, but for training they need a complete set of known regulatory connections. A supervised method that can be trained using only positive and unlabeled data, as presented in this paper, is especially beneficial for the task of inferring gene regulatory networks, because only an incomplete set of known regulatory connections is available in public databases such as RegulonDB, TRRD, KEGG, Transfac, and IPA.

  16. Singular Perturbation Analysis and Gene Regulatory Networks with Delay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shlykova, Irina; Ponosov, Arcady

    2009-09-01

    There are different ways of how to model gene regulatory networks. Differential equations allow for a detailed description of the network's dynamics and provide an explicit model of the gene concentration changes over time. Production and relative degradation rate functions used in such models depend on the vector of steeply sloped threshold functions which characterize the activity of genes. The most popular example of the threshold functions comes from the Boolean network approach, where the threshold functions are given by step functions. The system of differential equations becomes then piecewise linear. The dynamics of this system can be described very easily between the thresholds, but not in the switching domains. For instance this approach fails to analyze stationary points of the system and to define continuous solutions in the switching domains. These problems were studied in [2], [3], but the proposed model did not take into account a time delay in cellular systems. However, analysis of real gene expression data shows a considerable number of time-delayed interactions suggesting that time delay is essential in gene regulation. Therefore, delays may have a great effect on the dynamics of the system presenting one of the critical factors that should be considered in reconstruction of gene regulatory networks. The goal of this work is to apply the singular perturbation analysis to certain systems with delay and to obtain an analog of Tikhonov's theorem, which provides sufficient conditions for constracting the limit system in the delay case.

  17. Modeling evolutionary dynamics of epigenetic mutations in hierarchically organized tumors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Sottoriva

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available The cancer stem cell (CSC concept is a highly debated topic in cancer research. While experimental evidence in favor of the cancer stem cell theory is apparently abundant, the results are often criticized as being difficult to interpret. An important reason for this is that most experimental data that support this model rely on transplantation studies. In this study we use a novel cellular Potts model to elucidate the dynamics of established malignancies that are driven by a small subset of CSCs. Our results demonstrate that epigenetic mutations that occur during mitosis display highly altered dynamics in CSC-driven malignancies compared to a classical, non-hierarchical model of growth. In particular, the heterogeneity observed in CSC-driven tumors is considerably higher. We speculate that this feature could be used in combination with epigenetic (methylation sequencing studies of human malignancies to prove or refute the CSC hypothesis in established tumors without the need for transplantation. Moreover our tumor growth simulations indicate that CSC-driven tumors display evolutionary features that can be considered beneficial during tumor progression. Besides an increased heterogeneity they also exhibit properties that allow the escape of clones from local fitness peaks. This leads to more aggressive phenotypes in the long run and makes the neoplasm more adaptable to stringent selective forces such as cancer treatment. Indeed when therapy is applied the clone landscape of the regrown tumor is more aggressive with respect to the primary tumor, whereas the classical model demonstrated similar patterns before and after therapy. Understanding these often counter-intuitive fundamental properties of (non-hierarchically organized malignancies is a crucial step in validating the CSC concept as well as providing insight into the therapeutical consequences of this model.

  18. Ecological plant epigenetics: Evidence from model and non-model species, and the way forward.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Christina L; Alonso, Conchita; Becker, Claude; Bossdorf, Oliver; Bucher, Etienne; Colomé-Tatché, Maria; Durka, Walter; Engelhardt, Jan; Gaspar, Bence; Gogol-Döring, Andreas; Grosse, Ivo; van Gurp, Thomas P; Heer, Katrin; Kronholm, Ilkka; Lampei, Christian; Latzel, Vít; Mirouze, Marie; Opgenoorth, Lars; Paun, Ovidiu; Prohaska, Sonja J; Rensing, Stefan A; Stadler, Peter F; Trucchi, Emiliano; Ullrich, Kristian; Verhoeven, Koen J F

    2017-12-01

    Growing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation. In contrast, studies with model species have benefited from powerful genomic resources, which contribute to a more mechanistic understanding but have limited ecological realism. Understanding the significance of epigenetics for plant ecology requires increased transfer of knowledge and methods from model species research to genomes of evolutionarily divergent species, and examination of responses to complex natural environments at a more mechanistic level. This requires transforming genomics tools specifically for studying non-model species, which is challenging given the large and often polyploid genomes of plants. Collaboration among molecular geneticists, ecologists and bioinformaticians promises to enhance our understanding of the mutual links between genome function and ecological processes. © 2017 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Epigenetic Regulators Modulate Muscle Damage in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bajanca, Fernanda; Vandel, Laurence

    2017-12-21

    Histone acetyl transferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDAC) control transcription during myogenesis. HDACs promote chromatin condensation, inhibiting gene transcription in muscle progenitor cells until myoblast differentiation is triggered and HDACs are released. HATs, namely CBP/p300, activate myogenic regulatory and elongation factors promoting myogenesis. HDAC inhibitors are known to improve regeneration in dystrophic muscles through follistatin upregulation. However, the potential of directly modulating HATs remains unexplored. We tested this possibility in a well-known zebrafish model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Interestingly, CBP/p300 transcripts were found downregulated in the absence of Dystrophin. While investigating CBP rescuing potential we observed that dystrophin-null embryos overexpressing CBP actually never show significant muscle damage, even before a first regeneration cycle could occur. We found that the pan-HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) also prevents early muscle damage, however the single HAT CBP is as efficient even in low doses. The HAT domain of CBP is required for its full rescuing ability. Importantly, both CBP and TSA prevent early muscle damage without restoring endogenous CBP/p300 neither increasing follistatin transcripts. This suggests a new mechanism of action of epigenetic regulators protecting dystrophin-null muscle fibres from detaching, independent from the known improvement of regeneration upon damage of HDACs inhibitors. This study builds supporting evidence that epigenetic modulators may play a role in determining the severity of muscle dystrophy, controlling the ability to resist muscle damage. Determining the mode of action leading to muscle protection can potentially lead to new treatment options for muscular dystrophies in the future.

  20. Interrogating the topological robustness of gene regulatory circuits by randomization.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bin Huang

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available One of the most important roles of cells is performing their cellular tasks properly for survival. Cells usually achieve robust functionality, for example, cell-fate decision-making and signal transduction, through multiple layers of regulation involving many genes. Despite the combinatorial complexity of gene regulation, its quantitative behavior has been typically studied on the basis of experimentally verified core gene regulatory circuitry, composed of a small set of important elements. It is still unclear how such a core circuit operates in the presence of many other regulatory molecules and in a crowded and noisy cellular environment. Here we report a new computational method, named random circuit perturbation (RACIPE, for interrogating the robust dynamical behavior of a gene regulatory circuit even without accurate measurements of circuit kinetic parameters. RACIPE generates an ensemble of random kinetic models corresponding to a fixed circuit topology, and utilizes statistical tools to identify generic properties of the circuit. By applying RACIPE to simple toggle-switch-like motifs, we observed that the stable states of all models converge to experimentally observed gene state clusters even when the parameters are strongly perturbed. RACIPE was further applied to a proposed 22-gene network of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT, from which we identified four experimentally observed gene states, including the states that are associated with two different types of hybrid Epithelial/Mesenchymal phenotypes. Our results suggest that dynamics of a gene circuit is mainly determined by its topology, not by detailed circuit parameters. Our work provides a theoretical foundation for circuit-based systems biology modeling. We anticipate RACIPE to be a powerful tool to predict and decode circuit design principles in an unbiased manner, and to quantitatively evaluate the robustness and heterogeneity of gene expression.

  1. Sex, stress, and epigenetics: regulation of behavior in animal models of mood disorders

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hodes Georgia E

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Women have a higher incidence of stress related disorders including depression and generalized anxiety disorder, and epigenetic mechanisms likely contribute to this sex difference. Evidence from preclinical research suggests that epigenetic mechanisms are responsible for both sexual dimorphism of brain regions and sensitivity of the stress response. Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation and histone modifications can occur transgenerationally, developmentally, or in response to environmental stimuli such as stress exposure. This review will provide an overview of the various forms of epigenetic modifications observed in the central nervous system and will explain how these mechanisms contribute to a sexually dimorphic brain. It will also discuss the ways in which epigenetic alterations coincide with, and functionally contribute to, the behavioral response to stress across the lifespan. Ultimately, this review will focus on novel research utilizing animal models to investigate sex differences in epigenetic mechanisms that influence susceptibility to stress. Exploration of this relationship reveals epigenetic mechanisms with the potential to explain sexual dimorphism in the occurrence of stress related disorders.

  2. Epigenetic rejuvenation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manukyan, Maria; Singh, Prim B

    2012-05-01

    Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have provided a rational means of obtaining histo-compatible tissues for 'patient-specific' regenerative therapies (Hanna et al. 2010; Yamanaka & Blau 2010). Despite the obvious potential of iPS cell-based therapies, there are certain problems that must be overcome before these therapies can become safe and routine (Ohi et al. 2011; Pera 2011). As an alternative, we have recently explored the possibility of using 'epigenetic rejuvenation', where the specialized functions of an old cell are rejuvenated in the absence of any change in its differentiated state (Singh & Zacouto 2010). The mechanism(s) that underpin 'epigenetic rejuvenation' are unknown and here we discuss model systems, using key epigenetic modifiers, which might shed light on the processes involved. Epigenetic rejuvenation has advantages over iPS cell techniques that are currently being pursued. First, the genetic and epigenetic abnormalities that arise through the cycle of dedifferentiation of somatic cells to iPS cells followed by redifferentiation of iPS cells into the desired cell type are avoided (Gore et al. 2011; Hussein et al. 2011; Pera 2011): epigenetic rejuvenation does not require passage through the de-/redifferentiation cycle. Second, because the aim of epigenetic rejuvenation is to ensure that the differentiated cell type retains its specialized function it makes redundant the question of transcriptional memory that is inimical to iPS cell-based therapies (Ohi et al. 2011). Third, to produce unrelated cell types using the iPS technology takes a long time, around three weeks, whereas epigenetic rejuvenation of old cells will take only a matter of days. Epigenetic rejuvenation provides the most safe, rapid and cheap route to successful regenerative medicine. © 2012 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2012 by the Molecular Biology Society of Japan/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  3. An algebra-based method for inferring gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vera-Licona, Paola; Jarrah, Abdul; Garcia-Puente, Luis David; McGee, John; Laubenbacher, Reinhard

    2014-03-26

    The inference of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from experimental observations is at the heart of systems biology. This includes the inference of both the network topology and its dynamics. While there are many algorithms available to infer the network topology from experimental data, less emphasis has been placed on methods that infer network dynamics. Furthermore, since the network inference problem is typically underdetermined, it is essential to have the option of incorporating into the inference process, prior knowledge about the network, along with an effective description of the search space of dynamic models. Finally, it is also important to have an understanding of how a given inference method is affected by experimental and other noise in the data used. This paper contains a novel inference algorithm using the algebraic framework of Boolean polynomial dynamical systems (BPDS), meeting all these requirements. The algorithm takes as input time series data, including those from network perturbations, such as knock-out mutant strains and RNAi experiments. It allows for the incorporation of prior biological knowledge while being robust to significant levels of noise in the data used for inference. It uses an evolutionary algorithm for local optimization with an encoding of the mathematical models as BPDS. The BPDS framework allows an effective representation of the search space for algebraic dynamic models that improves computational performance. The algorithm is validated with both simulated and experimental microarray expression profile data. Robustness to noise is tested using a published mathematical model of the segment polarity gene network in Drosophila melanogaster. Benchmarking of the algorithm is done by comparison with a spectrum of state-of-the-art network inference methods on data from the synthetic IRMA network to demonstrate that our method has good precision and recall for the network reconstruction task, while also predicting several of the

  4. Epigenetic change detection and pattern recognition via Bayesian hierarchical hidden Markov models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xinlei; Zang, Miao; Xiao, Guanghua

    2013-06-15

    Epigenetics is the study of changes to the genome that can switch genes on or off and determine which proteins are transcribed without altering the DNA sequence. Recently, epigenetic changes have been linked to the development and progression of disease such as psychiatric disorders. High-throughput epigenetic experiments have enabled researchers to measure genome-wide epigenetic profiles and yield data consisting of intensity ratios of immunoprecipitation versus reference samples. The intensity ratios can provide a view of genomic regions where protein binding occur under one experimental condition and further allow us to detect epigenetic alterations through comparison between two different conditions. However, such experiments can be expensive, with only a few replicates available. Moreover, epigenetic data are often spatially correlated with high noise levels. In this paper, we develop a Bayesian hierarchical model, combined with hidden Markov processes with four states for modeling spatial dependence, to detect genomic sites with epigenetic changes from two-sample experiments with paired internal control. One attractive feature of the proposed method is that the four states of the hidden Markov process have well-defined biological meanings and allow us to directly call the change patterns based on the corresponding posterior probabilities. In contrast, none of existing methods can offer this advantage. In addition, the proposed method offers great power in statistical inference by spatial smoothing (via hidden Markov modeling) and information pooling (via hierarchical modeling). Both simulation studies and real data analysis in a cocaine addiction study illustrate the reliability and success of this method. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  5. Homosexuality via canalized sexual development: a testing protocol for a new epigenetic model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, William R; Friberg, Urban; Gavrilets, Sergey

    2013-09-01

    We recently synthesized and reinterpreted published studies to advance an epigenetic model for the development of homosexuality (HS). The model is based on epigenetic marks laid down in response to the XX vs. XY karyotype in embryonic stem cells. These marks boost sensitivity to testosterone in XY fetuses and lower it in XX fetuses, thereby canalizing sexual development. Our model predicts that a subset of these canalizing epigenetic marks stochastically carry over across generations and lead to mosaicism for sexual development in opposite-sex offspring--the homosexual phenotype being one such outcome. Here, we begin by outlining why HS has been under-appreciated as a commonplace phenomenon in nature, and how this trend is currently being reversed in the field of neurobiology. We next briefly describe our epigenetic model of HS, develop a set of predictions, and describe how epigenetic profiles of human stem cells can provide for a strong test of the model. © 2013 The Authors. Bioessays published by WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  6. Epigenetics of cell fate reprogramming and its implications for neurological disorders modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grzybek, Maciej; Golonko, Aleksandra; Walczak, Marta; Lisowski, Pawel

    2017-03-01

    The reprogramming of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) proceeds in a stepwise manner with reprogramming factors binding and epigenetic composition changes during transition to maintain the epigenetic landscape, important for pluripotency. There arises a question as to whether the aberrant epigenetic state after reprogramming leads to epigenetic defects in induced stem cells causing unpredictable long term effects in differentiated cells. In this review, we present a comprehensive view of epigenetic alterations accompanying reprogramming, cell maintenance and differentiation as factors that influence applications of hiPSCs in stem cell based technologies. We conclude that sample heterogeneity masks DNA methylation signatures in subpopulations of cells and thus believe that beside a genetic evaluation, extensive epigenomic screening should become a standard procedure to ensure hiPSCs state before they are used for genome editing and differentiation into neurons of interest. In particular, we suggest that exploitation of the single-cell composition of the epigenome will provide important insights into heterogeneity within hiPSCs subpopulations to fast forward development of reliable hiPSC-based analytical platforms in neurological disorders modelling and before completed hiPSC technology will be implemented in clinical approaches. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. GRN2SBML: automated encoding and annotation of inferred gene regulatory networks complying with SBML.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vlaic, Sebastian; Hoffmann, Bianca; Kupfer, Peter; Weber, Michael; Dräger, Andreas

    2013-09-01

    GRN2SBML automatically encodes gene regulatory networks derived from several inference tools in systems biology markup language. Providing a graphical user interface, the networks can be annotated via the simple object access protocol (SOAP)-based application programming interface of BioMart Central Portal and minimum information required in the annotation of models registry. Additionally, we provide an R-package, which processes the output of supported inference algorithms and automatically passes all required parameters to GRN2SBML. Therefore, GRN2SBML closes a gap in the processing pipeline between the inference of gene regulatory networks and their subsequent analysis, visualization and storage. GRN2SBML is freely available under the GNU Public License version 3 and can be downloaded from http://www.hki-jena.de/index.php/0/2/490. General information on GRN2SBML, examples and tutorials are available at the tool's web page.

  8. Ontogeny and physiognomy of the epigenetic landscape: A general model to explain developmental systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tamayo Orrego, Lukas

    2013-01-01

    The epigenetic landscape is a graphic metaphor proposed by Conrad H. Waddington to explain the development of organisms and their parts. it is depicted as a wavy surface with summits and descending valleys, representing the paths followed by cells along their differentiation process, as part of organismal development. Conrad H. Waddington, regarded as the father of epigenetics, stands out for his theoretical contributions that include the notions of genetic assimilation, canalization of development and epi-genotype. These ideas were inspired by experimental works in developmental biology that lead to the discovery of the organizer in bird embryos, as well as environmentally-induced phenocopies in drosophila. In the current essay, I present an interpretation of the epigenetic landscape and related concepts that highlight the heuristic power of this model and its importance for contemporary biology. This work is a tribute to the life of C. H. Waddington, whose work is still of great significance.

  9. Memory functions reveal structural properties of gene regulatory networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez-Carrasco, Ruben

    2018-01-01

    Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) control cellular function and decision making during tissue development and homeostasis. Mathematical tools based on dynamical systems theory are often used to model these networks, but the size and complexity of these models mean that their behaviour is not always intuitive and the underlying mechanisms can be difficult to decipher. For this reason, methods that simplify and aid exploration of complex networks are necessary. To this end we develop a broadly applicable form of the Zwanzig-Mori projection. By first converting a thermodynamic state ensemble model of gene regulation into mass action reactions we derive a general method that produces a set of time evolution equations for a subset of components of a network. The influence of the rest of the network, the bulk, is captured by memory functions that describe how the subnetwork reacts to its own past state via components in the bulk. These memory functions provide probes of near-steady state dynamics, revealing information not easily accessible otherwise. We illustrate the method on a simple cross-repressive transcriptional motif to show that memory functions not only simplify the analysis of the subnetwork but also have a natural interpretation. We then apply the approach to a GRN from the vertebrate neural tube, a well characterised developmental transcriptional network composed of four interacting transcription factors. The memory functions reveal the function of specific links within the neural tube network and identify features of the regulatory structure that specifically increase the robustness of the network to initial conditions. Taken together, the study provides evidence that Zwanzig-Mori projections offer powerful and effective tools for simplifying and exploring the behaviour of GRNs. PMID:29470492

  10. Semi-supervised prediction of gene regulatory networks using ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2015-09-28

    Sep 28, 2015 ... Use of computational methods to predict gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from gene expression data is a challenging ... two types of methods differ primarily based on whether ..... negligible, allowing us to draw the qualitative conclusions .... research will be conducted to develop additional biologically.

  11. Landscaping plant epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKeown, Peter C; Spillane, Charles

    2014-01-01

    The understanding of epigenetic mechanisms is necessary for assessing the potential impacts of epigenetics on plant growth, development and reproduction, and ultimately for the response of these factors to evolutionary pressures and crop breeding programs. This volume highlights the latest in laboratory and bioinformatic techniques used for the investigation of epigenetic phenomena in plants. Such techniques now allow genome-wide analyses of epigenetic regulation and help to advance our understanding of how epigenetic regulatory mechanisms affect cellular and genome function. To set the scene, we begin with a short background of how the field of epigenetics has evolved, with a particular focus on plant epigenetics. We consider what has historically been understood by the term "epigenetics" before turning to the advances in biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics which have led to current-day definitions of the term. Following this, we pay attention to key discoveries in the field of epigenetics that have emerged from the study of unusual and enigmatic phenomena in plants. Many of these phenomena have involved cases of non-Mendelian inheritance and have often been dismissed as mere curiosities prior to the elucidation of their molecular mechanisms. In the penultimate section, consideration is given to how advances in molecular techniques are opening the doors to a more comprehensive understanding of epigenetic phenomena in plants. We conclude by assessing some opportunities, challenges, and techniques for epigenetic research in both model and non-model plants, in particular for advancing understanding of the regulation of genome function by epigenetic mechanisms.

  12. Efficient Reverse-Engineering of a Developmental Gene Regulatory Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cicin-Sain, Damjan; Ashyraliyev, Maksat; Jaeger, Johannes

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the complex regulatory networks underlying development and evolution of multi-cellular organisms is a major problem in biology. Computational models can be used as tools to extract the regulatory structure and dynamics of such networks from gene expression data. This approach is called reverse engineering. It has been successfully applied to many gene networks in various biological systems. However, to reconstitute the structure and non-linear dynamics of a developmental gene network in its spatial context remains a considerable challenge. Here, we address this challenge using a case study: the gap gene network involved in segment determination during early development of Drosophila melanogaster. A major problem for reverse-engineering pattern-forming networks is the significant amount of time and effort required to acquire and quantify spatial gene expression data. We have developed a simplified data processing pipeline that considerably increases the throughput of the method, but results in data of reduced accuracy compared to those previously used for gap gene network inference. We demonstrate that we can infer the correct network structure using our reduced data set, and investigate minimal data requirements for successful reverse engineering. Our results show that timing and position of expression domain boundaries are the crucial features for determining regulatory network structure from data, while it is less important to precisely measure expression levels. Based on this, we define minimal data requirements for gap gene network inference. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of reverse-engineering with much reduced experimental effort. This enables more widespread use of the method in different developmental contexts and organisms. Such systematic application of data-driven models to real-world networks has enormous potential. Only the quantitative investigation of a large number of developmental gene regulatory networks will allow us to

  13. Using zebrafish as a model to study the role of epigenetics in hearing loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Yingzi; Bao, Beier; Li, Huawei

    2017-09-01

    The rapid progress of bioinformatics and high-throughput screening techniques in recent years has led to the identification of many candidate genes and small-molecule drugs that have the potential to make significant contributions to our understanding of the developmental and pathological processes of hearing, but it remains unclear how these genes and regulatory factors are coordinated. Increasing evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms are essential for establishing gene expression profiles and likely play an important role in the development of inner ear and in the pathology of hearing-associated diseases. Zebrafish are a valuable and tractable in vivo model organism for monitoring changes in the epigenome and for identifying new epigenetic processes and drug molecules that can influence vertebrate development. Areas covered: In this review, the authors focus on zebrafish as a model to summarize recent findings concerning the roles of epigenetics in the development, regeneration, and protection of hair cells. Expert opinion: Using the zebrafish model in combination with high-throughput screening and genome-editing technologies to investigate the function of epigenetics in hearing is crucial to help us better understand the molecular and genetic mechanisms of auditory development and function. It will also contribute to the development of new strategies to restore hearing loss.

  14. The potential of epigenetics in stress-enhanced fear learning models of PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blouin, Ashley M; Sillivan, Stephanie E; Joseph, Nadine F; Miller, Courtney A

    2016-10-01

    Prolonged distress and dysregulated memory processes are the core features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and represent the debilitating, persistent nature of the illness. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the expression of these symptoms are challenging to study in human patients. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) paradigms, which encompass both stress and memory components in rodents, are emerging as valuable preclinical models of PTSD. Rodent models designed to study the long-term mechanisms of either stress or fear memory alone have identified a critical role for numerous epigenetic modifications to DNA and histone proteins. However, the epigenetic modifications underlying SEFL remain largely unknown. This review will provide a brief overview of the epigenetic modifications implicated in stress and fear memory independently, followed by a description of existing SEFL models and the few epigenetic mechanisms found to date to underlie SEFL. The results of the animal studies discussed here highlight neuroepigenetics as an essential area for future research in the context of PTSD through SEFL studies, because of its potential to identify novel candidates for neurotherapeutics targeting stress-induced pathogenic memories. © 2016 Blouin et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  15. Intervention in gene regulatory networks with maximal phenotype alteration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yousefi, Mohammadmahdi R; Dougherty, Edward R

    2013-07-15

    A basic issue for translational genomics is to model gene interaction via gene regulatory networks (GRNs) and thereby provide an informatics environment to study the effects of intervention (say, via drugs) and to derive effective intervention strategies. Taking the view that the phenotype is characterized by the long-run behavior (steady-state distribution) of the network, we desire interventions to optimally move the probability mass from undesirable to desirable states Heretofore, two external control approaches have been taken to shift the steady-state mass of a GRN: (i) use a user-defined cost function for which desirable shift of the steady-state mass is a by-product and (ii) use heuristics to design a greedy algorithm. Neither approach provides an optimal control policy relative to long-run behavior. We use a linear programming approach to optimally shift the steady-state mass from undesirable to desirable states, i.e. optimization is directly based on the amount of shift and therefore must outperform previously proposed methods. Moreover, the same basic linear programming structure is used for both unconstrained and constrained optimization, where in the latter case, constraints on the optimization limit the amount of mass that may be shifted to 'ambiguous' states, these being states that are not directly undesirable relative to the pathology of interest but which bear some perceived risk. We apply the method to probabilistic Boolean networks, but the theory applies to any Markovian GRN. Supplementary materials, including the simulation results, MATLAB source code and description of suboptimal methods are available at http://gsp.tamu.edu/Publications/supplementary/yousefi13b. edward@ece.tamu.edu Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

  16. A model of epigenetic evolution based on theory of open quantum systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asano, Masanari; Basieva, Irina; Khrennikov, Andrei; Ohya, Masanori; Tanaka, Yoshiharu; Yamato, Ichiro

    2013-12-01

    We present a very general model of epigenetic evolution unifying (neo-)Darwinian and (neo-)Lamarckian viewpoints. The evolution is represented in the form of adaptive dynamics given by the quantum(-like) master equation. This equation describes development of the information state of epigenome under the pressure of an environment. We use the formalism of quantum mechanics in the purely operational framework. (Hence, our model has no direct relation to quantum physical processes inside a cell.) Thus our model is about probabilities for observations which can be done on epigenomes and it does not provide a detailed description of cellular processes. Usage of the operational approach provides a possibility to describe by one model all known types of cellular epigenetic inheritance.

  17. CoryneRegNet 4.0 – A reference database for corynebacterial gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Baumbach Jan

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Detailed information on DNA-binding transcription factors (the key players in the regulation of gene expression and on transcriptional regulatory interactions of microorganisms deduced from literature-derived knowledge, computer predictions and global DNA microarray hybridization experiments, has opened the way for the genome-wide analysis of transcriptional regulatory networks. The large-scale reconstruction of these networks allows the in silico analysis of cell behavior in response to changing environmental conditions. We previously published CoryneRegNet, an ontology-based data warehouse of corynebacterial transcription factors and regulatory networks. Initially, it was designed to provide methods for the analysis and visualization of the gene regulatory network of Corynebacterium glutamicum. Results Now we introduce CoryneRegNet release 4.0, which integrates data on the gene regulatory networks of 4 corynebacteria, 2 mycobacteria and the model organism Escherichia coli K12. As the previous versions, CoryneRegNet provides a web-based user interface to access the database content, to allow various queries, and to support the reconstruction, analysis and visualization of regulatory networks at different hierarchical levels. In this article, we present the further improved database content of CoryneRegNet along with novel analysis features. The network visualization feature GraphVis now allows the inter-species comparisons of reconstructed gene regulatory networks and the projection of gene expression levels onto that networks. Therefore, we added stimulon data directly into the database, but also provide Web Service access to the DNA microarray analysis platform EMMA. Additionally, CoryneRegNet now provides a SOAP based Web Service server, which can easily be consumed by other bioinformatics software systems. Stimulons (imported from the database, or uploaded by the user can be analyzed in the context of known

  18. Epigenetics: ambiguities and implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotz, Karola; Griffiths, Paul

    2016-12-01

    Everyone has heard of 'epigenetics', but the term means different things to different researchers. Four important contemporary meanings are outlined in this paper. Epigenetics in its various senses has implications for development, heredity, and evolution, and also for medicine. Concerning development, it cements the vision of a reactive genome strongly coupled to its environment. Concerning heredity, both narrowly epigenetic and broader 'exogenetic' systems of inheritance play important roles in the construction of phenotypes. A thoroughly epigenetic model of development and evolution was Waddington's aim when he introduced the term 'epigenetics' in the 1940s, but it has taken the modern development of molecular epigenetics to realize this aim. In the final sections of the paper we briefly outline some further implications of epigenetics for medicine and for the nature/nurture debate.

  19. Transcription factor trapping by RNA in gene regulatory elements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sigova, Alla A; Abraham, Brian J; Ji, Xiong; Molinie, Benoit; Hannett, Nancy M; Guo, Yang Eric; Jangi, Mohini; Giallourakis, Cosmas C; Sharp, Phillip A; Young, Richard A

    2015-11-20

    Transcription factors (TFs) bind specific sequences in promoter-proximal and -distal DNA elements to regulate gene transcription. RNA is transcribed from both of these DNA elements, and some DNA binding TFs bind RNA. Hence, RNA transcribed from regulatory elements may contribute to stable TF occupancy at these sites. We show that the ubiquitously expressed TF Yin-Yang 1 (YY1) binds to both gene regulatory elements and their associated RNA species across the entire genome. Reduced transcription of regulatory elements diminishes YY1 occupancy, whereas artificial tethering of RNA enhances YY1 occupancy at these elements. We propose that RNA makes a modest but important contribution to the maintenance of certain TFs at gene regulatory elements and suggest that transcription of regulatory elements produces a positive-feedback loop that contributes to the stability of gene expression programs. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  20. Zebrafish as an In Vivo Model to Assess Epigenetic Effects of Ionizing Radiation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva Yi Kong

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Exposure to ionizing radiations (IRs is ubiquitous in our environment and can be categorized into “targeted” effects and “non-targeted” effects. In addition to inducing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA damage, IR exposure leads to epigenetic alterations that do not alter DNA sequence. Using an appropriate model to study the biological effects of radiation is crucial to better understand IR responses as well as to develop new strategies to alleviate exposure to IR. Zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a scientific model organism that has yielded scientific advances in several fields and recent studies show the usefulness of this vertebrate model in radiation biology. This review briefly describes both “targeted” and “non-targeted” effects, describes the findings in radiation biology using zebrafish as a model and highlights the potential of zebrafish to assess the epigenetic effects of IR, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA expression. Other in vivo models are included to compare observations made with zebrafish, or to illustrate the feasibility of in vivo models when the use of zebrafish was unavailable. Finally, tools to study epigenetic modifications in zebrafish, including changes in genome-wide DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA expression, are also described in this review.

  1. SELANSI: a toolbox for simulation of stochastic gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pájaro, Manuel; Otero-Muras, Irene; Vázquez, Carlos; Alonso, Antonio A

    2018-03-01

    Gene regulation is inherently stochastic. In many applications concerning Systems and Synthetic Biology such as the reverse engineering and the de novo design of genetic circuits, stochastic effects (yet potentially crucial) are often neglected due to the high computational cost of stochastic simulations. With advances in these fields there is an increasing need of tools providing accurate approximations of the stochastic dynamics of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) with reduced computational effort. This work presents SELANSI (SEmi-LAgrangian SImulation of GRNs), a software toolbox for the simulation of stochastic multidimensional gene regulatory networks. SELANSI exploits intrinsic structural properties of gene regulatory networks to accurately approximate the corresponding Chemical Master Equation with a partial integral differential equation that is solved by a semi-lagrangian method with high efficiency. Networks under consideration might involve multiple genes with self and cross regulations, in which genes can be regulated by different transcription factors. Moreover, the validity of the method is not restricted to a particular type of kinetics. The tool offers total flexibility regarding network topology, kinetics and parameterization, as well as simulation options. SELANSI runs under the MATLAB environment, and is available under GPLv3 license at https://sites.google.com/view/selansi. antonio@iim.csic.es. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  2. Final Report - Epigenetics of low dose radiation effects in an animal model

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kovalchuk, Olga

    2014-10-22

    This project sought mechanistic understanding of the epigenetic response of tissues as well as the consequences of those responses, when induced by low dose irradiation in a well-established model system (mouse). Based on solid and extensive preliminary data we investigated the molecular epigenetic mechanisms of in vivo radiation responses, particularly – effects of low, occupationally relevant radiation exposures on the genome stability and adaptive response in mammalian tissues and organisms. We accumulated evidence that low dose irradiation altered epigenetic profiles and impacted radiation target organs of the exposed animals. The main long-term goal was to dissect the epigenetic basis of induction of the low dose radiation-induced genome instability and adaptive response and the specific fundamental roles of epigenetic changes (i.e. DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNAs) in their generation. We hypothesized that changes in global and regional DNA methylation, global histone modifications and regulatory microRNAs played pivotal roles in the generation and maintenance low-dose radiation-induced genome instability and adaptive response. We predicted that epigenetic changes influenced the levels of genetic rearrangements (transposone reactivation). We hypothesized that epigenetic responses from low dose irradiation were dependent on exposure regimes, and would be greatest when organisms are exposed in a protracted/fractionated manner: fractionated exposures > acute exposures. We anticipated that the epigenetic responses were correlated with the gene expression levels. Our immediate objectives were: • To investigate the exact nature of the global and locus-specific DNA methylation changes in the LDR exposed cells and tissues and dissect their roles in adaptive response • To investigate the roles of histone modifications in the low dose radiation effects and adaptive response • To dissect the roles of regulatory microRNAs and their targets in low

  3. Epigenetics: beyond genes | Fossey | Southern Forests: a Journal of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Gene regulatory processes lead to differential gene expression and are referred to as epigenetic phenomena; these are ubiquitous processes in the biological world. These reversible heritable changes concern DNA and RNA, their interactions, and chromatin-mediated and RNA-mediated mechanisms. DNA compaction is ...

  4. Zebrafish as an In Vivo Model to Assess Epigenetic Effects of Ionizing Radiation

    OpenAIRE

    Eva Yi Kong; Shuk Han Cheng; Kwan Ngok Yu

    2016-01-01

    Exposure to ionizing radiations (IRs) is ubiquitous in our environment and can be categorized into ?targeted? effects and ?non-targeted? effects. In addition to inducing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage, IR exposure leads to epigenetic alterations that do not alter DNA sequence. Using an appropriate model to study the biological effects of radiation is crucial to better understand IR responses as well as to develop new strategies to alleviate exposure to IR. Zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a sci...

  5. In silico modeling of epigenetic-induced changes in photoreceptor cis-regulatory elements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hossain, Reafa A; Dunham, Nicholas R; Enke, Raymond A; Berndsen, Christopher E

    2018-01-01

    DNA methylation is a well-characterized epigenetic repressor of mRNA transcription in many plant and vertebrate systems. However, the mechanism of this repression is not fully understood. The process of transcription is controlled by proteins that regulate recruitment and activity of RNA polymerase by binding to specific cis-regulatory sequences. Cone-rod homeobox (CRX) is a well-characterized mammalian transcription factor that controls photoreceptor cell-specific gene expression. Although much is known about the functions and DNA binding specificity of CRX, little is known about how DNA methylation modulates CRX binding affinity to genomic cis-regulatory elements. We used bisulfite pyrosequencing of human ocular tissues to measure DNA methylation levels of the regulatory regions of RHO , PDE6B, PAX6 , and LINE1 retrotransposon repeats. To describe the molecular mechanism of repression, we used molecular modeling to illustrate the effect of DNA methylation on human RHO regulatory sequences. In this study, we demonstrate an inverse correlation between DNA methylation in regulatory regions adjacent to the human RHO and PDE6B genes and their subsequent transcription in human ocular tissues. Docking of CRX to the DNA models shows that CRX interacts with the grooves of these sequences, suggesting changes in groove structure could regulate binding. Molecular dynamics simulations of the RHO promoter and enhancer regions show changes in the flexibility and groove width upon epigenetic modification. Models also demonstrate changes in the local dynamics of CRX binding sites within RHO regulatory sequences which may account for the repression of CRX-dependent transcription. Collectively, these data demonstrate epigenetic regulation of CRX binding sites in human retinal tissue and provide insight into the mechanism of this mode of epigenetic regulation to be tested in future experiments.

  6. Generalized nucleation and looping model for epigenetic memory of histone modifications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erdel, Fabian; Greene, Eric C.

    2016-01-01

    Histone modifications can redistribute along the genome in a sequence-independent manner, giving rise to chromatin position effects and epigenetic memory. The underlying mechanisms shape the endogenous chromatin landscape and determine its response to ectopically targeted histone modifiers. Here, we simulate linear and looping-driven spreading of histone modifications and compare both models to recent experiments on histone methylation in fission yeast. We find that a generalized nucleation-and-looping mechanism describes key observations on engineered and endogenous methylation domains including intrinsic spatial confinement, independent regulation of domain size and memory, variegation in the absence of antagonists, and coexistence of short- and long-term memory at loci with weak and strong constitutive nucleation. These findings support a straightforward relationship between the biochemical properties of chromatin modifiers and the spatiotemporal modification pattern. The proposed mechanism gives rise to a phase diagram for cellular memory that may be generally applicable to explain epigenetic phenomena across different species. PMID:27382173

  7. Epigenetics: beyond genes

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Fossey, A

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available in forestry breeding. Keywords Gene regulation; chromatin; histone code hyporthesis; RNA silencing; post transcriptional gene silencing; forestry. Introduction to epigenetic phenomena Most living organisms share a vast amount of genetic information... (Rapp and Wendel, 2005). Epigenetic phenomena pervade all aspects of cell proliferation and plant development and are often in conflict with Mendelian models of genetics (Grant-Downton and Dickinson, 2005). A key element in many epigenetic effects...

  8. Predictive minimum description length principle approach to inferring gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaitankar, Vijender; Zhang, Chaoyang; Ghosh, Preetam; Gong, Ping; Perkins, Edward J; Deng, Youping

    2011-01-01

    Reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks using information theory models has received much attention due to its simplicity, low computational cost, and capability of inferring large networks. One of the major problems with information theory models is to determine the threshold that defines the regulatory relationships between genes. The minimum description length (MDL) principle has been implemented to overcome this problem. The description length of the MDL principle is the sum of model length and data encoding length. A user-specified fine tuning parameter is used as control mechanism between model and data encoding, but it is difficult to find the optimal parameter. In this work, we propose a new inference algorithm that incorporates mutual information (MI), conditional mutual information (CMI), and predictive minimum description length (PMDL) principle to infer gene regulatory networks from DNA microarray data. In this algorithm, the information theoretic quantities MI and CMI determine the regulatory relationships between genes and the PMDL principle method attempts to determine the best MI threshold without the need of a user-specified fine tuning parameter. The performance of the proposed algorithm is evaluated using both synthetic time series data sets and a biological time series data set (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The results show that the proposed algorithm produced fewer false edges and significantly improved the precision when compared to existing MDL algorithm.

  9. Inferring the conservative causal core of gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emmert-Streib Frank

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Inferring gene regulatory networks from large-scale expression data is an important problem that received much attention in recent years. These networks have the potential to gain insights into causal molecular interactions of biological processes. Hence, from a methodological point of view, reliable estimation methods based on observational data are needed to approach this problem practically. Results In this paper, we introduce a novel gene regulatory network inference (GRNI algorithm, called C3NET. We compare C3NET with four well known methods, ARACNE, CLR, MRNET and RN, conducting in-depth numerical ensemble simulations and demonstrate also for biological expression data from E. coli that C3NET performs consistently better than the best known GRNI methods in the literature. In addition, it has also a low computational complexity. Since C3NET is based on estimates of mutual information values in conjunction with a maximization step, our numerical investigations demonstrate that our inference algorithm exploits causal structural information in the data efficiently. Conclusions For systems biology to succeed in the long run, it is of crucial importance to establish methods that extract large-scale gene networks from high-throughput data that reflect the underlying causal interactions among genes or gene products. Our method can contribute to this endeavor by demonstrating that an inference algorithm with a neat design permits not only a more intuitive and possibly biological interpretation of its working mechanism but can also result in superior results.

  10. Inferring the conservative causal core of gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Altay, Gökmen; Emmert-Streib, Frank

    2010-09-28

    Inferring gene regulatory networks from large-scale expression data is an important problem that received much attention in recent years. These networks have the potential to gain insights into causal molecular interactions of biological processes. Hence, from a methodological point of view, reliable estimation methods based on observational data are needed to approach this problem practically. In this paper, we introduce a novel gene regulatory network inference (GRNI) algorithm, called C3NET. We compare C3NET with four well known methods, ARACNE, CLR, MRNET and RN, conducting in-depth numerical ensemble simulations and demonstrate also for biological expression data from E. coli that C3NET performs consistently better than the best known GRNI methods in the literature. In addition, it has also a low computational complexity. Since C3NET is based on estimates of mutual information values in conjunction with a maximization step, our numerical investigations demonstrate that our inference algorithm exploits causal structural information in the data efficiently. For systems biology to succeed in the long run, it is of crucial importance to establish methods that extract large-scale gene networks from high-throughput data that reflect the underlying causal interactions among genes or gene products. Our method can contribute to this endeavor by demonstrating that an inference algorithm with a neat design permits not only a more intuitive and possibly biological interpretation of its working mechanism but can also result in superior results.

  11. Fused Regression for Multi-source Gene Regulatory Network Inference.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari Y Lam

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Understanding gene regulatory networks is critical to understanding cellular differentiation and response to external stimuli. Methods for global network inference have been developed and applied to a variety of species. Most approaches consider the problem of network inference independently in each species, despite evidence that gene regulation can be conserved even in distantly related species. Further, network inference is often confined to single data-types (single platforms and single cell types. We introduce a method for multi-source network inference that allows simultaneous estimation of gene regulatory networks in multiple species or biological processes through the introduction of priors based on known gene relationships such as orthology incorporated using fused regression. This approach improves network inference performance even when orthology mapping and conservation are incomplete. We refine this method by presenting an algorithm that extracts the true conserved subnetwork from a larger set of potentially conserved interactions and demonstrate the utility of our method in cross species network inference. Last, we demonstrate our method's utility in learning from data collected on different experimental platforms.

  12. Developmental gene regulatory networks in sea urchins and what we can learn from them [version 1; referees: 3 approved

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Megan L. Martik

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Sea urchin embryos begin zygotic transcription shortly after the egg is fertilized.  Throughout the cleavage stages a series of transcription factors are activated and, along with signaling through a number of pathways, at least 15 different cell types are specified by the beginning of gastrulation.  Experimentally, perturbation of contributing transcription factors, signals and receptors and their molecular consequences enabled the assembly of an extensive gene regulatory network model.  That effort, pioneered and led by Eric Davidson and his laboratory, with many additional insights provided by other laboratories, provided the sea urchin community with a valuable resource.  Here we describe the approaches used to enable the assembly of an advanced gene regulatory network model describing molecular diversification during early development.  We then provide examples to show how a relatively advanced authenticated network can be used as a tool for discovery of how diverse developmental mechanisms are controlled and work.

  13. Causal structure of oscillations in gene regulatory networks: Boolean analysis of ordinary differential equation attractors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Mengyang; Cheng, Xianrui; Socolar, Joshua E S

    2013-06-01

    A common approach to the modeling of gene regulatory networks is to represent activating or repressing interactions using ordinary differential equations for target gene concentrations that include Hill function dependences on regulator gene concentrations. An alternative formulation represents the same interactions using Boolean logic with time delays associated with each network link. We consider the attractors that emerge from the two types of models in the case of a simple but nontrivial network: a figure-8 network with one positive and one negative feedback loop. We show that the different modeling approaches give rise to the same qualitative set of attractors with the exception of a possible fixed point in the ordinary differential equation model in which concentrations sit at intermediate values. The properties of the attractors are most easily understood from the Boolean perspective, suggesting that time-delay Boolean modeling is a useful tool for understanding the logic of regulatory networks.

  14. Computational Modelling Approaches on Epigenetic Factors in Neurodegenerative and Autoimmune Diseases and Their Mechanistic Analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Afroza Khanam Irin

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Neurodegenerative as well as autoimmune diseases have unclear aetiologies, but an increasing number of evidences report for a combination of genetic and epigenetic alterations that predispose for the development of disease. This review examines the major milestones in epigenetics research in the context of diseases and various computational approaches developed in the last decades to unravel new epigenetic modifications. However, there are limited studies that systematically link genetic and epigenetic alterations of DNA to the aetiology of diseases. In this work, we demonstrate how disease-related epigenetic knowledge can be systematically captured and integrated with heterogeneous information into a functional context using Biological Expression Language (BEL. This novel methodology, based on BEL, enables us to integrate epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation or acetylation of histones into a specific disease network. As an example, we depict the integration of epigenetic and genetic factors in a functional context specific to Parkinson’s disease (PD and Multiple Sclerosis (MS.

  15. Transgenic Epigenetics: Using Transgenic Organisms to Examine Epigenetic Phenomena

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lori A. McEachern

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Non-model organisms are generally more difficult and/or time consuming to work with than model organisms. In addition, epigenetic analysis of model organisms is facilitated by well-established protocols, and commercially-available reagents and kits that may not be available for, or previously tested on, non-model organisms. Given the evolutionary conservation and widespread nature of many epigenetic mechanisms, a powerful method to analyze epigenetic phenomena from non-model organisms would be to use transgenic model organisms containing an epigenetic region of interest from the non-model. Interestingly, while transgenic Drosophila and mice have provided significant insight into the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary conservation of the epigenetic processes that target epigenetic control regions in other model organisms, this method has so far been under-exploited for non-model organism epigenetic analysis. This paper details several experiments that have examined the epigenetic processes of genomic imprinting and paramutation, by transferring an epigenetic control region from one model organism to another. These cross-species experiments demonstrate that valuable insight into both the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary conservation of epigenetic processes may be obtained via transgenic experiments, which can then be used to guide further investigations and experiments in the species of interest.

  16. Ecological plant epigenetics: Evidence from model and non-model species, and the way forward

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Richards, C. L.; Alonso, C.; Becker, C.; Bossdorf, O.; Bucher, E.; Colomé-Tatché, M.; Durka, W.; Engelhardt, J.; Gaspar, B.; Gogol-Döring, A.; Grosse, I.; van Gurp, T. P.; Heer, K.; Kronholm, I.; Lampei, C.; Latzel, Vít; Mirouze, M.; Opgenoorth, L.; Paun, O.; Prohaska, S. A.; Rensing, S. A.; Stadler, P. f.; Trucchi, E.; Ullrich, K.; Verhoeven, K. J. F.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 12 (2017), s. 1576-1590 ISSN 1461-023X Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : bioinformatics * ecological epigenetic s * genomics Subject RIV: EF - Botanics OBOR OECD: Plant sciences, botany Impact factor: 9.449, year: 2016

  17. Gene regulatory and signaling networks exhibit distinct topological distributions of motifs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferreira, Gustavo Rodrigues; Nakaya, Helder Imoto; Costa, Luciano da Fontoura

    2018-04-01

    The biological processes of cellular decision making and differentiation involve a plethora of signaling pathways and gene regulatory circuits. These networks in turn exhibit a multitude of motifs playing crucial parts in regulating network activity. Here we compare the topological placement of motifs in gene regulatory and signaling networks and observe that it suggests different evolutionary strategies in motif distribution for distinct cellular subnetworks.

  18. Learning a Markov Logic network for supervised gene regulatory network inference.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brouard, Céline; Vrain, Christel; Dubois, Julie; Castel, David; Debily, Marie-Anne; d'Alché-Buc, Florence

    2013-09-12

    Gene regulatory network inference remains a challenging problem in systems biology despite the numerous approaches that have been proposed. When substantial knowledge on a gene regulatory network is already available, supervised network inference is appropriate. Such a method builds a binary classifier able to assign a class (Regulation/No regulation) to an ordered pair of genes. Once learnt, the pairwise classifier can be used to predict new regulations. In this work, we explore the framework of Markov Logic Networks (MLN) that combine features of probabilistic graphical models with the expressivity of first-order logic rules. We propose to learn a Markov Logic network, e.g. a set of weighted rules that conclude on the predicate "regulates", starting from a known gene regulatory network involved in the switch proliferation/differentiation of keratinocyte cells, a set of experimental transcriptomic data and various descriptions of genes all encoded into first-order logic. As training data are unbalanced, we use asymmetric bagging to learn a set of MLNs. The prediction of a new regulation can then be obtained by averaging predictions of individual MLNs. As a side contribution, we propose three in silico tests to assess the performance of any pairwise classifier in various network inference tasks on real datasets. A first test consists of measuring the average performance on balanced edge prediction problem; a second one deals with the ability of the classifier, once enhanced by asymmetric bagging, to update a given network. Finally our main result concerns a third test that measures the ability of the method to predict regulations with a new set of genes. As expected, MLN, when provided with only numerical discretized gene expression data, does not perform as well as a pairwise SVM in terms of AUPR. However, when a more complete description of gene properties is provided by heterogeneous sources, MLN achieves the same performance as a black-box model such as a

  19. Integument pattern formation involves genetic and epigenetic controls: feather arrays simulated by digital hormone models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Ting-Xin; Widelitz, Randall B; Shen, Wei-Min; Will, Peter; Wu, Da-Yu; Lin, Chih-Min; Jung, Han-Sung; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2004-01-01

    Pattern formation is a fundamental morphogenetic process. Models based on genetic and epigenetic control have been proposed but remain controversial. Here we use feather morphogenesis for further evaluation. Adhesion molecules and/or signaling molecules were first expressed homogenously in feather tracts (restrictive mode, appear earlier) or directly in bud or inter-bud regions ( de novo mode, appear later). They either activate or inhibit bud formation, but paradoxically colocalize in the bud. Using feather bud reconstitution, we showed that completely dissociated cells can reform periodic patterns without reference to previous positional codes. The patterning process has the characteristics of being self-organizing, dynamic and plastic. The final pattern is an equilibrium state reached by competition, and the number and size of buds can be altered based on cell number and activator/inhibitor ratio, respectively. We developed a Digital Hormone Model which consists of (1) competent cells without identity that move randomly in a space, (2) extracellular signaling hormones which diffuse by a reaction-diffusion mechanism and activate or inhibit cell adhesion, and (3) cells which respond with topological stochastic actions manifested as changes in cell adhesion. Based on probability, the results are cell clusters arranged in dots or stripes. Thus genetic control provides combinational molecular information which defines the properties of the cells but not the final pattern. Epigenetic control governs interactions among cells and their environment based on physical-chemical rules (such as those described in the Digital Hormone Model). Complex integument patterning is the sum of these two components of control and that is why integument patterns are usually similar but non-identical. These principles may be shared by other pattern formation processes such as barb ridge formation, fingerprints, pigmentation patterning, etc. The Digital Hormone Model can also be applied to

  20. Dose response relationship in anti-stress gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Qiang; Andersen, Melvin E

    2007-03-02

    To maintain a stable intracellular environment, cells utilize complex and specialized defense systems against a variety of external perturbations, such as electrophilic stress, heat shock, and hypoxia, etc. Irrespective of the type of stress, many adaptive mechanisms contributing to cellular homeostasis appear to operate through gene regulatory networks that are organized into negative feedback loops. In general, the degree of deviation of the controlled variables, such as electrophiles, misfolded proteins, and O2, is first detected by specialized sensor molecules, then the signal is transduced to specific transcription factors. Transcription factors can regulate the expression of a suite of anti-stress genes, many of which encode enzymes functioning to counteract the perturbed variables. The objective of this study was to explore, using control theory and computational approaches, the theoretical basis that underlies the steady-state dose response relationship between cellular stressors and intracellular biochemical species (controlled variables, transcription factors, and gene products) in these gene regulatory networks. Our work indicated that the shape of dose response curves (linear, superlinear, or sublinear) depends on changes in the specific values of local response coefficients (gains) distributed in the feedback loop. Multimerization of anti-stress enzymes and transcription factors into homodimers, homotrimers, or even higher-order multimers, play a significant role in maintaining robust homeostasis. Moreover, our simulation noted that dose response curves for the controlled variables can transition sequentially through four distinct phases as stressor level increases: initial superlinear with lesser control, superlinear more highly controlled, linear uncontrolled, and sublinear catastrophic. Each phase relies on specific gain-changing events that come into play as stressor level increases. The low-dose region is intrinsically nonlinear, and depending on

  1. Dose response relationship in anti-stress gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qiang Zhang

    2007-03-01

    Full Text Available To maintain a stable intracellular environment, cells utilize complex and specialized defense systems against a variety of external perturbations, such as electrophilic stress, heat shock, and hypoxia, etc. Irrespective of the type of stress, many adaptive mechanisms contributing to cellular homeostasis appear to operate through gene regulatory networks that are organized into negative feedback loops. In general, the degree of deviation of the controlled variables, such as electrophiles, misfolded proteins, and O2, is first detected by specialized sensor molecules, then the signal is transduced to specific transcription factors. Transcription factors can regulate the expression of a suite of anti-stress genes, many of which encode enzymes functioning to counteract the perturbed variables. The objective of this study was to explore, using control theory and computational approaches, the theoretical basis that underlies the steady-state dose response relationship between cellular stressors and intracellular biochemical species (controlled variables, transcription factors, and gene products in these gene regulatory networks. Our work indicated that the shape of dose response curves (linear, superlinear, or sublinear depends on changes in the specific values of local response coefficients (gains distributed in the feedback loop. Multimerization of anti-stress enzymes and transcription factors into homodimers, homotrimers, or even higher-order multimers, play a significant role in maintaining robust homeostasis. Moreover, our simulation noted that dose response curves for the controlled variables can transition sequentially through four distinct phases as stressor level increases: initial superlinear with lesser control, superlinear more highly controlled, linear uncontrolled, and sublinear catastrophic. Each phase relies on specific gain-changing events that come into play as stressor level increases. The low-dose region is intrinsically nonlinear

  2. Neurogenic gene regulatory pathways in the sea urchin embryo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Zheng; Angerer, Lynne M; Angerer, Robert C

    2016-01-15

    During embryogenesis the sea urchin early pluteus larva differentiates 40-50 neurons marked by expression of the pan-neural marker synaptotagmin B (SynB) that are distributed along the ciliary band, in the apical plate and pharyngeal endoderm, and 4-6 serotonergic neurons that are confined to the apical plate. Development of all neurons has been shown to depend on the function of Six3. Using a combination of molecular screens and tests of gene function by morpholino-mediated knockdown, we identified SoxC and Brn1/2/4, which function sequentially in the neurogenic regulatory pathway and are also required for the differentiation of all neurons. Misexpression of Brn1/2/4 at low dose caused an increase in the number of serotonin-expressing cells and at higher dose converted most of the embryo to a neurogenic epithelial sphere expressing the Hnf6 ciliary band marker. A third factor, Z167, was shown to work downstream of the Six3 and SoxC core factors and to define a branch specific for the differentiation of serotonergic neurons. These results provide a framework for building a gene regulatory network for neurogenesis in the sea urchin embryo. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  3. Robustness and accuracy in sea urchin developmental gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Smadar eBen-Tabou De-Leon

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Developmental gene regulatory networks robustly control the timely activation of regulatory and differentiation genes. The structure of these networks underlies their capacity to buffer intrinsic and extrinsic noise and maintain embryonic morphology. Here I illustrate how the use of specific architectures by the sea urchin developmental regulatory networks enables the robust control of cell fate decisions. The Wnt-βcatenin signaling pathway patterns the primary embryonic axis while the BMP signaling pathway patterns the secondary embryonic axis in the sea urchin embryo and across bilateria. Interestingly, in the sea urchin in both cases, the signaling pathway that defines the axis controls directly the expression of a set of downstream regulatory genes. I propose that this direct activation of a set of regulatory genes enables a uniform regulatory response and a clear cut cell fate decision in the endoderm and in the dorsal ectoderm. The specification of the mesodermal pigment cell lineage is activated by Delta signaling that initiates a triple positive feedback loop that locks down the pigment specification state. I propose that the use of compound positive feedback circuitry provides the endodermal cells enough time to turn off mesodermal genes and ensures correct mesoderm vs. endoderm fate decision. Thus, I argue that understanding the control properties of repeatedly used regulatory architectures illuminates their role in embryogenesis and provides possible explanations to their resistance to evolutionary change.

  4. Data Integration for Microarrays: Enhanced Inference for Gene Regulatory Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alina Sîrbu

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Microarray technologies have been the basis of numerous important findings regarding gene expression in the few last decades. Studies have generated large amounts of data describing various processes, which, due to the existence of public databases, are widely available for further analysis. Given their lower cost and higher maturity compared to newer sequencing technologies, these data continue to be produced, even though data quality has been the subject of some debate. However, given the large volume of data generated, integration can help overcome some issues related, e.g., to noise or reduced time resolution, while providing additional insight on features not directly addressed by sequencing methods. Here, we present an integration test case based on public Drosophila melanogaster datasets (gene expression, binding site affinities, known interactions. Using an evolutionary computation framework, we show how integration can enhance the ability to recover transcriptional gene regulatory networks from these data, as well as indicating which data types are more important for quantitative and qualitative network inference. Our results show a clear improvement in performance when multiple datasets are integrated, indicating that microarray data will remain a valuable and viable resource for some time to come.

  5. Data Integration for Microarrays: Enhanced Inference for Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sîrbu, Alina; Crane, Martin; Ruskin, Heather J

    2015-05-14

    Microarray technologies have been the basis of numerous important findings regarding gene expression in the few last decades. Studies have generated large amounts of data describing various processes, which, due to the existence of public databases, are widely available for further analysis. Given their lower cost and higher maturity compared to newer sequencing technologies, these data continue to be produced, even though data quality has been the subject of some debate. However, given the large volume of data generated, integration can help overcome some issues related, e.g., to noise or reduced time resolution, while providing additional insight on features not directly addressed by sequencing methods. Here, we present an integration test case based on public Drosophila melanogaster datasets (gene expression, binding site affinities, known interactions). Using an evolutionary computation framework, we show how integration can enhance the ability to recover transcriptional gene regulatory networks from these data, as well as indicating which data types are more important for quantitative and qualitative network inference. Our results show a clear improvement in performance when multiple datasets are integrated, indicating that microarray data will remain a valuable and viable resource for some time to come.

  6. Theoretical modelling of epigenetically modified DNA sequences [version 2; referees: 2 approved

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra Teresa Pires Carvalho

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available We report herein a set of calculations designed to examine the effects of epigenetic modifications on the structure of DNA. The incorporation of methyl, hydroxymethyl, formyl and carboxy substituents at the 5-position of cytosine is shown to hardly affect the geometry of CG base pairs, but to result in rather larger changes to hydrogen-bond and stacking binding energies, as predicted by dispersion-corrected density functional theory (DFT methods. The same modifications within double-stranded GCG and ACA trimers exhibit rather larger structural effects, when including the sugar-phosphate backbone as well as sodium counterions and implicit aqueous solvation. In particular, changes are observed in the buckle and propeller angles within base pairs and the slide and roll values of base pair steps, but these leave the overall helical shape of DNA essentially intact. The structures so obtained are useful as a benchmark of faster methods, including molecular mechanics (MM and hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM methods. We show that previously developed MM parameters satisfactorily reproduce the trimer structures, as do QM/MM calculations which treat bases with dispersion-corrected DFT and the sugar-phosphate backbone with AMBER. The latter are improved by inclusion of all six bases in the QM region, since a truncated model including only the central CG base pair in the QM region is considerably further from the DFT structure. This QM/MM method is then applied to a set of double-stranded DNA heptamers derived from a recent X-ray crystallographic study, whose size puts a DFT study beyond our current computational resources. These data show that still larger structural changes are observed than in base pairs or trimers, leading us to conclude that it is important to model epigenetic modifications within realistic molecular contexts.

  7. Epigenetic regulation of BDNF in the learned helplessness-induced animal model of depression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Su, Chun-Lin; Su, Chun-Wei; Hsiao, Ya-Hsin; Gean, Po-Wu

    2016-05-01

    Major depressive disorder (MDD), one of the most common mental disorders, is a significant risk factor for suicide and causes a low quality of life for many people. However, the causes and underlying mechanism of depression remain elusive. In the current work, we investigated epigenetic regulation of BDNF in the learned helplessness-induced animal model of depression. Mice were exposed to inescapable stress and divided into learned helplessness (LH) and resilient (LH-R) groups depending on the number they failed to escape. We found that the LH group had longer immobility duration in the forced swimming test (FST) and tail suspension tests (TST), which is consistent with a depression-related phenotype. Western blotting analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed that the LH group had lower BDNF expression than that of the LH-R group. The LH group consistently had lower BDNF mRNA levels, as detected by qPCR assay. In addition, we found BDNF exon IV was down-regulated in the LH group. Intraperitoneal injection of imipramine or histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) to the LH mice for 14 consecutive days ameliorated depression-like behaviors and reversed the decrease in BDNF. The expression of HDAC5 was up-regulated in the LH mice, and a ChIP assay revealed that the level of HDAC5 binding to the promoter region of BDNF exon IV was higher than that seen in other groups. Knockdown of HDAC5 reduced depression-like behaviors in the LH mice. Taken together, these results suggest that epigenetic regulation of BDNF by HDAC5 plays an important role in the learned helplessness model of depression. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Nutritional epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    This chapter is intended to provide a timely overview of the current state of research at the intersection of nutrition and epigenetics. I begin by describing epigenetics and molecular mechanisms of eigenetic regulation, then highlight four classes of nutritional exposures currently being investiga...

  9. Evaluation of artificial time series microarray data for dynamic gene regulatory network inference.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xenitidis, P; Seimenis, I; Kakolyris, S; Adamopoulos, A

    2017-08-07

    High-throughput technology like microarrays is widely used in the inference of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). We focused on time series data since we are interested in the dynamics of GRNs and the identification of dynamic networks. We evaluated the amount of information that exists in artificial time series microarray data and the ability of an inference process to produce accurate models based on them. We used dynamic artificial gene regulatory networks in order to create artificial microarray data. Key features that characterize microarray data such as the time separation of directly triggered genes, the percentage of directly triggered genes and the triggering function type were altered in order to reveal the limits that are imposed by the nature of microarray data on the inference process. We examined the effect of various factors on the inference performance such as the network size, the presence of noise in microarray data, and the network sparseness. We used a system theory approach and examined the relationship between the pole placement of the inferred system and the inference performance. We examined the relationship between the inference performance in the time domain and the true system parameter identification. Simulation results indicated that time separation and the percentage of directly triggered genes are crucial factors. Also, network sparseness, the triggering function type and noise in input data affect the inference performance. When two factors were simultaneously varied, it was found that variation of one parameter significantly affects the dynamic response of the other. Crucial factors were also examined using a real GRN and acquired results confirmed simulation findings with artificial data. Different initial conditions were also used as an alternative triggering approach. Relevant results confirmed that the number of datasets constitutes the most significant parameter with regard to the inference performance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier

  10. Modulation of dynamic modes by interplay between positive and negative feedback loops in gene regulatory networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Liu-Suo; Li, Ning-Xi; Chen, Jing-Jia; Zhang, Xiao-Peng; Liu, Feng; Wang, Wei

    2018-04-01

    A positive and a negative feedback loop can induce bistability and oscillation, respectively, in biological networks. Nevertheless, they are frequently interlinked to perform more elaborate functions in many gene regulatory networks. Coupled positive and negative feedback loops may exhibit either oscillation or bistability depending on the intensity of the stimulus in some particular networks. It is less understood how the transition between the two dynamic modes is modulated by the positive and negative feedback loops. We developed an abstract model of such systems, largely based on the core p53 pathway, to explore the mechanism for the transformation of dynamic behaviors. Our results show that enhancing the positive feedback may promote or suppress oscillations depending on the strength of both feedback loops. We found that the system oscillates with low amplitudes in response to a moderate stimulus and switches to the on state upon a strong stimulus. When the positive feedback is activated much later than the negative one in response to a strong stimulus, the system exhibits long-term oscillations before switching to the on state. We explain this intriguing phenomenon using quasistatic approximation. Moreover, early switching to the on state may occur when the system starts from a steady state in the absence of stimuli. The interplay between the positive and negative feedback plays a key role in the transitions between oscillation and bistability. Of note, our conclusions should be applicable only to some specific gene regulatory networks, especially the p53 network, in which both oscillation and bistability exist in response to a certain type of stimulus. Our work also underscores the significance of transient dynamics in determining cellular outcome.

  11. A gene regulatory network armature for T-lymphocyte specification

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fung, Elizabeth-sharon [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2008-01-01

    Choice of a T-lymphoid fate by hematopoietic progenitor cells depends on sustained Notch-Delta signaling combined with tightly-regulated activities of multiple transcription factors. To dissect the regulatory network connections that mediate this process, we have used high-resolution analysis of regulatory gene expression trajectories from the beginning to the end of specification; tests of the short-term Notchdependence of these gene expression changes; and perturbation analyses of the effects of overexpression of two essential transcription factors, namely PU.l and GATA-3. Quantitative expression measurements of >50 transcription factor and marker genes have been used to derive the principal components of regulatory change through which T-cell precursors progress from primitive multipotency to T-lineage commitment. Distinct parts of the path reveal separate contributions of Notch signaling, GATA-3 activity, and downregulation of PU.l. Using BioTapestry, the results have been assembled into a draft gene regulatory network for the specification of T-cell precursors and the choice of T as opposed to myeloid dendritic or mast-cell fates. This network also accommodates effects of E proteins and mutual repression circuits of Gfil against Egr-2 and of TCF-l against PU.l as proposed elsewhere, but requires additional functions that remain unidentified. Distinctive features of this network structure include the intense dose-dependence of GATA-3 effects; the gene-specific modulation of PU.l activity based on Notch activity; the lack of direct opposition between PU.l and GATA-3; and the need for a distinct, late-acting repressive function or functions to extinguish stem and progenitor-derived regulatory gene expression.

  12. Ground rules of the pluripotency gene regulatory network.

    KAUST Repository

    Li, Mo

    2017-01-03

    Pluripotency is a state that exists transiently in the early embryo and, remarkably, can be recapitulated in vitro by deriving embryonic stem cells or by reprogramming somatic cells to become induced pluripotent stem cells. The state of pluripotency, which is stabilized by an interconnected network of pluripotency-associated genes, integrates external signals and exerts control over the decision between self-renewal and differentiation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic levels. Recent evidence of alternative pluripotency states indicates the regulatory flexibility of this network. Insights into the underlying principles of the pluripotency network may provide unprecedented opportunities for studying development and for regenerative medicine.

  13. Ground rules of the pluripotency gene regulatory network.

    KAUST Repository

    Li, Mo; Belmonte, Juan Carlos Izpisua

    2017-01-01

    Pluripotency is a state that exists transiently in the early embryo and, remarkably, can be recapitulated in vitro by deriving embryonic stem cells or by reprogramming somatic cells to become induced pluripotent stem cells. The state of pluripotency, which is stabilized by an interconnected network of pluripotency-associated genes, integrates external signals and exerts control over the decision between self-renewal and differentiation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic levels. Recent evidence of alternative pluripotency states indicates the regulatory flexibility of this network. Insights into the underlying principles of the pluripotency network may provide unprecedented opportunities for studying development and for regenerative medicine.

  14. A model for transmission of the H3K27me3 epigenetic mark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Klaus H; Bracken, Adrian P; Pasini, Diego

    2008-01-01

    Organization of chromatin by epigenetic mechanisms is essential for establishing and maintaining cellular identity in developing and adult organisms. A key question that remains unresolved about this process is how epigenetic marks are transmitted to the next cell generation during cell division...... during incorporation of newly synthesized histones. This mechanism ensures maintenance of the H3K27me3 epigenetic mark in proliferating cells, not only during DNA replication when histones synthesized de novo are incorporated, but also outside S phase, thereby preserving chromatin structure...

  15. Epigenetic Mechanisms Regulate Innate Immunity against Uropathogenic and Commensal-Like Escherichia coli in the Surrogate Insect Model Galleria mellonella.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heitmueller, Miriam; Billion, André; Dobrindt, Ulrich; Vilcinskas, Andreas; Mukherjee, Krishnendu

    2017-10-01

    Innate-immunity-related genes in humans are activated during urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli but are suppressed by commensals. Epigenetic mechanisms play a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression in response to environmental stimuli. To determine whether epigenetic mechanisms can explain the different behaviors of pathogenic and commensal bacteria, we infected larvae of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella , a widely used model insect host, with a uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strain that causes symptomatic UTIs in humans or a commensal-like strain that causes asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU). Infection with the UPEC strain (CFT073) was more lethal to larvae than infection with the attenuated ABU strain (83972) due to the recognition of each strain by different Toll-like receptors, ultimately leading to differential DNA/RNA methylation and histone acetylation. We used next-generation sequencing and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR to correlate epigenetic changes with the induction of innate-immunity-related genes. Transcriptomic analysis of G. mellonella larvae infected with E. coli strains CFT073 and 83972 revealed strain-specific variations in the class and expression levels of genes encoding antimicrobial peptides, cytokines, and enzymes controlling DNA methylation and histone acetylation. Our results provide evidence for the differential epigenetic regulation of transcriptional reprogramming by UPEC and ABU strains of E. coli in G. mellonella larvae, which may be relevant to understanding the different behaviors of these bacterial strains in the human urinary tract. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  16. Identification and Functional Analysis of Gene Regulatory Sequences Interacting with Colorectal Tumor Suppressors

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dahlgaard, Katja; Troelsen, Jesper

    2018-01-01

    Several tumor suppressors possess gene regulatory activity. Here, we describe how promoter and promoter/enhancer reporter assays can be used to characterize a colorectal tumor suppressor proteins’ gene regulatory activity of possible target genes. In the first part, a bioinformatic approach...... of the quick and efficient In-Fusion cloning method, and how to carry out transient transfections of Caco-2 colon cancer cells with the produced luciferase reporter plasmids using polyethyleneimine (PEI). A plan describing how to set up and carry out the luciferase expression assay is presented. The luciferase...... to identify relevant gene regulatory regions of potential target genes is presented. In the second part, it is demonstrated how to prepare and carry out the functional assay. We explain how to clone the bioinformatically identified gene regulatory regions into luciferase reporter plasmids by the use...

  17. A model for genetic and epigenetic regulatory networks identifies rare pathways for transcription factor induced pluripotency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Artyomov, Maxim; Meissner, Alex; Chakraborty, Arup

    2010-03-01

    Most cells in an organism have the same DNA. Yet, different cell types express different proteins and carry out different functions. This is because of epigenetic differences; i.e., DNA in different cell types is packaged distinctly, making it hard to express certain genes while facilitating the expression of others. During development, upon receipt of appropriate cues, pluripotent embryonic stem cells differentiate into diverse cell types that make up the organism (e.g., a human). There has long been an effort to make this process go backward -- i.e., reprogram a differentiated cell (e.g., a skin cell) to pluripotent status. Recently, this has been achieved by transfecting certain transcription factors into differentiated cells. This method does not use embryonic material and promises the development of patient-specific regenerative medicine, but it is inefficient. The mechanisms that make reprogramming rare, or even possible, are poorly understood. We have developed the first computational model of transcription factor-induced reprogramming. Results obtained from the model are consistent with diverse observations, and identify the rare pathways that allow reprogramming to occur. If validated, our model could be further developed to design optimal strategies for reprogramming and shed light on basic questions in biology.

  18. Epigenetics in natural animal populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, J; Barrett, R D H

    2017-09-01

    Phenotypic plasticity is an important mechanism for populations to buffer themselves from environmental change. While it has long been appreciated that natural populations possess genetic variation in the extent of plasticity, a surge of recent evidence suggests that epigenetic variation could also play an important role in shaping phenotypic responses. Compared with genetic variation, epigenetic variation is more likely to have higher spontaneous rates of mutation and a more sensitive reaction to environmental inputs. In our review, we first provide an overview of recent studies on epigenetically encoded thermal plasticity in animals to illustrate environmentally-mediated epigenetic effects within and across generations. Second, we discuss the role of epigenetic effects during adaptation by exploring population epigenetics in natural animal populations. Finally, we evaluate the evolutionary potential of epigenetic variation depending on its autonomy from genetic variation and its transgenerational stability. Although many of the causal links between epigenetic variation and phenotypic plasticity remain elusive, new data has explored the role of epigenetic variation in facilitating evolution in natural populations. This recent progress in ecological epigenetics will be helpful for generating predictive models of the capacity of organisms to adapt to changing climates. © 2017 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2017 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  19. Lamarck rises from his grave: parental environment-induced epigenetic inheritance in model organisms and humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yan; Liu, Huijie; Sun, Zhongsheng

    2017-11-01

    Organisms can change their physiological/behavioural traits to adapt and survive in changed environments. However, whether these acquired traits can be inherited across generations through non-genetic alterations has been a topic of debate for over a century. Emerging evidence indicates that both ancestral and parental experiences, including nutrition, environmental toxins, nurturing behaviour, and social stress, can have powerful effects on the physiological, metabolic and cellular functions in an organism. In certain circumstances, these effects can be transmitted across several generations through epigenetic (i.e. non-DNA sequence-based rather than mutational) modifications. In this review, we summarize recent evidence on epigenetic inheritance from parental environment-induced developmental and physiological alterations in nematodes, fruit flies, zebrafish, rodents, and humans. The epigenetic modifications demonstrated to be both susceptible to modulation by environmental cues and heritable, including DNA methylation, histone modification, and small non-coding RNAs, are also summarized. We particularly focus on evidence that parental environment-induced epigenetic alterations are transmitted through both the maternal and paternal germlines and exert sex-specific effects. The thought-provoking data presented here raise fundamental questions about the mechanisms responsible for these phenomena. In particular, the means that define the specificity of the response to parental experience in the gamete epigenome and that direct the establishment of the specific epigenetic change in the developing embryos, as well as in specific tissues in the descendants, remain obscure and require elucidation. More precise epigenetic assessment at both the genome-wide level and single-cell resolution as well as strategies for breeding at relatively sensitive periods of development and manipulation aimed at specific epigenetic modification are imperative for identifying parental

  20. Epigenetics of reproductive infertility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Laxmidhar; Parbin, Sabnam; Pradhan, Nibedita; Kausar, Chahat; Patra, Samir K

    2017-06-01

    Infertility is a complex pathophysiological condition. It may caused by specific or multiple physical and physiological factors, including abnormalities in homeostasis, hormonal imbalances and genetic alterations. In recent times various studies implicated that, aberrant epigenetic mechanisms are associated with reproductive infertility. There might be transgenerational effects associated with epigenetic modifications of gametes and studies suggest the importance of alterations in epigenetic modification at early and late stages of gametogenesis. To determine the causes of infertility it is necessary to understand the altered epigenetic modifications of associated gene and mechanisms involved therein. This review is devoted to elucidate the recent mechanistic advances in regulation of genes by epigenetic modification and emphasizes their possible role related to reproductive infertility. It includes environmental, nutritional, hormonal and physiological factors and influence of internal structural architecture of chromatin nucleosomes affecting DNA and histone modifications in both male and female gametes, early embryogenesis and offspring. Finally, we would like to emphasize that research on human infertility by gene knock out of epigenetic modifiers genes must be relied upon animal models.

  1. A Systems’ Biology Approach to Study MicroRNA-Mediated Gene Regulatory Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xin Lai

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available MicroRNAs (miRNAs are potent effectors in gene regulatory networks where aberrant miRNA expression can contribute to human diseases such as cancer. For a better understanding of the regulatory role of miRNAs in coordinating gene expression, we here present a systems biology approach combining data-driven modeling and model-driven experiments. Such an approach is characterized by an iterative process, including biological data acquisition and integration, network construction, mathematical modeling and experimental validation. To demonstrate the application of this approach, we adopt it to investigate mechanisms of collective repression on p21 by multiple miRNAs. We first construct a p21 regulatory network based on data from the literature and further expand it using algorithms that predict molecular interactions. Based on the network structure, a detailed mechanistic model is established and its parameter values are determined using data. Finally, the calibrated model is used to study the effect of different miRNA expression profiles and cooperative target regulation on p21 expression levels in different biological contexts.

  2. Antagonistic Coevolution Drives Whack-a-Mole Sensitivity in Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeewoen Shin

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Robustness, defined as tolerance to perturbations such as mutations and environmental fluctuations, is pervasive in biological systems. However, robustness often coexists with its counterpart, evolvability--the ability of perturbations to generate new phenotypes. Previous models of gene regulatory network evolution have shown that robustness evolves under stabilizing selection, but it is unclear how robustness and evolvability will emerge in common coevolutionary scenarios. We consider a two-species model of coevolution involving one host and one parasite population. By using two interacting species, key model parameters that determine the fitness landscapes become emergent properties of the model, avoiding the need to impose these parameters externally. In our study, parasites are modeled on species such as cuckoos where mimicry of the host phenotype confers high fitness to the parasite but lower fitness to the host. Here, frequent phenotype changes are favored as each population continually adapts to the other population. Sensitivity evolves at the network level such that point mutations can induce large phenotype changes. Crucially, the sensitive points of the network are broadly distributed throughout the network and continually relocate. Each time sensitive points in the network are mutated, new ones appear to take their place. We have therefore named this phenomenon "whack-a-mole" sensitivity, after a popular fun park game. We predict that this type of sensitivity will evolve under conditions of strong directional selection, an observation that helps interpret existing experimental evidence, for example, during the emergence of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

  3. Discovery of time-delayed gene regulatory networks based on temporal gene expression profiling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guo Zheng

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background It is one of the ultimate goals for modern biological research to fully elucidate the intricate interplays and the regulations of the molecular determinants that propel and characterize the progression of versatile life phenomena, to name a few, cell cycling, developmental biology, aging, and the progressive and recurrent pathogenesis of complex diseases. The vast amount of large-scale and genome-wide time-resolved data is becoming increasing available, which provides the golden opportunity to unravel the challenging reverse-engineering problem of time-delayed gene regulatory networks. Results In particular, this methodological paper aims to reconstruct regulatory networks from temporal gene expression data by using delayed correlations between genes, i.e., pairwise overlaps of expression levels shifted in time relative each other. We have thus developed a novel model-free computational toolbox termed TdGRN (Time-delayed Gene Regulatory Network to address the underlying regulations of genes that can span any unit(s of time intervals. This bioinformatics toolbox has provided a unified approach to uncovering time trends of gene regulations through decision analysis of the newly designed time-delayed gene expression matrix. We have applied the proposed method to yeast cell cycling and human HeLa cell cycling and have discovered most of the underlying time-delayed regulations that are supported by multiple lines of experimental evidence and that are remarkably consistent with the current knowledge on phase characteristics for the cell cyclings. Conclusion We established a usable and powerful model-free approach to dissecting high-order dynamic trends of gene-gene interactions. We have carefully validated the proposed algorithm by applying it to two publicly available cell cycling datasets. In addition to uncovering the time trends of gene regulations for cell cycling, this unified approach can also be used to study the complex

  4. Sieve-based relation extraction of gene regulatory networks from biological literature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Žitnik, Slavko; Žitnik, Marinka; Zupan, Blaž; Bajec, Marko

    2015-01-01

    Relation extraction is an essential procedure in literature mining. It focuses on extracting semantic relations between parts of text, called mentions. Biomedical literature includes an enormous amount of textual descriptions of biological entities, their interactions and results of related experiments. To extract them in an explicit, computer readable format, these relations were at first extracted manually from databases. Manual curation was later replaced with automatic or semi-automatic tools with natural language processing capabilities. The current challenge is the development of information extraction procedures that can directly infer more complex relational structures, such as gene regulatory networks. We develop a computational approach for extraction of gene regulatory networks from textual data. Our method is designed as a sieve-based system and uses linear-chain conditional random fields and rules for relation extraction. With this method we successfully extracted the sporulation gene regulation network in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis for the information extraction challenge at the BioNLP 2013 conference. To enable extraction of distant relations using first-order models, we transform the data into skip-mention sequences. We infer multiple models, each of which is able to extract different relationship types. Following the shared task, we conducted additional analysis using different system settings that resulted in reducing the reconstruction error of bacterial sporulation network from 0.73 to 0.68, measured as the slot error rate between the predicted and the reference network. We observe that all relation extraction sieves contribute to the predictive performance of the proposed approach. Also, features constructed by considering mention words and their prefixes and suffixes are the most important features for higher accuracy of extraction. Analysis of distances between different mention types in the text shows that our choice of transforming

  5. Inference of time-delayed gene regulatory networks based on dynamic Bayesian network hybrid learning method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Bin; Xu, Jia-Meng; Li, Shan; Chen, Cheng; Chen, Rui-Xin; Wang, Lei; Zhang, Yan; Wang, Ming-Hui

    2017-10-06

    Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) research reveals complex life phenomena from the perspective of gene interaction, which is an important research field in systems biology. Traditional Bayesian networks have a high computational complexity, and the network structure scoring model has a single feature. Information-based approaches cannot identify the direction of regulation. In order to make up for the shortcomings of the above methods, this paper presents a novel hybrid learning method (DBNCS) based on dynamic Bayesian network (DBN) to construct the multiple time-delayed GRNs for the first time, combining the comprehensive score (CS) with the DBN model. DBNCS algorithm first uses CMI2NI (conditional mutual inclusive information-based network inference) algorithm for network structure profiles learning, namely the construction of search space. Then the redundant regulations are removed by using the recursive optimization algorithm (RO), thereby reduce the false positive rate. Secondly, the network structure profiles are decomposed into a set of cliques without loss, which can significantly reduce the computational complexity. Finally, DBN model is used to identify the direction of gene regulation within the cliques and search for the optimal network structure. The performance of DBNCS algorithm is evaluated by the benchmark GRN datasets from DREAM challenge as well as the SOS DNA repair network in Escherichia coli , and compared with other state-of-the-art methods. The experimental results show the rationality of the algorithm design and the outstanding performance of the GRNs.

  6. Linking epigenetic function to electrostatics: The DNMT2 structural model example.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Gilberto Cavalheiro; Vieira, Gustavo Fioravanti; Sinigaglia, Marialva; Silva Valente, Vera Lúcia da

    2017-01-01

    The amino acid sequence of DNMT2 is very similar to the catalytic domains of bacterial and eukaryotic proteins. However, there is great variability in the region of recognition of the target sequence. While bacterial DNMT2 acts as a DNA methyltransferase, previous studies have indicated low DNA methylation activity in eukaryotic DNMT2, with preference by tRNA methylation. Drosophilids are known as DNMT2-only species and the DNA methylation phenomenon is a not elucidated case yet, as well as the ontogenetic and physiologic importance of DNMT2 for this species group. In addition, more recently study showed that methylation in the genome in Drosophila melanogaster is independent in relation to DNMT2. Despite these findings, Drosophilidae family has more than 4,200 species with great ecological diversity and historical evolution, thus we, therefore, aimed to examine the drosophilids DNMT2 in order to verify its conservation at the physicochemical and structural levels in a functional context. We examined the twenty-six DNMT2 models generated by molecular modelling and five crystallographic structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) using different approaches. Our results showed that despite sequence and structural similarity between species close related, we found outstanding differences when they are analyzed in the context of surface distribution of electrostatic properties. The differences found in the electrostatic potentials may be linked with different affinities and processivity of DNMT2 for its different substrates (DNA, RNA or tRNA) and even for interactions with other proteins involved in the epigenetic mechanisms.

  7. Epigenetics and cerebral organoids

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Forsberg, Sheena Louise; Ilieva, Mirolyuba; Maria Michel, Tanja

    2018-01-01

    also play a role. Some studies indicate a set of candidate genes with different DNA methylation profiles in ASD compared to healthy individuals. Thus epigenetic alterations could help bridging the gene-environment gap in deciphering the underlying neurobiology of autism. However, epigenome......-wide association studies (EWAS) have mainly included a very limited number of postmortem brain samples. Hence, cellular models mimicking brain development in vitro will be of great importance to study the critical epigenetic alterations and when they might happen. This review will give an overview of the state...... of the art concerning knowledge on epigenetic changes in autism and how new, cutting edge expertise based on three-dimensional (3D) stem cell technology models (brain organoids) can contribute in elucidating the multiple aspects of disease mechanisms....

  8. Grand challenges in evolutionary and population genetics: The importance of integrating epigenetics, genomics, modeling, and experimentation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuel A. Cushman

    2014-01-01

    This is a time of explosive growth in the fields of evolutionary and population genetics, with whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics driving a transformative paradigm shift (Morozova and Marra, 2008). At the same time, advances in epigenetics are thoroughly transforming our understanding of evolutionary processes and their implications for populations, species and...

  9. Behavioral epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, David S

    2017-01-01

    Why do we grow up to have the traits we do? Most 20th century scientists answered this question by referring only to our genes and our environments. But recent discoveries in the emerging field of behavioral epigenetics have revealed factors at the interface between genes and environments that also play crucial roles in development. These factors affect how genes work; scientists now know that what matters as much as which genes you have (and what environments you encounter) is how your genes are affected by their contexts. The discovery that what our genes do depends in part on our experiences has shed light on how Nature and Nurture interact at the molecular level inside of our bodies. Data emerging from the world's behavioral epigenetics laboratories support the idea that a person's genes alone cannot determine if, for example, he or she will end up shy, suffering from cardiovascular disease, or extremely smart. Among the environmental factors that can influence genetic activity are parenting styles, diets, and social statuses. In addition to influencing how doctors treat diseases, discoveries about behavioral epigenetics are likely to alter how biologists think about evolution, because some epigenetic effects of experience appear to be transmissible from generation to generation. This domain of research will likely change how we think about the origins of human nature. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2017, 9:e1333. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1333 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. Construction of Gene Regulatory Networks Using Recurrent Neural Networks and Swarm Intelligence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Abhinandan; Mandal, Sudip; Pal, Rajat Kumar; Saha, Goutam

    2016-01-01

    We have proposed a methodology for the reverse engineering of biologically plausible gene regulatory networks from temporal genetic expression data. We have used established information and the fundamental mathematical theory for this purpose. We have employed the Recurrent Neural Network formalism to extract the underlying dynamics present in the time series expression data accurately. We have introduced a new hybrid swarm intelligence framework for the accurate training of the model parameters. The proposed methodology has been first applied to a small artificial network, and the results obtained suggest that it can produce the best results available in the contemporary literature, to the best of our knowledge. Subsequently, we have implemented our proposed framework on experimental (in vivo) datasets. Finally, we have investigated two medium sized genetic networks (in silico) extracted from GeneNetWeaver, to understand how the proposed algorithm scales up with network size. Additionally, we have implemented our proposed algorithm with half the number of time points. The results indicate that a reduction of 50% in the number of time points does not have an effect on the accuracy of the proposed methodology significantly, with a maximum of just over 15% deterioration in the worst case.

  11. Analysis of a Gene Regulatory Cascade Mediating Circadian Rhythm in Zebrafish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Haifang; Du, Jiulin; Yan, Jun

    2013-01-01

    In the study of circadian rhythms, it has been a puzzle how a limited number of circadian clock genes can control diverse aspects of physiology. Here we investigate circadian gene expression genome-wide using larval zebrafish as a model system. We made use of a spatial gene expression atlas to investigate the expression of circadian genes in various tissues and cell types. Comparison of genome-wide circadian gene expression data between zebrafish and mouse revealed a nearly anti-phase relationship and allowed us to detect novel evolutionarily conserved circadian genes in vertebrates. We identified three groups of zebrafish genes with distinct responses to light entrainment: fast light-induced genes, slow light-induced genes, and dark-induced genes. Our computational analysis of the circadian gene regulatory network revealed several transcription factors (TFs) involved in diverse aspects of circadian physiology through transcriptional cascade. Of these, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor a (mitfa), a dark-induced TF, mediates a circadian rhythm of melanin synthesis, which may be involved in zebrafish's adaptation to daily light cycling. Our study describes a systematic method to discover previously unidentified TFs involved in circadian physiology in complex organisms. PMID:23468616

  12. Anxiety and Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartlett, Andrew A; Singh, Rumani; Hunter, Richard G

    2017-01-01

    Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent psychiatric disorders often comorbid with depression and substance abuse. Twin studies have shown that anxiety disorders are moderately heritable. Yet, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have failed to identify gene(s) significantly associated with diagnosis suggesting a strong role for environmental factors and the epigenome. A number of anxiety disorder subtypes are considered "stress related." A large focus of research has been on the epigenetic and anxiety-like behavioral consequences of stress. Animal models of anxiety-related disorders have provided strong evidence for the role of stress on the epigenetic control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and of stress-responsive brain regions. Neuroepigenetics may continue to explain individual variation in susceptibility to environmental perturbations and consequently anxious behavior. Behavioral and pharmacological interventions aimed at targeting epigenetic marks associated with anxiety may prove fruitful in developing treatments.

  13. Genotet: An Interactive Web-based Visual Exploration Framework to Support Validation of Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Bowen; Doraiswamy, Harish; Chen, Xi; Miraldi, Emily; Arrieta-Ortiz, Mario Luis; Hafemeister, Christoph; Madar, Aviv; Bonneau, Richard; Silva, Cláudio T

    2014-12-01

    Elucidation of transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) is a fundamental goal in biology, and one of the most important components of TRNs are transcription factors (TFs), proteins that specifically bind to gene promoter and enhancer regions to alter target gene expression patterns. Advances in genomic technologies as well as advances in computational biology have led to multiple large regulatory network models (directed networks) each with a large corpus of supporting data and gene-annotation. There are multiple possible biological motivations for exploring large regulatory network models, including: validating TF-target gene relationships, figuring out co-regulation patterns, and exploring the coordination of cell processes in response to changes in cell state or environment. Here we focus on queries aimed at validating regulatory network models, and on coordinating visualization of primary data and directed weighted gene regulatory networks. The large size of both the network models and the primary data can make such coordinated queries cumbersome with existing tools and, in particular, inhibits the sharing of results between collaborators. In this work, we develop and demonstrate a web-based framework for coordinating visualization and exploration of expression data (RNA-seq, microarray), network models and gene-binding data (ChIP-seq). Using specialized data structures and multiple coordinated views, we design an efficient querying model to support interactive analysis of the data. Finally, we show the effectiveness of our framework through case studies for the mouse immune system (a dataset focused on a subset of key cellular functions) and a model bacteria (a small genome with high data-completeness).

  14. On the Interplay between Entropy and Robustness of Gene Regulatory Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bor-Sen Chen

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The interplay between entropy and robustness of gene network is a core mechanism of systems biology. The entropy is a measure of randomness or disorder of a physical system due to random parameter fluctuation and environmental noises in gene regulatory networks. The robustness of a gene regulatory network, which can be measured as the ability to tolerate the random parameter fluctuation and to attenuate the effect of environmental noise, will be discussed from the robust H∞ stabilization and filtering perspective. In this review, we will also discuss their balancing roles in evolution and potential applications in systems and synthetic biology.

  15. Fractal gene regulatory networks for robust locomotion control of modular robots

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zahadat, Payam; Christensen, David Johan; Schultz, Ulrik Pagh

    2010-01-01

    Designing controllers for modular robots is difficult due to the distributed and dynamic nature of the robots. In this paper fractal gene regulatory networks are evolved to control modular robots in a distributed way. Experiments with different morphologies of modular robot are performed and the ......Designing controllers for modular robots is difficult due to the distributed and dynamic nature of the robots. In this paper fractal gene regulatory networks are evolved to control modular robots in a distributed way. Experiments with different morphologies of modular robot are performed...

  16. A Kalman-filter based approach to identification of time-varying gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jie Xiong

    Full Text Available MOTIVATION: Conventional identification methods for gene regulatory networks (GRNs have overwhelmingly adopted static topology models, which remains unchanged over time to represent the underlying molecular interactions of a biological system. However, GRNs are dynamic in response to physiological and environmental changes. Although there is a rich literature in modeling static or temporally invariant networks, how to systematically recover these temporally changing networks remains a major and significant pressing challenge. The purpose of this study is to suggest a two-step strategy that recovers time-varying GRNs. RESULTS: It is suggested in this paper to utilize a switching auto-regressive model to describe the dynamics of time-varying GRNs, and a two-step strategy is proposed to recover the structure of time-varying GRNs. In the first step, the change points are detected by a Kalman-filter based method. The observed time series are divided into several segments using these detection results; and each time series segment belonging to two successive demarcating change points is associated with an individual static regulatory network. In the second step, conditional network structure identification methods are used to reconstruct the topology for each time interval. This two-step strategy efficiently decouples the change point detection problem and the topology inference problem. Simulation results show that the proposed strategy can detect the change points precisely and recover each individual topology structure effectively. Moreover, computation results with the developmental data of Drosophila Melanogaster show that the proposed change point detection procedure is also able to work effectively in real world applications and the change point estimation accuracy exceeds other existing approaches, which means the suggested strategy may also be helpful in solving actual GRN reconstruction problem.

  17. Inference of Cancer-specific Gene Regulatory Networks Using Soft Computing Rules

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaosheng Wang

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Perturbations of gene regulatory networks are essentially responsible for oncogenesis. Therefore, inferring the gene regulatory networks is a key step to overcoming cancer. In this work, we propose a method for inferring directed gene regulatory networks based on soft computing rules, which can identify important cause-effect regulatory relations of gene expression. First, we identify important genes associated with a specific cancer (colon cancer using a supervised learning approach. Next, we reconstruct the gene regulatory networks by inferring the regulatory relations among the identified genes, and their regulated relations by other genes within the genome. We obtain two meaningful findings. One is that upregulated genes are regulated by more genes than downregulated ones, while downregulated genes regulate more genes than upregulated ones. The other one is that tumor suppressors suppress tumor activators and activate other tumor suppressors strongly, while tumor activators activate other tumor activators and suppress tumor suppressors weakly, indicating the robustness of biological systems. These findings provide valuable insights into the pathogenesis of cancer.

  18. On the role of sparseness in the evolution of modularity in gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Espinosa-Soto, Carlos

    2018-05-01

    Modularity is a widespread property in biological systems. It implies that interactions occur mainly within groups of system elements. A modular arrangement facilitates adjustment of one module without perturbing the rest of the system. Therefore, modularity of developmental mechanisms is a major factor for evolvability, the potential to produce beneficial variation from random genetic change. Understanding how modularity evolves in gene regulatory networks, that create the distinct gene activity patterns that characterize different parts of an organism, is key to developmental and evolutionary biology. One hypothesis for the evolution of modules suggests that interactions between some sets of genes become maladaptive when selection favours additional gene activity patterns. The removal of such interactions by selection would result in the formation of modules. A second hypothesis suggests that modularity evolves in response to sparseness, the scarcity of interactions within a system. Here I simulate the evolution of gene regulatory networks and analyse diverse experimentally sustained networks to study the relationship between sparseness and modularity. My results suggest that sparseness alone is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain modularity in gene regulatory networks. However, sparseness amplifies the effects of forms of selection that, like selection for additional gene activity patterns, already produce an increase in modularity. That evolution of new gene activity patterns is frequent across evolution also supports that it is a major factor in the evolution of modularity. That sparseness is widespread across gene regulatory networks indicates that it may have facilitated the evolution of modules in a wide variety of cases.

  19. Interactive visualization of gene regulatory networks with associated gene expression time series data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Westenberg, M.A.; Hijum, van S.A.F.T.; Lulko, A.T.; Kuipers, O.P.; Roerdink, J.B.T.M.; Linsen, L.; Hagen, H.; Hamann, B.

    2008-01-01

    We present GENeVis, an application to visualize gene expression time series data in a gene regulatory network context. This is a network of regulator proteins that regulate the expression of their respective target genes. The networks are represented as graphs, in which the nodes represent genes,

  20. Bottom-up GGM algorithm for constructing multiple layered hierarchical gene regulatory networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Multilayered hierarchical gene regulatory networks (ML-hGRNs) are very important for understanding genetics regulation of biological pathways. However, there are currently no computational algorithms available for directly building ML-hGRNs that regulate biological pathways. A bottom-up graphic Gaus...

  1. Inferring Drosophila gap gene regulatory network: Pattern analysis of simulated gene expression profiles and stability analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fomekong-Nanfack, Y.; Postma, M.; Kaandorp, J.A.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Inference of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) requires accurate data, a method to simulate the expression patterns and an efficient optimization algorithm to estimate the unknown parameters. Using this approach it is possible to obtain alternative circuits without making any a priori

  2. Inference of cancer-specific gene regulatory networks using soft computing rules.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xiaosheng; Gotoh, Osamu

    2010-03-24

    Perturbations of gene regulatory networks are essentially responsible for oncogenesis. Therefore, inferring the gene regulatory networks is a key step to overcoming cancer. In this work, we propose a method for inferring directed gene regulatory networks based on soft computing rules, which can identify important cause-effect regulatory relations of gene expression. First, we identify important genes associated with a specific cancer (colon cancer) using a supervised learning approach. Next, we reconstruct the gene regulatory networks by inferring the regulatory relations among the identified genes, and their regulated relations by other genes within the genome. We obtain two meaningful findings. One is that upregulated genes are regulated by more genes than downregulated ones, while downregulated genes regulate more genes than upregulated ones. The other one is that tumor suppressors suppress tumor activators and activate other tumor suppressors strongly, while tumor activators activate other tumor activators and suppress tumor suppressors weakly, indicating the robustness of biological systems. These findings provide valuable insights into the pathogenesis of cancer.

  3. Gene regulatory network inference by point-based Gaussian approximation filters incorporating the prior information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, Bin; Wang, Xiaodong

    2013-12-17

    : The extended Kalman filter (EKF) has been applied to inferring gene regulatory networks. However, it is well known that the EKF becomes less accurate when the system exhibits high nonlinearity. In addition, certain prior information about the gene regulatory network exists in practice, and no systematic approach has been developed to incorporate such prior information into the Kalman-type filter for inferring the structure of the gene regulatory network. In this paper, an inference framework based on point-based Gaussian approximation filters that can exploit the prior information is developed to solve the gene regulatory network inference problem. Different point-based Gaussian approximation filters, including the unscented Kalman filter (UKF), the third-degree cubature Kalman filter (CKF3), and the fifth-degree cubature Kalman filter (CKF5) are employed. Several types of network prior information, including the existing network structure information, sparsity assumption, and the range constraint of parameters, are considered, and the corresponding filters incorporating the prior information are developed. Experiments on a synthetic network of eight genes and the yeast protein synthesis network of five genes are carried out to demonstrate the performance of the proposed framework. The results show that the proposed methods provide more accurate inference results than existing methods, such as the EKF and the traditional UKF.

  4. Evolutionary approaches for the reverse-engineering of gene regulatory networks: A study on a biologically realistic dataset

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gidrol Xavier

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Inferring gene regulatory networks from data requires the development of algorithms devoted to structure extraction. When only static data are available, gene interactions may be modelled by a Bayesian Network (BN that represents the presence of direct interactions from regulators to regulees by conditional probability distributions. We used enhanced evolutionary algorithms to stochastically evolve a set of candidate BN structures and found the model that best fits data without prior knowledge. Results We proposed various evolutionary strategies suitable for the task and tested our choices using simulated data drawn from a given bio-realistic network of 35 nodes, the so-called insulin network, which has been used in the literature for benchmarking. We assessed the inferred models against this reference to obtain statistical performance results. We then compared performances of evolutionary algorithms using two kinds of recombination operators that operate at different scales in the graphs. We introduced a niching strategy that reinforces diversity through the population and avoided trapping of the algorithm in one local minimum in the early steps of learning. We show the limited effect of the mutation operator when niching is applied. Finally, we compared our best evolutionary approach with various well known learning algorithms (MCMC, K2, greedy search, TPDA, MMHC devoted to BN structure learning. Conclusion We studied the behaviour of an evolutionary approach enhanced by niching for the learning of gene regulatory networks with BN. We show that this approach outperforms classical structure learning methods in elucidating the original model. These results were obtained for the learning of a bio-realistic network and, more importantly, on various small datasets. This is a suitable approach for learning transcriptional regulatory networks from real datasets without prior knowledge.

  5. The vertebrate Hox gene regulatory network for hindbrain segmentation: Evolution and diversification: Coupling of a Hox gene regulatory network to hindbrain segmentation is an ancient trait originating at the base of vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parker, Hugo J; Bronner, Marianne E; Krumlauf, Robb

    2016-06-01

    Hindbrain development is orchestrated by a vertebrate gene regulatory network that generates segmental patterning along the anterior-posterior axis via Hox genes. Here, we review analyses of vertebrate and invertebrate chordate models that inform upon the evolutionary origin and diversification of this network. Evidence from the sea lamprey reveals that the hindbrain regulatory network generates rhombomeric compartments with segmental Hox expression and an underlying Hox code. We infer that this basal feature was present in ancestral vertebrates and, as an evolutionarily constrained developmental state, is fundamentally important for patterning of the vertebrate hindbrain across diverse lineages. Despite the common ground plan, vertebrates exhibit neuroanatomical diversity in lineage-specific patterns, with different vertebrates revealing variations of Hox expression in the hindbrain that could underlie this diversification. Invertebrate chordates lack hindbrain segmentation but exhibit some conserved aspects of this network, with retinoic acid signaling playing a role in establishing nested domains of Hox expression. © 2016 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  6. A canonical correlation analysis-based dynamic bayesian network prior to infer gene regulatory networks from multiple types of biological data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baur, Brittany; Bozdag, Serdar

    2015-04-01

    One of the challenging and important computational problems in systems biology is to infer gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of biological systems. Several methods that exploit gene expression data have been developed to tackle this problem. In this study, we propose the use of copy number and DNA methylation data to infer GRNs. We developed an algorithm that scores regulatory interactions between genes based on canonical correlation analysis. In this algorithm, copy number or DNA methylation variables are treated as potential regulator variables, and expression variables are treated as potential target variables. We first validated that the canonical correlation analysis method is able to infer true interactions in high accuracy. We showed that the use of DNA methylation or copy number datasets leads to improved inference over steady-state expression. Our results also showed that epigenetic and structural information could be used to infer directionality of regulatory interactions. Additional improvements in GRN inference can be gleaned from incorporating the result in an informative prior in a dynamic Bayesian algorithm. This is the first study that incorporates copy number and DNA methylation into an informative prior in dynamic Bayesian framework. By closely examining top-scoring interactions with different sources of epigenetic or structural information, we also identified potential novel regulatory interactions.

  7. Verification of epigenetic inheritance in a unicellular model system: multigenerational effects of hormonal imprinting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kőhidai, László; Lajkó, Eszter; Pállinger, Eva; Csaba, György

    2012-10-01

    The unicellular Tetrahymena has receptors for hormones of higher vertebrates, produces these hormones, and their signal pathways are similar. The first encounter with a hormone in higher dose provokes the phenomenon of hormonal imprinting, by which the reaction of the cell is quantitatively modified. This modification is transmitted to the progeny generations. The duration of the single imprinter effect of two representative signal molecules, insulin and 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine), in two concentrations (10(-6) and 10(-15) M) were studied. The effects of imprinting were followed in 5 physiological indices: (i) insulin binding, (ii) 5-HT synthesis, (iii) swimming behaviour, (iv) cell growth and (v) chemotaxis in progeny generations 500 and 1000. The result of each index was different from the non-imprinted control functions, growth rate, swimming behaviour and chemotactic activity to insulin being enhanced, while others, e.g. synthesis and chemotactic responsiveness of 5-HT and the binding of insulin were reduced. This means that a function-specific heritable epigenetic change during imprinting occurs, and generally a single encounter with a femtomolar hormone concentration is enough for provoking durable and heritable imprinting in Tetrahymena. The experiments demonstrate the possibility of epigenetic effects at a unicellular level and call attention to the possibility that the character of unicellular organisms has changed through to the present day due to an enormous amount of non-physiological imprinter substances in their environment. The results - together with results obtained earlier in mammals - point to the validity of epigenetic imprinting effects throughout the animal world.

  8. A relative variation-based method to unraveling gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yali Wang

    Full Text Available Gene regulatory network (GRN reconstruction is essential in understanding the functioning and pathology of a biological system. Extensive models and algorithms have been developed to unravel a GRN. The DREAM project aims to clarify both advantages and disadvantages of these methods from an application viewpoint. An interesting yet surprising observation is that compared with complicated methods like those based on nonlinear differential equations, etc., methods based on a simple statistics, such as the so-called Z-score, usually perform better. A fundamental problem with the Z-score, however, is that direct and indirect regulations can not be easily distinguished. To overcome this drawback, a relative expression level variation (RELV based GRN inference algorithm is suggested in this paper, which consists of three major steps. Firstly, on the basis of wild type and single gene knockout/knockdown experimental data, the magnitude of RELV of a gene is estimated. Secondly, probability for the existence of a direct regulation from a perturbed gene to a measured gene is estimated, which is further utilized to estimate whether a gene can be regulated by other genes. Finally, the normalized RELVs are modified to make genes with an estimated zero in-degree have smaller RELVs in magnitude than the other genes, which is used afterwards in queuing possibilities of the existence of direct regulations among genes and therefore leads to an estimate on the GRN topology. This method can in principle avoid the so-called cascade errors under certain situations. Computational results with the Size 100 sub-challenges of DREAM3 and DREAM4 show that, compared with the Z-score based method, prediction performances can be substantially improved, especially the AUPR specification. Moreover, it can even outperform the best team of both DREAM3 and DREAM4. Furthermore, the high precision of the obtained most reliable predictions shows that the suggested algorithm may be

  9. Finding gene regulatory network candidates using the gene expression knowledge base.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Venkatesan, Aravind; Tripathi, Sushil; Sanz de Galdeano, Alejandro; Blondé, Ward; Lægreid, Astrid; Mironov, Vladimir; Kuiper, Martin

    2014-12-10

    Network-based approaches for the analysis of large-scale genomics data have become well established. Biological networks provide a knowledge scaffold against which the patterns and dynamics of 'omics' data can be interpreted. The background information required for the construction of such networks is often dispersed across a multitude of knowledge bases in a variety of formats. The seamless integration of this information is one of the main challenges in bioinformatics. The Semantic Web offers powerful technologies for the assembly of integrated knowledge bases that are computationally comprehensible, thereby providing a potentially powerful resource for constructing biological networks and network-based analysis. We have developed the Gene eXpression Knowledge Base (GeXKB), a semantic web technology based resource that contains integrated knowledge about gene expression regulation. To affirm the utility of GeXKB we demonstrate how this resource can be exploited for the identification of candidate regulatory network proteins. We present four use cases that were designed from a biological perspective in order to find candidate members relevant for the gastrin hormone signaling network model. We show how a combination of specific query definitions and additional selection criteria derived from gene expression data and prior knowledge concerning candidate proteins can be used to retrieve a set of proteins that constitute valid candidates for regulatory network extensions. Semantic web technologies provide the means for processing and integrating various heterogeneous information sources. The GeXKB offers biologists such an integrated knowledge resource, allowing them to address complex biological questions pertaining to gene expression. This work illustrates how GeXKB can be used in combination with gene expression results and literature information to identify new potential candidates that may be considered for extending a gene regulatory network.

  10. Cooperative adaptive responses in gene regulatory networks with many degrees of freedom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Inoue, Masayo; Kaneko, Kunihiko

    2013-04-01

    Cells generally adapt to environmental changes by first exhibiting an immediate response and then gradually returning to their original state to achieve homeostasis. Although simple network motifs consisting of a few genes have been shown to exhibit such adaptive dynamics, they do not reflect the complexity of real cells, where the expression of a large number of genes activates or represses other genes, permitting adaptive behaviors. Here, we investigated the responses of gene regulatory networks containing many genes that have undergone numerical evolution to achieve high fitness due to the adaptive response of only a single target gene; this single target gene responds to changes in external inputs and later returns to basal levels. Despite setting a single target, most genes showed adaptive responses after evolution. Such adaptive dynamics were not due to common motifs within a few genes; even without such motifs, almost all genes showed adaptation, albeit sometimes partial adaptation, in the sense that expression levels did not always return to original levels. The genes split into two groups: genes in the first group exhibited an initial increase in expression and then returned to basal levels, while genes in the second group exhibited the opposite changes in expression. From this model, genes in the first group received positive input from other genes within the first group, but negative input from genes in the second group, and vice versa. Thus, the adaptation dynamics of genes from both groups were consolidated. This cooperative adaptive behavior was commonly observed if the number of genes involved was larger than the order of ten. These results have implications in the collective responses of gene expression networks in microarray measurements of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the significance to the biological homeostasis of systems with many components.

  11. Integration of Genome-Wide TF Binding and Gene Expression Data to Characterize Gene Regulatory Networks in Plant Development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Dijun; Kaufmann, Kerstin

    2017-01-01

    Key transcription factors (TFs) controlling the morphogenesis of flowers and leaves have been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Recent genome-wide approaches based on chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) enable systematic identification of genome-wide TF binding sites (TFBSs) of these regulators. Here, we describe a computational pipeline for analyzing ChIP-seq data to identify TFBSs and to characterize gene regulatory networks (GRNs) with applications to the regulatory studies of flower development. In particular, we provide step-by-step instructions on how to download, analyze, visualize, and integrate genome-wide data in order to construct GRNs for beginners of bioinformatics. The practical guide presented here is ready to apply to other similar ChIP-seq datasets to characterize GRNs of interest.

  12. MicroRNAs as New Characters in the Plot between Epigenetics and Prostate Cancer

    OpenAIRE

    Paone, Alessio; Galli, Roberta; Fabbri, Muller

    2011-01-01

    Prostate cancer (PCA) still represents a leading cause of death. An increasing number of studies have documented that microRNAs (miRNAs), a subgroup of non-coding RNAs with gene regulatory functions, are differentially expressed in PCA respect to the normal tissue counterpart, suggesting their involvement in prostate carcinogenesis and dissemination. Interestingly, it has been shown that miRNAs undergo the same regulatory mechanisms than any other protein coding gene, including epigenetic reg...

  13. Network Biomarkers of Bladder Cancer Based on a Genome-Wide Genetic and Epigenetic Network Derived from Next-Generation Sequencing Data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Cheng-Wei; Chen, Bor-Sen

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic and microRNA (miRNA) regulation are associated with carcinogenesis and the development of cancer. By using the available omics data, including those from next-generation sequencing (NGS), genome-wide methylation profiling, candidate integrated genetic and epigenetic network (IGEN) analysis, and drug response genome-wide microarray analysis, we constructed an IGEN system based on three coupling regression models that characterize protein-protein interaction networks (PPINs), gene regulatory networks (GRNs), miRNA regulatory networks (MRNs), and epigenetic regulatory networks (ERNs). By applying system identification method and principal genome-wide network projection (PGNP) to IGEN analysis, we identified the core network biomarkers to investigate bladder carcinogenic mechanisms and design multiple drug combinations for treating bladder cancer with minimal side-effects. The progression of DNA repair and cell proliferation in stage 1 bladder cancer ultimately results not only in the derepression of miR-200a and miR-200b but also in the regulation of the TNF pathway to metastasis-related genes or proteins, cell proliferation, and DNA repair in stage 4 bladder cancer. We designed a multiple drug combination comprising gefitinib, estradiol, yohimbine, and fulvestrant for treating stage 1 bladder cancer with minimal side-effects, and another multiple drug combination comprising gefitinib, estradiol, chlorpromazine, and LY294002 for treating stage 4 bladder cancer with minimal side-effects.

  14. The epigenetic landscape of alcoholism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krishnan, Harish R; Sakharkar, Amul J; Teppen, Tara L; Berkel, Tiffani D M; Pandey, Subhash C

    2014-01-01

    Alcoholism is a complex psychiatric disorder that has a multifactorial etiology. Epigenetic mechanisms are uniquely capable of accounting for the multifactorial nature of the disease in that they are highly stable and are affected by environmental factors, including alcohol itself. Chromatin remodeling causes changes in gene expression in specific brain regions contributing to the endophenotypes of alcoholism such as tolerance and dependence. The epigenetic mechanisms that regulate changes in gene expression observed in addictive behaviors respond not only to alcohol exposure but also to comorbid psychopathology such as the presence of anxiety and stress. This review summarizes recent developments in epigenetic research that may play a role in alcoholism. We propose that pharmacologically manipulating epigenetic targets, as demonstrated in various preclinical models, hold great therapeutic potential in the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Maternal smoking as a model for environmental epigenetic changes affecting birthweight and fetal programming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suter, Melissa A; Anders, Amber M; Aagaard, Kjersti M

    2013-01-01

    Although the association between maternal smoking and low birthweight infants has been well established, the mechanisms behind reduced fetal growth are still being elucidated. While many infants are exposed to tobacco smoke in utero, not all are born growth restricted or small for gestational age. Many hypotheses have emerged to explain the differential response to in utero maternal tobacco smoke exposure (MTSE). Studies have shown that both maternal and fetal genotypes may contribute to the discrepant outcomes. However, the contribution of epigenetic changes cannot be ignored. In this review we address two important questions regarding the effect of MTSE on the fetal epigenome. First, does exposure to maternal tobacco smoke in utero alter the fetal epigenome? Secondly, could these alterations be associated with the reduced fetal growth observed with MTSE?

  16. Identifying time-delayed gene regulatory networks via an evolvable hierarchical recurrent neural network.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kordmahalleh, Mina Moradi; Sefidmazgi, Mohammad Gorji; Harrison, Scott H; Homaifar, Abdollah

    2017-01-01

    The modeling of genetic interactions within a cell is crucial for a basic understanding of physiology and for applied areas such as drug design. Interactions in gene regulatory networks (GRNs) include effects of transcription factors, repressors, small metabolites, and microRNA species. In addition, the effects of regulatory interactions are not always simultaneous, but can occur after a finite time delay, or as a combined outcome of simultaneous and time delayed interactions. Powerful biotechnologies have been rapidly and successfully measuring levels of genetic expression to illuminate different states of biological systems. This has led to an ensuing challenge to improve the identification of specific regulatory mechanisms through regulatory network reconstructions. Solutions to this challenge will ultimately help to spur forward efforts based on the usage of regulatory network reconstructions in systems biology applications. We have developed a hierarchical recurrent neural network (HRNN) that identifies time-delayed gene interactions using time-course data. A customized genetic algorithm (GA) was used to optimize hierarchical connectivity of regulatory genes and a target gene. The proposed design provides a non-fully connected network with the flexibility of using recurrent connections inside the network. These features and the non-linearity of the HRNN facilitate the process of identifying temporal patterns of a GRN. Our HRNN method was implemented with the Python language. It was first evaluated on simulated data representing linear and nonlinear time-delayed gene-gene interaction models across a range of network sizes and variances of noise. We then further demonstrated the capability of our method in reconstructing GRNs of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae synthetic network for in vivo benchmarking of reverse-engineering and modeling approaches (IRMA). We compared the performance of our method to TD-ARACNE, HCC-CLINDE, TSNI and ebdbNet across different network

  17. Inferring dynamic gene regulatory networks in cardiac differentiation through the integration of multi-dimensional data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gong, Wuming; Koyano-Nakagawa, Naoko; Li, Tongbin; Garry, Daniel J

    2015-03-07

    -CM transitions. We report a novel method to systematically integrate multi-dimensional -omics data and reconstruct the gene regulatory networks. This method will allow one to rapidly determine the cis-modules that regulate key genes during cardiac differentiation.

  18. A systems level approach reveals new gene regulatory modules in the developing ear

    OpenAIRE

    Chen, Jingchen; Tambalo, Monica; Barembaum, Meyer; Ranganathan, Ramya; Simões-Costa, Marcos; Bronner, Marianne E.; Streit, Andrea

    2017-01-01

    The inner ear is a complex vertebrate sense organ, yet it arises from a simple epithelium, the otic placode. Specification towards otic fate requires diverse signals and transcriptional inputs that act sequentially and/or in parallel. Using the chick embryo, we uncover novel genes in the gene regulatory network underlying otic commitment and reveal dynamic changes in gene expression. Functional analysis of selected transcription factors reveals the genetic hierarchy underlying the transition ...

  19. Inferring Drosophila gap gene regulatory network: Pattern analysis of simulated gene expression profiles and stability analysis

    OpenAIRE

    Fomekong-Nanfack, Y.; Postma, M.; Kaandorp, J.A.

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Background Inference of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) requires accurate data, a method to simulate the expression patterns and an efficient optimization algorithm to estimate the unknown parameters. Using this approach it is possible to obtain alternative circuits without making any a priori assumptions about the interactions, which all simulate the observed patterns. It is important to analyze the properties of the circuits. Findings We have analyzed the simulated gene expression ...

  20. Predicting gene regulatory networks of soybean nodulation from RNA-Seq transcriptome data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Mingzhu; Dahmen, Jeremy L; Stacey, Gary; Cheng, Jianlin

    2013-09-22

    High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is a revolutionary technique to study the transcriptome of a cell under various conditions at a systems level. Despite the wide application of RNA-Seq techniques to generate experimental data in the last few years, few computational methods are available to analyze this huge amount of transcription data. The computational methods for constructing gene regulatory networks from RNA-Seq expression data of hundreds or even thousands of genes are particularly lacking and urgently needed. We developed an automated bioinformatics method to predict gene regulatory networks from the quantitative expression values of differentially expressed genes based on RNA-Seq transcriptome data of a cell in different stages and conditions, integrating transcriptional, genomic and gene function data. We applied the method to the RNA-Seq transcriptome data generated for soybean root hair cells in three different development stages of nodulation after rhizobium infection. The method predicted a soybean nodulation-related gene regulatory network consisting of 10 regulatory modules common for all three stages, and 24, 49 and 70 modules separately for the first, second and third stage, each containing both a group of co-expressed genes and several transcription factors collaboratively controlling their expression under different conditions. 8 of 10 common regulatory modules were validated by at least two kinds of validations, such as independent DNA binding motif analysis, gene function enrichment test, and previous experimental data in the literature. We developed a computational method to reliably reconstruct gene regulatory networks from RNA-Seq transcriptome data. The method can generate valuable hypotheses for interpreting biological data and designing biological experiments such as ChIP-Seq, RNA interference, and yeast two hybrid experiments.

  1. Three-tiered risk stratification model to predict progression in Barrett's esophagus using epigenetic and clinical features.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fumiaki Sato

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Barrett's esophagus predisposes to esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, the value of endoscopic surveillance in Barrett's esophagus has been debated because of the low incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus. Moreover, high inter-observer and sampling-dependent variation in the histologic staging of dysplasia make clinical risk assessment problematic. In this study, we developed a 3-tiered risk stratification strategy, based on systematically selected epigenetic and clinical parameters, to improve Barrett's esophagus surveillance efficiency.We defined high-grade dysplasia as endpoint of progression, and Barrett's esophagus progressor patients as Barrett's esophagus patients with either no dysplasia or low-grade dysplasia who later developed high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma. We analyzed 4 epigenetic and 3 clinical parameters in 118 Barrett's esophagus tissues obtained from 35 progressor and 27 non-progressor Barrett's esophagus patients from Baltimore Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care Systems and Mayo Clinic. Based on 2-year and 4-year prediction models using linear discriminant analysis (area under the receiver-operator characteristic (ROC curve: 0.8386 and 0.7910, respectively, Barrett's esophagus specimens were stratified into high-risk (HR, intermediate-risk (IR, or low-risk (LR groups. This 3-tiered stratification method retained both the high specificity of the 2-year model and the high sensitivity of the 4-year model. Progression-free survivals differed significantly among the 3 risk groups, with p = 0.0022 (HR vs. IR and p<0.0001 (HR or IR vs. LR. Incremental value analyses demonstrated that the number of methylated genes contributed most influentially to prediction accuracy.This 3-tiered risk stratification strategy has the potential to exert a profound impact on Barrett's esophagus surveillance accuracy and efficiency.

  2. Learning gene regulatory networks from gene expression data using weighted consensus

    KAUST Repository

    Fujii, Chisato; Kuwahara, Hiroyuki; Yu, Ge; Guo, Lili; Gao, Xin

    2016-01-01

    An accurate determination of the network structure of gene regulatory systems from high-throughput gene expression data is an essential yet challenging step in studying how the expression of endogenous genes is controlled through a complex interaction of gene products and DNA. While numerous methods have been proposed to infer the structure of gene regulatory networks, none of them seem to work consistently over different data sets with high accuracy. A recent study to compare gene network inference methods showed that an average-ranking-based consensus method consistently performs well under various settings. Here, we propose a linear programming-based consensus method for the inference of gene regulatory networks. Unlike the average-ranking-based one, which treats the contribution of each individual method equally, our new consensus method assigns a weight to each method based on its credibility. As a case study, we applied the proposed consensus method on synthetic and real microarray data sets, and compared its performance to that of the average-ranking-based consensus and individual inference methods. Our results show that our weighted consensus method achieves superior performance over the unweighted one, suggesting that assigning weights to different individual methods rather than giving them equal weights improves the accuracy. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

  3. Learning Gene Regulatory Networks Computationally from Gene Expression Data Using Weighted Consensus

    KAUST Repository

    Fujii, Chisato

    2015-04-16

    Gene regulatory networks analyze the relationships between genes allowing us to un- derstand the gene regulatory interactions in systems biology. Gene expression data from the microarray experiments is used to obtain the gene regulatory networks. How- ever, the microarray data is discrete, noisy and non-linear which makes learning the networks a challenging problem and existing gene network inference methods do not give consistent results. Current state-of-the-art study uses the average-ranking-based consensus method to combine and average the ranked predictions from individual methods. However each individual method has an equal contribution to the consen- sus prediction. We have developed a linear programming-based consensus approach which uses learned weights from linear programming among individual methods such that the methods have di↵erent weights depending on their performance. Our result reveals that assigning di↵erent weights to individual methods rather than giving them equal weights improves the performance of the consensus. The linear programming- based consensus method is evaluated and it had the best performance on in silico and Saccharomyces cerevisiae networks, and the second best on the Escherichia coli network outperformed by Inferelator Pipeline method which gives inconsistent results across a wide range of microarray data sets.

  4. A flood-based information flow analysis and network minimization method for gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlogiannis, Andreas; Mozhayskiy, Vadim; Tagkopoulos, Ilias

    2013-04-24

    Biological networks tend to have high interconnectivity, complex topologies and multiple types of interactions. This renders difficult the identification of sub-networks that are involved in condition- specific responses. In addition, we generally lack scalable methods that can reveal the information flow in gene regulatory and biochemical pathways. Doing so will help us to identify key participants and paths under specific environmental and cellular context. This paper introduces the theory of network flooding, which aims to address the problem of network minimization and regulatory information flow in gene regulatory networks. Given a regulatory biological network, a set of source (input) nodes and optionally a set of sink (output) nodes, our task is to find (a) the minimal sub-network that encodes the regulatory program involving all input and output nodes and (b) the information flow from the source to the sink nodes of the network. Here, we describe a novel, scalable, network traversal algorithm and we assess its potential to achieve significant network size reduction in both synthetic and E. coli networks. Scalability and sensitivity analysis show that the proposed method scales well with the size of the network, and is robust to noise and missing data. The method of network flooding proves to be a useful, practical approach towards information flow analysis in gene regulatory networks. Further extension of the proposed theory has the potential to lead in a unifying framework for the simultaneous network minimization and information flow analysis across various "omics" levels.

  5. Learning gene regulatory networks from gene expression data using weighted consensus

    KAUST Repository

    Fujii, Chisato

    2016-08-25

    An accurate determination of the network structure of gene regulatory systems from high-throughput gene expression data is an essential yet challenging step in studying how the expression of endogenous genes is controlled through a complex interaction of gene products and DNA. While numerous methods have been proposed to infer the structure of gene regulatory networks, none of them seem to work consistently over different data sets with high accuracy. A recent study to compare gene network inference methods showed that an average-ranking-based consensus method consistently performs well under various settings. Here, we propose a linear programming-based consensus method for the inference of gene regulatory networks. Unlike the average-ranking-based one, which treats the contribution of each individual method equally, our new consensus method assigns a weight to each method based on its credibility. As a case study, we applied the proposed consensus method on synthetic and real microarray data sets, and compared its performance to that of the average-ranking-based consensus and individual inference methods. Our results show that our weighted consensus method achieves superior performance over the unweighted one, suggesting that assigning weights to different individual methods rather than giving them equal weights improves the accuracy. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

  6. Inferring Gene Regulatory Networks Using Conditional Regulation Pattern to Guide Candidate Genes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fei Xiao

    Full Text Available Combining path consistency (PC algorithms with conditional mutual information (CMI are widely used in reconstruction of gene regulatory networks. CMI has many advantages over Pearson correlation coefficient in measuring non-linear dependence to infer gene regulatory networks. It can also discriminate the direct regulations from indirect ones. However, it is still a challenge to select the conditional genes in an optimal way, which affects the performance and computation complexity of the PC algorithm. In this study, we develop a novel conditional mutual information-based algorithm, namely RPNI (Regulation Pattern based Network Inference, to infer gene regulatory networks. For conditional gene selection, we define the co-regulation pattern, indirect-regulation pattern and mixture-regulation pattern as three candidate patterns to guide the selection of candidate genes. To demonstrate the potential of our algorithm, we apply it to gene expression data from DREAM challenge. Experimental results show that RPNI outperforms existing conditional mutual information-based methods in both accuracy and time complexity for different sizes of gene samples. Furthermore, the robustness of our algorithm is demonstrated by noisy interference analysis using different types of noise.

  7. Inference of gene regulatory networks from time series by Tsallis entropy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    de Oliveira Evaldo A

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The inference of gene regulatory networks (GRNs from large-scale expression profiles is one of the most challenging problems of Systems Biology nowadays. Many techniques and models have been proposed for this task. However, it is not generally possible to recover the original topology with great accuracy, mainly due to the short time series data in face of the high complexity of the networks and the intrinsic noise of the expression measurements. In order to improve the accuracy of GRNs inference methods based on entropy (mutual information, a new criterion function is here proposed. Results In this paper we introduce the use of generalized entropy proposed by Tsallis, for the inference of GRNs from time series expression profiles. The inference process is based on a feature selection approach and the conditional entropy is applied as criterion function. In order to assess the proposed methodology, the algorithm is applied to recover the network topology from temporal expressions generated by an artificial gene network (AGN model as well as from the DREAM challenge. The adopted AGN is based on theoretical models of complex networks and its gene transference function is obtained from random drawing on the set of possible Boolean functions, thus creating its dynamics. On the other hand, DREAM time series data presents variation of network size and its topologies are based on real networks. The dynamics are generated by continuous differential equations with noise and perturbation. By adopting both data sources, it is possible to estimate the average quality of the inference with respect to different network topologies, transfer functions and network sizes. Conclusions A remarkable improvement of accuracy was observed in the experimental results by reducing the number of false connections in the inferred topology by the non-Shannon entropy. The obtained best free parameter of the Tsallis entropy was on average in the range 2.5

  8. Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akbarian, Schahram

    2014-09-01

    Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder that lacks a unifying neuropathology, while currently available pharmacological treatments provide only limited benefits to many patients. This review will discuss how the field of neuroepigenetics could contribute to advancements of the existing knowledge on the neurobiology and treatment of psychosis. Genome-scale mapping of DMA methylation, histone modifications and variants, and chromosomal loopings for promoter-enhancer interactions and other epigenetic determinants of genome organization and function are likely to provide important clues about mechanisms contributing to dysregulated expression of synaptic and metabolic genes in schizophrenia brain, including the potential links to the underlying genetic risk architecture and environmental exposures. In addition, studies in animal models are providing a rapidly increasing list of chromatin-regulatory mechanisms with significant effects on cognition and complex behaviors, thereby pointing to the therapeutic potential of epigenetic drug targets in the nervous system.

  9. Theory of epigenetic coding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elder, D

    1984-06-07

    The logic of genetic control of development may be based on a binary epigenetic code. This paper revises the author's previous scheme dealing with the numerology of annelid metamerism in these terms. Certain features of the code had been deduced to be combinatorial, others not. This paradoxical contrast is resolved here by the interpretation that these features relate to different operations of the code; the combinatiorial to coding identity of units, the non-combinatorial to coding production of units. Consideration of a second paradox in the theory of epigenetic coding leads to a new solution which further provides a basis for epimorphic regeneration, and may in particular throw light on the "regeneration-duplication" phenomenon. A possible test of the model is also put forward.

  10. Engrampigenetics: Epigenetics of engram memory cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ripoli, Cristian

    2017-05-15

    For long time, the epidemiology of late-onset sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk factors has centered on adult life-style. Recent studies have, instead, focused on the role of early life experiences in progression of such disease especially in the context of prenatal and postnatal life. Although no single unfavorable environmental event has been shown to be neither necessary nor sufficient for AD development, it is possible that the sum of several environmentally induced effects, over time, contribute to its pathophysiology through epigenetic mechanisms. Indeed, epigenetic changes are influenced by environmental factors and have been proposed to play a role in multifactorial pathologies such as AD. At the same time, recent findings suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are one method that neurons use to translate transient stimuli into stable memories. Thus, the characteristics of epigenetics being a critical link between the environment and genes and playing a crucial role in memory formation make candidate epigenetic mechanisms a natural substrate for AD research. Indeed, independent groups have reported several epigenetically dysregulated genes in AD models; however, the role of epigenetic mechanisms in AD has remained elusive owing to contradictory results. Here, I propose that restricting the analysis of epigenetic changes specifically to subpopulations of neurons (namely, engram memory cells) might be helpful in understanding the role of the epigenetic process in the memory-related specific epigenetic code and might constitute a new template for therapeutic interventions against AD. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  11. Graphics Processing Unit-Enhanced Genetic Algorithms for Solving the Temporal Dynamics of Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Calvo, Raúl; Guisado, J L; Diaz-Del-Rio, Fernando; Córdoba, Antonio; Jiménez-Morales, Francisco

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the regulation of gene expression is one of the key problems in current biology. A promising method for that purpose is the determination of the temporal dynamics between known initial and ending network states, by using simple acting rules. The huge amount of rule combinations and the nonlinear inherent nature of the problem make genetic algorithms an excellent candidate for finding optimal solutions. As this is a computationally intensive problem that needs long runtimes in conventional architectures for realistic network sizes, it is fundamental to accelerate this task. In this article, we study how to develop efficient parallel implementations of this method for the fine-grained parallel architecture of graphics processing units (GPUs) using the compute unified device architecture (CUDA) platform. An exhaustive and methodical study of various parallel genetic algorithm schemes-master-slave, island, cellular, and hybrid models, and various individual selection methods (roulette, elitist)-is carried out for this problem. Several procedures that optimize the use of the GPU's resources are presented. We conclude that the implementation that produces better results (both from the performance and the genetic algorithm fitness perspectives) is simulating a few thousands of individuals grouped in a few islands using elitist selection. This model comprises 2 mighty factors for discovering the best solutions: finding good individuals in a short number of generations, and introducing genetic diversity via a relatively frequent and numerous migration. As a result, we have even found the optimal solution for the analyzed gene regulatory network (GRN). In addition, a comparative study of the performance obtained by the different parallel implementations on GPU versus a sequential application on CPU is carried out. In our tests, a multifold speedup was obtained for our optimized parallel implementation of the method on medium class GPU over an equivalent

  12. Graphics Processing Unit–Enhanced Genetic Algorithms for Solving the Temporal Dynamics of Gene Regulatory Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Calvo, Raúl; Guisado, JL; Diaz-del-Rio, Fernando; Córdoba, Antonio; Jiménez-Morales, Francisco

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the regulation of gene expression is one of the key problems in current biology. A promising method for that purpose is the determination of the temporal dynamics between known initial and ending network states, by using simple acting rules. The huge amount of rule combinations and the nonlinear inherent nature of the problem make genetic algorithms an excellent candidate for finding optimal solutions. As this is a computationally intensive problem that needs long runtimes in conventional architectures for realistic network sizes, it is fundamental to accelerate this task. In this article, we study how to develop efficient parallel implementations of this method for the fine-grained parallel architecture of graphics processing units (GPUs) using the compute unified device architecture (CUDA) platform. An exhaustive and methodical study of various parallel genetic algorithm schemes—master-slave, island, cellular, and hybrid models, and various individual selection methods (roulette, elitist)—is carried out for this problem. Several procedures that optimize the use of the GPU’s resources are presented. We conclude that the implementation that produces better results (both from the performance and the genetic algorithm fitness perspectives) is simulating a few thousands of individuals grouped in a few islands using elitist selection. This model comprises 2 mighty factors for discovering the best solutions: finding good individuals in a short number of generations, and introducing genetic diversity via a relatively frequent and numerous migration. As a result, we have even found the optimal solution for the analyzed gene regulatory network (GRN). In addition, a comparative study of the performance obtained by the different parallel implementations on GPU versus a sequential application on CPU is carried out. In our tests, a multifold speedup was obtained for our optimized parallel implementation of the method on medium class GPU over an equivalent

  13. Epigenetics in Breast and Prostate Cancer

    OpenAIRE

    Wu, Yanyuan; Sarkissyan, Marianna; Vadgama, Jaydutt V.

    2015-01-01

    Most recent investigations into cancer etiology have identified a key role played by epigenetics. Specifically, aberrant DNA and histone modifications which silence tumor suppressor genes or promote oncogenes have been demonstrated in multiple cancer models. While the role of epigenetics in several solid tumor cancers such as colorectal cancer are well established, there is emerging evidence that epigenetics also plays a critical role in breast and prostate cancer. In breast cancer, DNA methy...

  14. The Zebrafish Models to Explore Genetic and Epigenetic Impacts on Evolutionary Developmental Origins of Aging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kishi, Shuji

    2014-01-01

    Can we reset, reprogram, rejuvenate or reverse the organismal aging process? Certain genetic manipulations could at least reset and reprogram epigenetic dynamics beyond phenotypic plasticity and elasticity in cells, which can be further manipulated into organisms. However, in a whole complex aging organism, how can we rejuvenate intrinsic resources and infrastructures in an intact/noninvasive manner? The incidence of diseases increases exponentially with age, accompanied by progressive deteriorations of physiological functions in organisms. Aging-associated diseases are sporadic but essentially inevitable complications arising from senescence. Senescence is often considered the antithesis of early development, but yet there may be factors and mechanisms in common between these two phenomena to rejuvenate over the dynamic process of aging. The association between early development and late-onset disease with advancing age is thought to come from a consequence of developmental plasticity, the phenomenon by which one genotype can give rise to a range of physiologically and/or morphologically adaptive states based on diverse epigenotypes, in response to intrinsic or extrinsic environmental cues and genetic perturbations. We hypothesized that the future aging process can be predictive based on adaptivity during the early developmental period. Modulating the thresholds and windows of plasticity and its robustness by molecular genetic and chemical epigenetic approaches, we have successfully conducted experiments to isolate zebrafish mutants expressing apparently altered senescence phenotypes during their embryonic and/or larval stages (“embryonic/larval senescence”). Subsequently, at least some of these mutant animals were found to show shortened lifespan, while some others would be expected to live longer in adulthoods. We anticipate that previously uncharacterized developmental genes may mediate the aging process and play a pivotal role in senescence. On the other

  15. Epigenetic modification of hippocampal Bdnf DNA in adult rats in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, Tania L; Zoladz, Phillip R; Sweatt, J David; Diamond, David M

    2011-07-01

    Epigenetic alterations of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene have been linked with memory, stress, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we examined whether there was a link between an established rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Bdnf DNA methylation. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were given psychosocial stress composed of two acute cat exposures in conjunction with 31 days of daily social instability. These manipulations have been shown previously to produce physiological and behavioral sequelae in rats that are comparable to symptoms observed in traumatized people with PTSD. We then assessed Bdnf DNA methylation patterns (at exon IV) and gene expression. We have found here that the psychosocial stress regimen significantly increased Bdnf DNA methylation in the dorsal hippocampus, with the most robust hypermethylation detected in the dorsal CA1 subregion. Conversely, the psychosocial stress regimen significantly decreased methylation in the ventral hippocampus (CA3). No changes in Bdnf DNA methylation were detected in the medial prefrontal cortex or basolateral amygdala. In addition, there were decreased levels of Bdnf mRNA in both the dorsal and ventral CA1. These results provide evidence that traumatic stress occurring in adulthood can induce CNS gene methylation, and specifically, support the hypothesis that epigenetic marking of the Bdnf gene may underlie hippocampal dysfunction in response to traumatic stress. Furthermore, this work provides support for the speculative notion that altered hippocampal Bdnf DNA methylation is a cellular mechanism underlying the persistent cognitive deficits which are prominent features of the pathophysiology of PTSD. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Epigenetic programming of autonomic functions in an experimental model of apnea of prematurity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jayasri Nanduri

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Intermittent hypoxia (IH is a hallmark manifestation of recurrent apneas, which is a major clinical problem in infants born preterm. Carotid body (CB chemoreflex and catecholamine (CA secretion from adrenal medullary chromaffin cells (AMCs are two major mechanisms contributing to the maintenance of cardiorespiratory homeostasis during hypoxia. The purpose of this article is to highlight recent studies showing how neonates experiencing IH affect the CB and AMC function and their consequences in adult life. To simulate apneas, rat pups were treated with IH consisting of alternating cycles of hypoxia (1.5% O2 for 15 s and room air for 5 min, 8 h/day from ages P0–P10. Rats treated neonatal IH displayed augmented CB response to hypoxia and augmented CA secretion from AMC. Rats treated for 10 days of IH in the neonatal period were allowed to grow into adulthood. Remarkably, the effects of neonatal IH on CB and AMC persisted in the adulthood. Moreover, adult rats that were exposed to IH in neonatal period exhibited hypertension, increased incidence apnea. Analysis of the underlying molecular mechanisms revealed re-programming of the redox state by epigenetic mechanisms involving suppression of transcription of antioxidant enzyme genes by DNA hypermethylation. DNA hypomethylating agents might offer a novel therapeutic intervention to prevent early onset of cardiorespiratory morbidities caused by neonatal IH.

  17. An approach for reduction of false predictions in reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Abhinandan; Saha, Goutam; Pal, Rajat Kumar

    2018-05-14

    A gene regulatory network discloses the regulatory interactions amongst genes, at a particular condition of the human body. The accurate reconstruction of such networks from time-series genetic expression data using computational tools offers a stiff challenge for contemporary computer scientists. This is crucial to facilitate the understanding of the proper functioning of a living organism. Unfortunately, the computational methods produce many false predictions along with the correct predictions, which is unwanted. Investigations in the domain focus on the identification of as many correct regulations as possible in the reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks to make it more reliable and biologically relevant. One way to achieve this is to reduce the number of incorrect predictions in the reconstructed networks. In the present investigation, we have proposed a novel scheme to decrease the number of false predictions by suitably combining several metaheuristic techniques. We have implemented the same using a dataset ensemble approach (i.e. combining multiple datasets) also. We have employed the proposed methodology on real-world experimental datasets of the SOS DNA Repair network of Escherichia coli and the IMRA network of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Subsequently, we have experimented upon somewhat larger, in silico networks, namely, DREAM3 and DREAM4 Challenge networks, and 15-gene and 20-gene networks extracted from the GeneNetWeaver database. To study the effect of multiple datasets on the quality of the inferred networks, we have used four datasets in each experiment. The obtained results are encouraging enough as the proposed methodology can reduce the number of false predictions significantly, without using any supplementary prior biological information for larger gene regulatory networks. It is also observed that if a small amount of prior biological information is incorporated here, the results improve further w.r.t. the prediction of true positives

  18. Modularity of gene-regulatory networks revealed in sea-star development

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Degnan Bernard M

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Evidence that conserved developmental gene-regulatory networks can change as a unit during deutersostome evolution emerges from a study published in BMC Biology. This shows that genes consistently expressed in anterior brain patterning in hemichordates and chordates are expressed in a similar spatial pattern in another deuterostome, an asteroid echinoderm (sea star, but in a completely different developmental context (the animal-vegetal axis. This observation has implications for hypotheses on the type of development present in the deuterostome common ancestor. See research article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/143/abstract

  19. Environment, epigenetics and reproduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Michael K

    2017-07-01

    A conference summary of the third biannual Kenya Africa Conference "Environment, Epigenetics and Reproduction" is provided. A partial special Environmental Epigenetics issue containing a number of papers in Volume 3, Issue 3 and 4 are discussed.

  20. [Epigenetics of schizophrenia: a review].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivollier, F; Lotersztajn, L; Chaumette, B; Krebs, M-O; Kebir, O

    2014-10-01

    -translational histone modifications. First, in terms of epidemiology and transmission, the theoretical model of epigenetics applies to schizophrenia. Then, most environmental factors that have proved a link with this disease, may generate epigenetic mechanisms. Next, mutations have been found in regions implied in epigenetic mechanism among populations with schizophrenia. Some epigenetic alterations in DNA regions have been previously linked with neurodevelopmental abnormalities. In psychosis, some authors have found methylation differences in COMT gene, in reelin gene and in some genes implicated in dopaminergic, serotoninergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic pathways. Histone modifications have been described, in particular the H3L4 histone methylation. Finally, we tried to underline the difficulties in epigenetic research, notably in psychiatry, and the limits in this matter. The epigenetic field may explain a lot of questions around the physiopathology of the complex psychiatric disease that is schizophrenia. It may be a substratum to the prevailing hypothesis of gene x environment interaction. The research in the matter is definitely expanding. It justifies easily the need to improve the effort in the domain to overpass some limits inherent to the matter. Copyright © 2014 L’Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  1. [Autism and epigenetics. A model of explanation for the understanding of the genesis in autism spectrum disorders].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arberas, Claudia; Ruggieri, Víctor

    2013-01-01

    Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by impairment of social integration and language development and restricted interests. Autism spectrum disorders manifest during childhood and may have a varying clinical expression over the years related to different therapeutic approaches, behavior-modifying drugs, and environmental factors, among others. So far, the genetic alterations identified are not sufficient to explain the genesis of all these processes, as many of the mutations found are also present in unaffected individuals. Findings on the underlying biological and pathophysiological mechanisms of entities strongly associated with autism spectrum disorders, such as Rett, fragile X, Angelman, and fetal alcohol syndromes, point to the role of epigenetic changes in disorders of neurodevelopment. Epigenetic phenomena are normal biological processes necessary for cell and thus human life, especially related to embryonic development. Different phenomena that affect epigenetic processes (changes that change operation or expression of a gene, without modifying the DNA structure) have also been shown to be important in the genesis of neurodevelopmental disorders. Alterations in the epigenetic mechanism may be reversible, which may explain the variation in the autism phenotype over time. Here we analyze the normal epigenetic mechanisms, autism spectrum disorders, their association with specific entities associated with altered epigenetic mechanisms, and possible therapeutic approaches targeting these alterations.

  2. Epigenetic alteration of sedimentary rocks at hydrogenic uranium deposit

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ding Wanlie; Shen Kefeng

    2001-01-01

    The author introduces the concept, the recognition criteria, the genesis and classification of the epigenetic alteration of sedimentary rocks in brief, and expounds the mineral-geochemical indications and characteristics of oxidation and reduction alterations in different geochemical zones in detail, and proposes the two models of ore-controlling zonation of epigenetic alteration. The authors finally introduce research methods of epigenetic alteration

  3. Spatiotemporal network motif reveals the biological traits of developmental gene regulatory networks in Drosophila melanogaster

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kim Man-Sun

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Network motifs provided a “conceptual tool” for understanding the functional principles of biological networks, but such motifs have primarily been used to consider static network structures. Static networks, however, cannot be used to reveal time- and region-specific traits of biological systems. To overcome this limitation, we proposed the concept of a “spatiotemporal network motif,” a spatiotemporal sequence of network motifs of sub-networks which are active only at specific time points and body parts. Results On the basis of this concept, we analyzed the developmental gene regulatory network of the Drosophila melanogaster embryo. We identified spatiotemporal network motifs and investigated their distribution pattern in time and space. As a result, we found how key developmental processes are temporally and spatially regulated by the gene network. In particular, we found that nested feedback loops appeared frequently throughout the entire developmental process. From mathematical simulations, we found that mutual inhibition in the nested feedback loops contributes to the formation of spatial expression patterns. Conclusions Taken together, the proposed concept and the simulations can be used to unravel the design principle of developmental gene regulatory networks.

  4. Human iPSC-Derived Cerebellar Neurons from a Patient with Ataxia-Telangiectasia Reveal Disrupted Gene Regulatory Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sam P. Nayler

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T is a rare genetic disorder caused by loss of function of the ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated kinase and is characterized by a predisposition to cancer, pulmonary disease, immune deficiency and progressive degeneration of the cerebellum. As animal models do not faithfully recapitulate the neurological aspects, it remains unclear whether cerebellar degeneration is a neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative phenotype. To address the necessity for a human model, we first assessed a previously published protocol for the ability to generate cerebellar neuronal cells, finding it gave rise to a population of precursors highly enriched for markers of the early hindbrain such as EN1 and GBX2, and later more mature cerebellar markers including PTF1α, MATH1, HOXB4, ZIC3, PAX6, and TUJ1. RNA sequencing was used to classify differentiated cerebellar neurons generated from integration-free A-T and control induced pluripotent stem cells. Comparison of RNA sequencing data with datasets from the Allen Brain Atlas reveals in vitro-derived cerebellar neurons are transcriptionally similar to discrete regions of the human cerebellum, and most closely resemble the cerebellum at 22 weeks post-conception. We show that patient-derived cerebellar neurons exhibit disrupted gene regulatory networks associated with synaptic vesicle dynamics and oxidative stress, offering the first molecular insights into early cerebellar pathogenesis of ataxia-telangiectasia.

  5. OKVAR-Boost: a novel boosting algorithm to infer nonlinear dynamics and interactions in gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, Néhémy; Senbabaoglu, Yasin; Michailidis, George; d'Alché-Buc, Florence

    2013-06-01

    Reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks remains a central challenge in computational systems biology, despite recent advances facilitated by benchmark in silico challenges that have aided in calibrating their performance. A number of approaches using either perturbation (knock-out) or wild-type time-series data have appeared in the literature addressing this problem, with the latter using linear temporal models. Nonlinear dynamical models are particularly appropriate for this inference task, given the generation mechanism of the time-series data. In this study, we introduce a novel nonlinear autoregressive model based on operator-valued kernels that simultaneously learns the model parameters, as well as the network structure. A flexible boosting algorithm (OKVAR-Boost) that shares features from L2-boosting and randomization-based algorithms is developed to perform the tasks of parameter learning and network inference for the proposed model. Specifically, at each boosting iteration, a regularized Operator-valued Kernel-based Vector AutoRegressive model (OKVAR) is trained on a random subnetwork. The final model consists of an ensemble of such models. The empirical estimation of the ensemble model's Jacobian matrix provides an estimation of the network structure. The performance of the proposed algorithm is first evaluated on a number of benchmark datasets from the DREAM3 challenge and then on real datasets related to the In vivo Reverse-Engineering and Modeling Assessment (IRMA) and T-cell networks. The high-quality results obtained strongly indicate that it outperforms existing approaches. The OKVAR-Boost Matlab code is available as the archive: http://amis-group.fr/sourcecode-okvar-boost/OKVARBoost-v1.0.zip. Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

  6. A big data pipeline: Identifying dynamic gene regulatory networks from time-course Gene Expression Omnibus data with applications to influenza infection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carey, Michelle; Ramírez, Juan Camilo; Wu, Shuang; Wu, Hulin

    2018-07-01

    A biological host response to an external stimulus or intervention such as a disease or infection is a dynamic process, which is regulated by an intricate network of many genes and their products. Understanding the dynamics of this gene regulatory network allows us to infer the mechanisms involved in a host response to an external stimulus, and hence aids the discovery of biomarkers of phenotype and biological function. In this article, we propose a modeling/analysis pipeline for dynamic gene expression data, called Pipeline4DGEData, which consists of a series of statistical modeling techniques to construct dynamic gene regulatory networks from the large volumes of high-dimensional time-course gene expression data that are freely available in the Gene Expression Omnibus repository. This pipeline has a consistent and scalable structure that allows it to simultaneously analyze a large number of time-course gene expression data sets, and then integrate the results across different studies. We apply the proposed pipeline to influenza infection data from nine studies and demonstrate that interesting biological findings can be discovered with its implementation.

  7. Dynamic and static maintenance of epigenetic memory in pluripotent and somatic cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shipony, Zohar; Mukamel, Zohar; Cohen, Netta Mendelson; Landan, Gilad; Chomsky, Elad; Zeliger, Shlomit Reich; Fried, Yael Chagit; Ainbinder, Elena; Friedman, Nir; Tanay, Amos

    2014-09-04

    Stable maintenance of gene regulatory programs is essential for normal function in multicellular organisms. Epigenetic mechanisms, and DNA methylation in particular, are hypothesized to facilitate such maintenance by creating cellular memory that can be written during embryonic development and then guide cell-type-specific gene expression. Here we develop new methods for quantitative inference of DNA methylation turnover rates, and show that human embryonic stem cells preserve their epigenetic state by balancing antagonistic processes that add and remove methylation marks rather than by copying epigenetic information from mother to daughter cells. In contrast, somatic cells transmit considerable epigenetic information to progenies. Paradoxically, the persistence of the somatic epigenome makes it more vulnerable to noise, since random epimutations can accumulate to massively perturb the epigenomic ground state. The rate of epigenetic perturbation depends on the genomic context, and, in particular, DNA methylation loss is coupled to late DNA replication dynamics. Epigenetic perturbation is not observed in the pluripotent state, because the rapid turnover-based equilibrium continuously reinforces the canonical state. This dynamic epigenetic equilibrium also explains how the epigenome can be reprogrammed quickly and to near perfection after induced pluripotency.

  8. The SaeR/S gene regulatory system induces a pro-inflammatory cytokine response during Staphylococcus aureus infection.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert L Watkins

    Full Text Available Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus accounts for a large portion of the increased staphylococcal disease incidence and can cause illness ranging from mild skin infections to rapidly fatal sepsis syndromes. Currently, we have limited understanding of S. aureus-derived mechanisms contributing to bacterial pathogenesis and host inflammation during staphylococcal disease. Herein, we characterize an influential role for the saeR/S two-component gene regulatory system in mediating cytokine induction using mouse models of S. aureus pathogenesis. Invasive S. aureus infection induced the production of localized and systemic pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α, interferon gamma (IFN-γ, interleukin (IL-6 and IL-2. In contrast, mice infected with an isogenic saeR/S deletion mutant demonstrated significantly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Additionally, secreted factors influenced by saeR/S elicited pro-inflammatory cytokines in human blood ex vivo. Our study further demonstrated robust saeR/S-mediated IFN-γ production during both invasive and subcutaneous skin infections. Results also indicated a critical role for saeR/S in promoting bacterial survival and enhancing host mortality during S. aureus peritonitis. Taken together, this study provides insight into specific mechanisms used by S. aureus during staphylococcal disease and characterizes a relationship between a bacterial global regulator of virulence and the production of pro-inflammatory mediators.

  9. Hopf Bifurcation Analysis of a Gene Regulatory Network Mediated by Small Noncoding RNA with Time Delays and Diffusion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Chengxian; Liu, Haihong; Zhang, Tonghua; Yan, Fang

    2017-12-01

    In this paper, a gene regulatory network mediated by small noncoding RNA involving two time delays and diffusion under the Neumann boundary conditions is studied. Choosing the sum of delays as the bifurcation parameter, the stability of the positive equilibrium and the existence of spatially homogeneous and spatially inhomogeneous periodic solutions are investigated by analyzing the corresponding characteristic equation. It is shown that the sum of delays can induce Hopf bifurcation and the diffusion incorporated into the system can effect the amplitude of periodic solutions. Furthermore, the spatially homogeneous periodic solution always exists and the spatially inhomogeneous periodic solution will arise when the diffusion coefficients of protein and mRNA are suitably small. Particularly, the small RNA diffusion coefficient is more robust and its effect on model is much less than protein and mRNA. Finally, the explicit formulae for determining the direction of Hopf bifurcation and the stability of the bifurcating periodic solutions are derived by employing the normal form theory and center manifold theorem for partial functional differential equations. Finally, numerical simulations are carried out to illustrate our theoretical analysis.

  10. Epigenetics in breast and prostate cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yanyuan; Sarkissyan, Marianna; Vadgama, Jaydutt V

    2015-01-01

    Most recent investigations into cancer etiology have identified a key role played by epigenetics. Specifically, aberrant DNA and histone modifications which silence tumor suppressor genes or promote oncogenes have been demonstrated in multiple cancer models. While the role of epigenetics in several solid tumor cancers such as colorectal cancer are well established, there is emerging evidence that epigenetics also plays a critical role in breast and prostate cancer. In breast cancer, DNA methylation profiles have been linked to hormone receptor status and tumor progression. Similarly in prostate cancer, epigenetic patterns have been associated with androgen receptor status and response to therapy. The regulation of key receptor pathways and activities which affect clinical therapy treatment options by epigenetics renders this field high priority for elucidating mechanisms and potential targets. A new set of methylation arrays are now available to screen epigenetic changes and provide the cutting-edge tools needed to perform such investigations. The role of nutritional interventions affecting epigenetic changes particularly holds promise. Ultimately, determining the causes and outcomes from epigenetic changes will inform translational applications for utilization as biomarkers for risk and prognosis as well as candidates for therapy.

  11. An integer optimization algorithm for robust identification of non-linear gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chemmangattuvalappil Nishanth

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Reverse engineering gene networks and identifying regulatory interactions are integral to understanding cellular decision making processes. Advancement in high throughput experimental techniques has initiated innovative data driven analysis of gene regulatory networks. However, inherent noise associated with biological systems requires numerous experimental replicates for reliable conclusions. Furthermore, evidence of robust algorithms directly exploiting basic biological traits are few. Such algorithms are expected to be efficient in their performance and robust in their prediction. Results We have developed a network identification algorithm to accurately infer both the topology and strength of regulatory interactions from time series gene expression data in the presence of significant experimental noise and non-linear behavior. In this novel formulism, we have addressed data variability in biological systems by integrating network identification with the bootstrap resampling technique, hence predicting robust interactions from limited experimental replicates subjected to noise. Furthermore, we have incorporated non-linearity in gene dynamics using the S-system formulation. The basic network identification formulation exploits the trait of sparsity of biological interactions. Towards that, the identification algorithm is formulated as an integer-programming problem by introducing binary variables for each network component. The objective function is targeted to minimize the network connections subjected to the constraint of maximal agreement between the experimental and predicted gene dynamics. The developed algorithm is validated using both in silico and experimental data-sets. These studies show that the algorithm can accurately predict the topology and connection strength of the in silico networks, as quantified by high precision and recall, and small discrepancy between the actual and predicted kinetic parameters

  12. Morphogenesis in sea urchin embryos: linking cellular events to gene regulatory network states

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyons, Deidre; Kaltenbach, Stacy; McClay, David R.

    2013-01-01

    Gastrulation in the sea urchin begins with ingression of the primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) at the vegetal pole of the embryo. After entering the blastocoel the PMCs migrate, form a syncitium, and synthesize the skeleton of the embryo. Several hours after the PMCs ingress the vegetal plate buckles to initiate invagination of the archenteron. That morphogenetic process occurs in several steps. The non-skeletogenic cells produce the initial inbending of the vegetal plate. Endoderm cells then rearrange and extend the length of the gut across the blastocoel to a target near the animal pole. Finally, cells that will form part of the midgut and hindgut are added to complete gastrulation. Later, the stomodeum invaginates from the oral ectoderm and fuses with the foregut to complete the archenteron. In advance of, and during these morphogenetic events an increasingly complex gene regulatory network controls the specification and the cell biological events that conduct the gastrulation movements. PMID:23801438

  13. Identifying noncoding risk variants using disease-relevant gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Long; Uzun, Yasin; Gao, Peng; He, Bing; Ma, Xiaoke; Wang, Jiahui; Han, Shizhong; Tan, Kai

    2018-02-16

    Identifying noncoding risk variants remains a challenging task. Because noncoding variants exert their effects in the context of a gene regulatory network (GRN), we hypothesize that explicit use of disease-relevant GRNs can significantly improve the inference accuracy of noncoding risk variants. We describe Annotation of Regulatory Variants using Integrated Networks (ARVIN), a general computational framework for predicting causal noncoding variants. It employs a set of novel regulatory network-based features, combined with sequence-based features to infer noncoding risk variants. Using known causal variants in gene promoters and enhancers in a number of diseases, we show ARVIN outperforms state-of-the-art methods that use sequence-based features alone. Additional experimental validation using reporter assay further demonstrates the accuracy of ARVIN. Application of ARVIN to seven autoimmune diseases provides a holistic view of the gene subnetwork perturbed by the combinatorial action of the entire set of risk noncoding mutations.

  14. Integration of metabolic and gene regulatory networks modulates the C. elegans dietary response.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watson, Emma; MacNeil, Lesley T; Arda, H Efsun; Zhu, Lihua Julie; Walhout, Albertha J M

    2013-03-28

    Expression profiles are tailored according to dietary input. However, the networks that control dietary responses remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we combine forward and reverse genetic screens to delineate a network of 184 genes that affect the C. elegans dietary response to Comamonas DA1877 bacteria. We find that perturbation of a mitochondrial network composed of enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism and the TCA cycle affects the dietary response. In humans, mutations in the corresponding genes cause inborn diseases of amino acid metabolism, most of which are treated by dietary intervention. We identify several transcription factors (TFs) that mediate the changes in gene expression upon metabolic network perturbations. Altogether, our findings unveil a transcriptional response system that is poised to sense dietary cues and metabolic imbalances, illustrating extensive communication between metabolic networks in the mitochondria and gene regulatory networks in the nucleus. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. The transcriptional and gene regulatory network of Lactococcus lactis MG1363 during growth in milk.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anne de Jong

    Full Text Available In the present study we examine the changes in the expression of genes of Lactococcus lactis subspecies cremoris MG1363 during growth in milk. To reveal which specific classes of genes (pathways, operons, regulons, COGs are important, we performed a transcriptome time series experiment. Global analysis of gene expression over time showed that L. lactis adapted quickly to the environmental changes. Using upstream sequences of genes with correlated gene expression profiles, we uncovered a substantial number of putative DNA binding motifs that may be relevant for L. lactis fermentative growth in milk. All available novel and literature-derived data were integrated into network reconstruction building blocks, which were used to reconstruct and visualize the L. lactis gene regulatory network. This network enables easy mining in the chrono-transcriptomics data. A freely available website at http://milkts.molgenrug.nl gives full access to all transcriptome data, to the reconstructed network and to the individual network building blocks.

  16. NetBenchmark: a bioconductor package for reproducible benchmarks of gene regulatory network inference.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellot, Pau; Olsen, Catharina; Salembier, Philippe; Oliveras-Vergés, Albert; Meyer, Patrick E

    2015-09-29

    In the last decade, a great number of methods for reconstructing gene regulatory networks from expression data have been proposed. However, very few tools and datasets allow to evaluate accurately and reproducibly those methods. Hence, we propose here a new tool, able to perform a systematic, yet fully reproducible, evaluation of transcriptional network inference methods. Our open-source and freely available Bioconductor package aggregates a large set of tools to assess the robustness of network inference algorithms against different simulators, topologies, sample sizes and noise intensities. The benchmarking framework that uses various datasets highlights the specialization of some methods toward network types and data. As a result, it is possible to identify the techniques that have broad overall performances.

  17. State of the Art of Fuzzy Methods for Gene Regulatory Networks Inference

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tuqyah Abdullah Al Qazlan

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available To address one of the most challenging issues at the cellular level, this paper surveys the fuzzy methods used in gene regulatory networks (GRNs inference. GRNs represent causal relationships between genes that have a direct influence, trough protein production, on the life and the development of living organisms and provide a useful contribution to the understanding of the cellular functions as well as the mechanisms of diseases. Fuzzy systems are based on handling imprecise knowledge, such as biological information. They provide viable computational tools for inferring GRNs from gene expression data, thus contributing to the discovery of gene interactions responsible for specific diseases and/or ad hoc correcting therapies. Increasing computational power and high throughput technologies have provided powerful means to manage these challenging digital ecosystems at different levels from cell to society globally. The main aim of this paper is to report, present, and discuss the main contributions of this multidisciplinary field in a coherent and structured framework.

  18. Epigenetics and Cellular Metabolism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wenyi Xu

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Living eukaryotic systems evolve delicate cellular mechanisms for responding to various environmental signals. Among them, epigenetic machinery (DNA methylation, histone modifications, microRNAs, etc. is the hub in transducing external stimuli into transcriptional response. Emerging evidence reveals the concept that epigenetic signatures are essential for the proper maintenance of cellular metabolism. On the other hand, the metabolite, a main environmental input, can also influence the processing of epigenetic memory. Here, we summarize the recent research progress in the epigenetic regulation of cellular metabolism and discuss how the dysfunction of epigenetic machineries influences the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity; then, we focus on discussing the notion that manipulating metabolites, the fuel of cell metabolism, can function as a strategy for interfering epigenetic machinery and its related disease progression as well.

  19. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, epigenetics, and skeletal system dysfunction: exploration of links using bisphenol A as a model system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xin, Frances; Smith, Lauren M; Susiarjo, Martha; Jepsen, Karl J

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Early life exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been associated with physiological changes of endocrine-sensitive tissues throughout postnatal life. Although hormones play a critical role in skeletal growth and maintenance, the effects of prenatal EDC exposure on adult bone health are not well understood. Moreover, studies assessing skeletal changes across multiple generations are limited. In this article, we present previously unpublished data demonstrating dose-, sex-, and generation-specific changes in bone morphology and function in adult mice developmentally exposed to the model estrogenic EDC bisphenol A (BPA) at doses of 10 μg (lower dose) or 10 mg per kg bw/d (upper dose) throughout gestation and lactation. We show that F1 generation adult males, but not females, developmentally exposed to bisphenol A exhibit dose-dependent reductions in outer bone size resulting in compromised bone stiffness and strength. These structural alterations and weaker bone phenotypes in the F1 generation did not persist in the F2 generation. Instead, F2 generation males exhibited greater bone strength. The underlying mechanisms driving the EDC-induced physiological changes remain to be determined. We discuss potential molecular changes that could contribute to the EDC-induced skeletal effects, with an emphasis on epigenetic dysregulation. Furthermore, we assess the necessity of intact sex steroid receptors to mediate these effects. Expanding future assessments of EDC-induced effects to the skeleton may provide much needed insight into one of the many health effects of these chemicals and aid in regulatory decision making regarding exposure of vulnerable populations to these chemicals. PMID:29732168

  20. Epigenetics and obesity

    OpenAIRE

    Stöger, Reinhard

    2008-01-01

    Common DNA sequence variants inadequately explain variability in fat mass among individuals. Abnormal body weights are characteristic of specific imprinted-gene disorders. However, the relevance of imprinted genes to our understanding of obesity among the general population is uncertain. Hitherto unidentified imprinted genes and epigenetic mosaicism are two of the challenges for this emerging field of epigenetics. Subtle epigenetic differences in imprinted genes and gene networks are likely t...

  1. Epigenetic regulation of non-lymphoid cells by Bisphenol-A, a model endocrine disrupter: Potential Implications for Immunoregulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deena eKhan

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC abound in the environment since many compounds are released from chemical, agricultural, pharmaceutical and consumer product industries. Many of the EDCs such as Bisphenol A (BPA have estrogenic activity or interfere with endogenous sex hormones. Experimental studies have reported a positive correlation of BPA with reproductive toxicity, altered growth and immune dysregulation. Although the precise relevance of these studies to the environmental levels is unclear, nevertheless, their potential health implications remain a concern. One possible mechanism by which BPA can alter genes is by regulating epigenetics, including microRNA, alteration of methylation and histone acetylation. There is now wealth of information on BPA effects on non-lymphoid cells and by comparison, paucity of data on effects of BPA on the immune system. In this mini review, we will highlight BPA regulation of estrogen receptor-mediated immune cell functions and in different inflammatory conditions. In addition, BPA-mediated epigenetic regulation of non-lymphoid cells is emphasized. We recognize that most of these studies are on non-lymphoid cells, and given that BPA also affects the immune system, it is plausible that BPA could have similar epigenetic regulation in immune cells. It is hoped that this review will stimulate studies in this area to ascertain whether or not BPA epigenetically regulates the cells of the immune system.

  2. Epigenetic Regulation of Adipokines

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tho X. Pham

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Adipose tissue expansion in obesity leads to changes in the expression of adipokines, adipocyte-specific hormones that can regulate whole body energy metabolism. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is a mechanism by which cells can alter gene expression through the modifications of DNA and histones. Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, are intimately tied to energy metabolism due to their dependence on metabolic intermediates such as S-adenosylmethionine and acetyl-CoA. Altered expression of adipokines in obesity may be due to epigenetic changes. The goal of this review is to highlight current knowledge of epigenetic regulation of adipokines.

  3. Epigenetic considerations in aquaculture

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mackenzie R. Gavery

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetics has attracted considerable attention with respect to its potential value in many areas of agricultural production, particularly under conditions where the environment can be manipulated or natural variation exists. Here we introduce key concepts and definitions of epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNA, review the current understanding of epigenetics in both fish and shellfish, and propose key areas of aquaculture where epigenetics could be applied. The first key area is environmental manipulation, where the intention is to induce an ‘epigenetic memory’ either within or between generations to produce a desired phenotype. The second key area is epigenetic selection, which, alone or combined with genetic selection, may increase the reliability of producing animals with desired phenotypes. Based on aspects of life history and husbandry practices in aquaculture species, the application of epigenetic knowledge could significantly affect the productivity and sustainability of aquaculture practices. Conversely, clarifying the role of epigenetic mechanisms in aquaculture species may upend traditional assumptions about selection practices. Ultimately, there are still many unanswered questions regarding how epigenetic mechanisms might be leveraged in aquaculture.

  4. Autism spectrum disorder model mice: Focus on copy number variation and epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakai, Nobuhiro; Otsuka, Susumu; Myung, Jihwan; Takumi, Toru

    2015-10-01

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is gathering concerns in socially developed countries. ASD is a neuropsychiatric disorder of genetic origin with high prevalence of 1%-2%. The patients with ASD characteristically show impaired social skills. Today, many genetic studies identify numerous susceptible genes and genetic loci associated with ASD. Although some genetic factors can lead to abnormal brain function linked to ASD phenotypes, the pathogenic mechanism of ASD is still unclear. Here, we discuss a new mouse model for ASD as an advanced tool to understand the mechanism of ASD.

  5. A mathematical view for ordinary differential equation models. Comment on ;Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition; by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Guifang

    2017-03-01

    Qian Wang et al. have written an interesting article to propose a modeling framework named epiGame in this issue of Physics of Life Reviews [1]. The epiGame framework models how the methylation state of paternal and maternal genomes regulates the embryogenesis as an ecological system in which two highly distinct and specialized gametes coordinate through either cooperation or competition, or both, to maximize the fitness of embryos. Qian Wang et al. also provide solid simulation studies and real data analysis to validate the correctness of their epiGame framework. The importance of embryo development and fertility mechanism cannot be overemphasized, hence, I think that the present review by Qian Wang et al. will stand as a useful modeling guide for practicing biologists or researchers in fertility health to quantify how sperms and oocytes interact through epigenetic process to determine embryo development. In addition, it will serve as a source of many important references to work in the reproductive biology field.

  6. The nomenclature of MHC class I gene regulatory regions - the case of two different downstream regulatory elements

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hatina, J.; Jansa, Petr; Forejt, Jiří

    2001-01-01

    Roč. 37, 12-13 (2001), s. 799-800 ISSN 0161-5890 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z5052915 Keywords : MHC I gene regulatory elements Subject RIV: EB - Genetics ; Molecular Biology Impact factor: 1.973, year: 2001

  7. Integration of steady-state and temporal gene expression data for the inference of gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yi Kan; Hurley, Daniel G; Schnell, Santiago; Print, Cristin G; Crampin, Edmund J

    2013-01-01

    We develop a new regression algorithm, cMIKANA, for inference of gene regulatory networks from combinations of steady-state and time-series gene expression data. Using simulated gene expression datasets to assess the accuracy of reconstructing gene regulatory networks, we show that steady-state and time-series data sets can successfully be combined to identify gene regulatory interactions using the new algorithm. Inferring gene networks from combined data sets was found to be advantageous when using noisy measurements collected with either lower sampling rates or a limited number of experimental replicates. We illustrate our method by applying it to a microarray gene expression dataset from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) which combines time series data from treatment with growth factor TNF and steady state data from siRNA knockdown treatments. Our results suggest that the combination of steady-state and time-series datasets may provide better prediction of RNA-to-RNA interactions, and may also reveal biological features that cannot be identified from dynamic or steady state information alone. Finally, we consider the experimental design of genomics experiments for gene regulatory network inference and show that network inference can be improved by incorporating steady-state measurements with time-series data.

  8. Potential gene regulatory role for cyclin D3 in muscle cells

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrated that expression of cyclin D3 in undifferentiated myoblasts altered histone epigenetic marks at promoters of muscle-specific genes like MyoD, Pax7, myogenin and muscle creatine kinase but not non-muscle genes. Cyclin D3 expression also reduced the mRNA ...

  9. MicroRNAs as new Characters in the Plot between Epigenetics and Prostate Cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alessio ePaone

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available Prostate cancer (PCA still represents a leading cause of death. An increasing number of studies have documented that microRNAs (miRNAs, a subgroup of non-coding RNAs with gene regulatory functions, are differentially expressed in PCA respect to the normal tissue counterpart, suggesting their involvement in prostate carcinogenesis and dissemination. Interestingly, it has been shown that miRNAs undergo the same regulatory mechanisms than any other protein coding gene, including epigenetic regulation. In turn, miRNAs can also affect the expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes by targeting effectors of the epigenetic machinery, therefore indirectly affecting the epigenetic controls on these genes. Among the genes that undergo this complex regulation, there is the androgen receptor (AR, a key therapeutic target for PCA. This review will focus on the role of epigenetically regulated and epigenetically regulating miRNAs in prostate cancer and on the fine regulation of AR expression, as mediated by this miRNA-epigenetics interaction.

  10. MicroRNAs as New Characters in the Plot between Epigenetics and Prostate Cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paone, Alessio; Galli, Roberta; Fabbri, Muller

    2011-01-01

    Prostate cancer (PCA) still represents a leading cause of death. An increasing number of studies have documented that microRNAs (miRNAs), a subgroup of non-coding RNAs with gene regulatory functions, are differentially expressed in PCA respect to the normal tissue counterpart, suggesting their involvement in prostate carcinogenesis and dissemination. Interestingly, it has been shown that miRNAs undergo the same regulatory mechanisms than any other protein coding gene, including epigenetic regulation. In turn, miRNAs can also affect the expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes by targeting effectors of the epigenetic machinery, therefore indirectly affecting the epigenetic controls on these genes. Among the genes that undergo this complex regulation, there is the androgen receptor (AR), a key therapeutic target for PCA. This review will focus on the role of epigenetically regulated and epigenetically regulating miRNAs in PCA and on the fine regulation of AR expression, as mediated by this miRNA-epigenetics interaction.

  11. The lateral mesodermal divide: an epigenetic model of the origin of paired fins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nuño de la Rosa, Laura; Müller, Gerd B; Metscher, Brian D

    2014-01-01

    By examining development at the level of tissues and processes, rather than focusing on gene expression, we have formulated a general hypothesis to explain the dorso-ventral and anterior-posterior placement of paired appendage initiation sites in vertebrates. According to our model, the number and position of paired appendages are due to a commonality of embryonic tissue environments determined by the global interactions involving the two separated layers (somatic and visceral) of lateral plate mesoderm along the dorso-ventral and anterior-posterior axes of the embryo. We identify this distribution of developmental conditions, as modulated by the separation/contact of the two LPM layers and their interactions with somitic mesoderm, ectoderm, and endoderm as a dynamic developmental entity which we have termed the lateral mesodermal divide (LMD). Where the divide results in a certain tissue environment, fin bud initiation can occur. According to our hypothesis, the influence of the developing gut suppresses limb initiation along the midgut region and the ventral body wall owing to an "endodermal predominance." From an evolutionary perspective, the lack of gut regionalization in agnathans reflects the ancestral absence of these conditions, and the elaboration of the gut together with the concomitant changes to the LMD in the gnathostomes could have led to the origin of paired fins. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Comparative in silico profiling of epigenetic modifiers in human tissues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Son, Mi-Young; Jung, Cho-Rok; Kim, Dae-Soo; Cho, Hyun-Soo

    2018-04-06

    The technology of tissue differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells has attracted attention as a useful resource for regenerative medicine, disease modeling and drug development. Recent studies have suggested various key factors and specific culture methods to improve the successful tissue differentiation and efficient generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Among these methods, epigenetic regulation and epigenetic signatures are regarded as an important hurdle to overcome during reprogramming and differentiation. Thus, in this study, we developed an in silico epigenetic panel and performed a comparative analysis of epigenetic modifiers in the RNA-seq results of 32 human tissues. We demonstrated that an in silico epigenetic panel can identify epigenetic modifiers in order to overcome epigenetic barriers to tissue-specific differentiation.

  13. Anticonvulsant effect of time-restricted feeding in a pilocarpine-induced seizure model: Metabolic and epigenetic implications.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge eLandgrave-Gómez

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available A new generation of antiepileptic drugs has emerged; however, one-third of epilepsy patients do not properly respond to pharmacological treatments. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether time-restricted feeding has an anticonvulsant effect and whether this restrictive diet promotes changes in energy metabolism and epigenetic modifications in a pilocarpine-induced seizure model. To resolve our hypothesis, one group of rats had free access to food and water ad libitum (AL and a second group underwent a time-restricted feeding (TRF schedule. We used the lithium-pilocarpine model to induce status epilepticus (SE, and behavioral seizure monitoring was analyzed. Additionally, an electroencephalography (EEG recording was performed to verify the effect of TRF on cortical electrical activity after a pilocarpine injection. For biochemical analysis, animals were sacrificed 24 hours after SE and hippocampal homogenates were used to evaluate the proteins related to metabolism and chromatin structure. Our results showed that TRF had an anticonvulsant effect as measured by the prolonged latency of forelimb clonus seizure, a decrease in the seizure severity score and fewer animals reaching SE. Additionally, the power of the late phase EEG recordings in the AL group was significantly higher than the TRF group. Moreover, we found that TRF is capable of inducing alterations in signaling pathways that regulate energy metabolism, including an increase in the phosphorylation of AMP dependent kinase (AMPK and a decrease in the phosphorylation of Akt kinase. Furthermore, we found that TRF was able to significantly increase the beta hydroxybutyrate (β-HB concentration, an endogenous inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDACs. Finally, we found a significant decrease in HDAC activity as well as an increase in acetylation on histone 3 (H3 in hippocampal homogenates from the TRF group. These findings suggest that alterations in energy metabolism and the

  14. Obesity: epigenetic aspects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaushik, Prashant; Anderson, James T

    2016-06-01

    Epigenetics, defined as inheritable and reversible phenomena that affect gene expression without altering the underlying base pair sequence has been shown to play an important role in the etiopathogenesis of obesity. Obesity is associated with extensive gene expression changes in tissues throughout the body. Epigenetics is emerging as perhaps the most important mechanism through which the lifestyle-choices we make can directly influence the genome. Considerable epidemiological, experimental and clinical data have been amassed showing that the risk of developing disease in later life is dependent on early life conditions, mainly operating within the normative range of developmental exposures. In addition to the 'maternal' interactions, there has been increasing interest in the epigenetic mechanisms through which 'paternal' influences on offspring development can be achieved. Nutrition, among many other environmental factors, is a key player that can induce epigenetic changes not only in the directly exposed organisms but also in subsequent generations through the transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic traits. Overall, significant progress has been made in the field of epigenetics and obesity and the first potential epigenetic markers for obesity that could be detected at birth have been identified. Fortunately, epigenetic phenomena are dynamic and rather quickly reversible with intensive lifestyle changes. This is a very promising and sustainable resolution to the obesity pandemic.

  15. Epigenetic memory in mammals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe eMigicovsky

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic information can be passed on from one generation to another via DNA methylation, histone modifications and changes in small RNAs, a process called epigenetic memory. During a mammal’s lifecycle epigenetic reprogramming, or the resetting of most epigenetic marks, occurs twice. The first instance of reprogramming occurs in primordial germ cells and the second occurs following fertilization. These processes may be both passive and active. In order for epigenetic inheritance to occur the epigenetic modifications must be able to escape reprogramming. There are several examples supporting this non-Mendelian mechanism of inheritance including the prepacking of early developmental genes in histones instead of protamines in sperm, genomic imprinting via methylation marks, the retention of CenH3 in mammalian sperm and the inheritance of piwi-associated interfering RNAs. The ability of mammals to pass on epigenetic information to their progeny provides clear evidence that inheritance is not restricted to DNA sequence and epigenetics plays a key role in producing viable offspring.

  16. Epigenetics: relevance and implications for public health.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rozek, Laura S; Dolinoy, Dana C; Sartor, Maureen A; Omenn, Gilbert S

    2014-01-01

    Improved understanding of the multilayer regulation of the human genome has led to a greater appreciation of environmental, nutritional, and epigenetic risk factors for human disease. Chromatin remodeling, histone tail modifications, and DNA methylation are dynamic epigenetic changes responsive to external stimuli. Careful interpretation can provide insights for actionable public health through collaboration between population and basic scientists and through integration of multiple data sources. We review key findings in environmental epigenetics both in human population studies and in animal models, and discuss the implications of these results for risk assessment and public health protection. To ultimately succeed in identifying epigenetic mechanisms leading to complex phenotypes and disease, researchers must integrate the various animal models, human clinical approaches, and human population approaches while paying attention to life-stage sensitivity, to generate effective prescriptions for human health evaluation and disease prevention.

  17. Epigenetics and cancer

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lund, Anders H; van Lohuizen, Maarten

    2004-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms act to change the accessibility of chromatin to transcriptional regulation locally and globally via modifications of the DNA and by modification or rearrangement of nucleosomes. Epigenetic gene regulation collaborates with genetic alterations in cancer development. This is e......Epigenetic mechanisms act to change the accessibility of chromatin to transcriptional regulation locally and globally via modifications of the DNA and by modification or rearrangement of nucleosomes. Epigenetic gene regulation collaborates with genetic alterations in cancer development....... This is evident from every aspect of tumor biology including cell growth and differentiation, cell cycle control, DNA repair, angiogenesis, migration, and evasion of host immunosurveillance. In contrast to genetic cancer causes, the possibility of reversing epigenetic codes may provide new targets for therapeutic...

  18. Cell-based DNA demethylation detection system for screening of epigenetic drugs in 2D, 3D and xenograft models

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Agrawal, K.; Das, V.; Otmar, Miroslav; Krečmerová, Marcela; Džubák, P.; Hajdúch, M.

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 14, Suppl 2 (2015), B72 ISSN 1535-7163. [AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. 05.11.2015-09.11.2015, Boston] R&D Projects: GA MPO(CZ) FR-TI4/625; GA MŠk(CZ) LO1304 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : demethylation * epigenetic drugs * fluorescence detection system Subject RIV: CC - Organic Chemistry

  19. Cell-based DNA demethylation detection system for screening of epigenetic drugs in 2D, 3D, and xenograft models

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Agrawal, K.; Das, V.; Otmar, Miroslav; Krečmerová, Marcela; Džubák, P.; Hajdúch, M.

    91A, č. 2 (2017), s. 133-143 ISSN 1552-4922 R&D Projects: GA MZd(CZ) NV15-31984A; GA MŠk(CZ) LO1304; GA MŠk(CZ) LM2015064; GA TA ČR(CZ) TE01020028 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : DNA methylation * DNA methylation inhibitors * demethylation detection system * epigenetic drugs * high content screening Subject RIV: CC - Organic Chemistry OBOR OECD: Organic chemistry Impact factor: 3.222, year: 2016

  20. Molecular Analysis of a Multistep Lung Cancer Model Induced by Chronic Inflammation Reveals Epigenetic Regulation of p16, Activation of the DNA Damage Response Pathway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Blanco

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available The molecular hallmarks of inflammation-mediated lung carcinogenesis have not been fully clarified, mainly due to the scarcity of appropriate animal models. We have used a silica-induced multistep lung carcinogenesis model driven by chronic inflammation to study the evolution of molecular markers, genetic alterations. We analyzed markers of DNA damage response (DDR, proliferative stress, telomeric stress: δ-H2AX, p16, p53, TERT. Lung cancer-related epigenetic, genetic alterations, including promoter hypermethylation status of p16(CDKN2A, APC, CDH13, Rassf1, Nore1A, as well as mutations of Tp53, epidermal growth factor receptor, K-ras, N-ras, c-H-ras, have been also studied. Our results showed DDR pathway activation in preneoplastic lesions, in association with inducible nitric oxide synthase, p53 induction. p16 was also induced in early tumorigenic progression, was inactivated in bronchiolar dysplasias, tumors. Remarkably, lack of mutations of Ras, epidermal growth factor receptor, a very low frequency of Tp53 mutations suggest that they are not required for tumorigenesis in this model. In contrast, epigenetic alterations in p16(CDKN2A, CDH13, APC, but not in Rassf1, Nore1A, were clearly observed. These data suggest the existence of a specific molecular signature of inflammation-driven lung carcinogenesis that shares some, but not all, of the molecular landmarks of chemically induced lung cancer.

  1. Automated Identification of Core Regulatory Genes in Human Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vipin Narang

    Full Text Available Human gene regulatory networks (GRN can be difficult to interpret due to a tangle of edges interconnecting thousands of genes. We constructed a general human GRN from extensive transcription factor and microRNA target data obtained from public databases. In a subnetwork of this GRN that is active during estrogen stimulation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, we benchmarked automated algorithms for identifying core regulatory genes (transcription factors and microRNAs. Among these algorithms, we identified K-core decomposition, pagerank and betweenness centrality algorithms as the most effective for discovering core regulatory genes in the network evaluated based on previously known roles of these genes in MCF-7 biology as well as in their ability to explain the up or down expression status of up to 70% of the remaining genes. Finally, we validated the use of K-core algorithm for organizing the GRN in an easier to interpret layered hierarchy where more influential regulatory genes percolate towards the inner layers. The integrated human gene and miRNA network and software used in this study are provided as supplementary materials (S1 Data accompanying this manuscript.

  2. MutaNET: a tool for automated analysis of genomic mutations in gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hollander, Markus; Hamed, Mohamed; Helms, Volkhard; Neininger, Kerstin

    2018-03-01

    Mutations in genomic key elements can influence gene expression and function in various ways, and hence greatly contribute to the phenotype. We developed MutaNET to score the impact of individual mutations on gene regulation and function of a given genome. MutaNET performs statistical analyses of mutations in different genomic regions. The tool also incorporates the mutations in a provided gene regulatory network to estimate their global impact. The integration of a next-generation sequencing pipeline enables calling mutations prior to the analyses. As application example, we used MutaNET to analyze the impact of mutations in antibiotic resistance (AR) genes and their potential effect on AR of bacterial strains. MutaNET is freely available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/mutanet/. It is implemented in Python and supported on Mac OS X, Linux and MS Windows. Step-by-step instructions are available at http://service.bioinformatik.uni-saarland.de/mutanet/. volkhard.helms@bioinformatik.uni-saarland.de. Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

  3. PRMT1 mediated methylation of TAF15 is required for its positive gene regulatory function

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jobert, Laure; Argentini, Manuela [Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U 596, Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, BP 10142 - 67404 Illkirch Cedex, CU de Strasbourg (France); Tora, Laszlo, E-mail: laszlo@igbmc.u-strasbg.fr [Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U 596, Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, BP 10142 - 67404 Illkirch Cedex, CU de Strasbourg (France)

    2009-04-15

    TAF15 (formerly TAF{sub II}68) is a nuclear RNA-binding protein that is associated with a distinct population of TFIID and RNA polymerase II complexes. TAF15 harbours an N-terminal activation domain, an RNA recognition motif (RRM) and many Arg-Gly-Gly (RGG) repeats at its C-terminal end. The N-terminus of TAF15 serves as an essential transforming domain in the fusion oncoprotein created by chromosomal translocation in certain human chondrosarcomas. Post-transcriptional modifications (PTMs) of proteins are known to regulate their activity, however, nothing is known on how PTMs affect TAF15 function. Here we demonstrate that endogenous human TAF15 is methylated in vivo at its numerous RGG repeats. Furthermore, we identify protein arginine N-methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) as a TAF15 interactor and the major PRMT responsible for its methylation. In addition, the RGG repeat-containing C-terminus of TAF15 is responsible for the shuttling between the nucleus and the cytoplasm and the methylation of RGG repeats affects the subcellular localization of TAF15. The methylation of TAF15 by PRMT1 is required for the ability of TAF15 to positively regulate the expression of the studied endogenous TAF15-target genes. Our findings demonstrate that arginine methylation of TAF15 by PRMT1 is a crucial event determining its proper localization and gene regulatory function.

  4. The gene regulatory network for breast cancer: Integrated regulatory landscape of cancer hallmarks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frank eEmmert-Streib

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available In this study, we infer the breast cancer gene regulatory network from gene expression data. This network is obtained from the application of the BC3Net inference algorithm to a large-scale gene expression data set consisting of $351$ patient samples. In order to elucidate the functional relevance of the inferred network, we are performing a Gene Ontology (GO analysis for its structural components. Our analysis reveals that most significant GO-terms we find for the breast cancer network represent functional modules of biological processes that are described by known cancer hallmarks, including translation, immune response, cell cycle, organelle fission, mitosis, cell adhesion, RNA processing, RNA splicing and response to wounding. Furthermore, by using a curated list of census cancer genes, we find an enrichment in these functional modules. Finally, we study cooperative effects of chromosomes based on information of interacting genes in the beast cancer network. We find that chromosome $21$ is most coactive with other chromosomes. To our knowledge this is the first study investigating the genome-scale breast cancer network.

  5. An intersectional gene regulatory strategy defines subclass diversity of C. elegans motor neurons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kratsios, Paschalis; Kerk, Sze Yen; Catela, Catarina; Liang, Joseph; Vidal, Berta; Bayer, Emily A; Feng, Weidong; De La Cruz, Estanisla Daniel; Croci, Laura; Consalez, G Giacomo; Mizumoto, Kota; Hobert, Oliver

    2017-07-05

    A core principle of nervous system organization is the diversification of neuron classes into subclasses that share large sets of features but differ in select traits. We describe here a molecular mechanism necessary for motor neurons to acquire subclass-specific traits in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans . Cholinergic motor neuron classes of the ventral nerve cord can be subdivided into subclasses along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis based on synaptic connectivity patterns and molecular features. The conserved COE-type terminal selector UNC-3 not only controls the expression of traits shared by all members of a neuron class, but is also required for subclass-specific traits expressed along the A-P axis. UNC-3, which is not regionally restricted, requires region-specific cofactors in the form of Hox proteins to co-activate subclass-specific effector genes in post-mitotic motor neurons. This intersectional gene regulatory principle for neuronal subclass diversification may be conserved from nematodes to mice.

  6. HAND2 Target Gene Regulatory Networks Control Atrioventricular Canal and Cardiac Valve Development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurent, Frédéric; Girdziusaite, Ausra; Gamart, Julie; Barozzi, Iros; Osterwalder, Marco; Akiyama, Jennifer A; Lincoln, Joy; Lopez-Rios, Javier; Visel, Axel; Zuniga, Aimée; Zeller, Rolf

    2017-05-23

    The HAND2 transcriptional regulator controls cardiac development, and we uncover additional essential functions in the endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) underlying cardiac cushion development in the atrioventricular canal (AVC). In Hand2-deficient mouse embryos, the EMT underlying AVC cardiac cushion formation is disrupted, and we combined ChIP-seq of embryonic hearts with transcriptome analysis of wild-type and mutants AVCs to identify the functionally relevant HAND2 target genes. The HAND2 target gene regulatory network (GRN) includes most genes with known functions in EMT processes and AVC cardiac cushion formation. One of these is Snai1, an EMT master regulator whose expression is lost from Hand2-deficient AVCs. Re-expression of Snai1 in mutant AVC explants partially restores this EMT and mesenchymal cell migration. Furthermore, the HAND2-interacting enhancers in the Snai1 genomic landscape are active in embryonic hearts and other Snai1-expressing tissues. These results show that HAND2 directly regulates the molecular cascades initiating AVC cardiac valve development. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Inferring nonlinear gene regulatory networks from gene expression data based on distance correlation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaobo Guo

    Full Text Available Nonlinear dependence is general in regulation mechanism of gene regulatory networks (GRNs. It is vital to properly measure or test nonlinear dependence from real data for reconstructing GRNs and understanding the complex regulatory mechanisms within the cellular system. A recently developed measurement called the distance correlation (DC has been shown powerful and computationally effective in nonlinear dependence for many situations. In this work, we incorporate the DC into inferring GRNs from the gene expression data without any underling distribution assumptions. We propose three DC-based GRNs inference algorithms: CLR-DC, MRNET-DC and REL-DC, and then compare them with the mutual information (MI-based algorithms by analyzing two simulated data: benchmark GRNs from the DREAM challenge and GRNs generated by SynTReN network generator, and an experimentally determined SOS DNA repair network in Escherichia coli. According to both the receiver operator characteristic (ROC curve and the precision-recall (PR curve, our proposed algorithms significantly outperform the MI-based algorithms in GRNs inference.

  8. Medusa structure of the gene regulatory network: dominance of transcription factors in cancer subtype classification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Yuchun; Feng, Ying; Trivedi, Niraj S; Huang, Sui

    2011-05-01

    Gene expression profiles consisting of ten thousands of transcripts are used for clustering of tissue, such as tumors, into subtypes, often without considering the underlying reason that the distinct patterns of expression arise because of constraints in the realization of gene expression profiles imposed by the gene regulatory network. The topology of this network has been suggested to consist of a regulatory core of genes represented most prominently by transcription factors (TFs) and microRNAs, that influence the expression of other genes, and of a periphery of 'enslaved' effector genes that are regulated but not regulating. This 'medusa' architecture implies that the core genes are much stronger determinants of the realized gene expression profiles. To test this hypothesis, we examined the clustering of gene expression profiles into known tumor types to quantitatively demonstrate that TFs, and even more pronounced, microRNAs, are much stronger discriminators of tumor type specific gene expression patterns than a same number of randomly selected or metabolic genes. These findings lend support to the hypothesis of a medusa architecture and of the canalizing nature of regulation by microRNAs. They also reveal the degree of freedom for the expression of peripheral genes that are less stringently associated with a tissue type specific global gene expression profile.

  9. PRMT1 mediated methylation of TAF15 is required for its positive gene regulatory function

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jobert, Laure; Argentini, Manuela; Tora, Laszlo

    2009-01-01

    TAF15 (formerly TAF II 68) is a nuclear RNA-binding protein that is associated with a distinct population of TFIID and RNA polymerase II complexes. TAF15 harbours an N-terminal activation domain, an RNA recognition motif (RRM) and many Arg-Gly-Gly (RGG) repeats at its C-terminal end. The N-terminus of TAF15 serves as an essential transforming domain in the fusion oncoprotein created by chromosomal translocation in certain human chondrosarcomas. Post-transcriptional modifications (PTMs) of proteins are known to regulate their activity, however, nothing is known on how PTMs affect TAF15 function. Here we demonstrate that endogenous human TAF15 is methylated in vivo at its numerous RGG repeats. Furthermore, we identify protein arginine N-methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) as a TAF15 interactor and the major PRMT responsible for its methylation. In addition, the RGG repeat-containing C-terminus of TAF15 is responsible for the shuttling between the nucleus and the cytoplasm and the methylation of RGG repeats affects the subcellular localization of TAF15. The methylation of TAF15 by PRMT1 is required for the ability of TAF15 to positively regulate the expression of the studied endogenous TAF15-target genes. Our findings demonstrate that arginine methylation of TAF15 by PRMT1 is a crucial event determining its proper localization and gene regulatory function.

  10. A Bayesian Framework That Integrates Heterogeneous Data for Inferring Gene Regulatory Networks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Santra, Tapesh, E-mail: tapesh.santra@ucd.ie [Systems Biology Ireland, University College Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

    2014-05-20

    Reconstruction of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from experimental data is a fundamental challenge in systems biology. A number of computational approaches have been developed to infer GRNs from mRNA expression profiles. However, expression profiles alone are proving to be insufficient for inferring GRN topologies with reasonable accuracy. Recently, it has been shown that integration of external data sources (such as gene and protein sequence information, gene ontology data, protein–protein interactions) with mRNA expression profiles may increase the reliability of the inference process. Here, I propose a new approach that incorporates transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) and physical protein interactions (PPI) among transcription factors (TFs) in a Bayesian variable selection (BVS) algorithm which can infer GRNs from mRNA expression profiles subjected to genetic perturbations. Using real experimental data, I show that the integration of TFBS and PPI data with mRNA expression profiles leads to significantly more accurate networks than those inferred from expression profiles alone. Additionally, the performance of the proposed algorithm is compared with a series of least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression-based network inference methods that can also incorporate prior knowledge in the inference framework. The results of this comparison suggest that BVS can outperform LASSO regression-based method in some circumstances.

  11. Semi-supervised prediction of gene regulatory networks using machine learning algorithms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patel, Nihir; Wang, Jason T L

    2015-10-01

    Use of computational methods to predict gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from gene expression data is a challenging task. Many studies have been conducted using unsupervised methods to fulfill the task; however, such methods usually yield low prediction accuracies due to the lack of training data. In this article, we propose semi-supervised methods for GRN prediction by utilizing two machine learning algorithms, namely, support vector machines (SVM) and random forests (RF). The semi-supervised methods make use of unlabelled data for training. We investigated inductive and transductive learning approaches, both of which adopt an iterative procedure to obtain reliable negative training data from the unlabelled data. We then applied our semi-supervised methods to gene expression data of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and evaluated the performance of our methods using the expression data. Our analysis indicated that the transductive learning approach outperformed the inductive learning approach for both organisms. However, there was no conclusive difference identified in the performance of SVM and RF. Experimental results also showed that the proposed semi-supervised methods performed better than existing supervised methods for both organisms.

  12. A Bayesian Framework That Integrates Heterogeneous Data for Inferring Gene Regulatory Networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Santra, Tapesh

    2014-01-01

    Reconstruction of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from experimental data is a fundamental challenge in systems biology. A number of computational approaches have been developed to infer GRNs from mRNA expression profiles. However, expression profiles alone are proving to be insufficient for inferring GRN topologies with reasonable accuracy. Recently, it has been shown that integration of external data sources (such as gene and protein sequence information, gene ontology data, protein–protein interactions) with mRNA expression profiles may increase the reliability of the inference process. Here, I propose a new approach that incorporates transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) and physical protein interactions (PPI) among transcription factors (TFs) in a Bayesian variable selection (BVS) algorithm which can infer GRNs from mRNA expression profiles subjected to genetic perturbations. Using real experimental data, I show that the integration of TFBS and PPI data with mRNA expression profiles leads to significantly more accurate networks than those inferred from expression profiles alone. Additionally, the performance of the proposed algorithm is compared with a series of least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression-based network inference methods that can also incorporate prior knowledge in the inference framework. The results of this comparison suggest that BVS can outperform LASSO regression-based method in some circumstances.

  13. The evolutionary implications of epigenetic inheritance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jablonka, Eva

    2017-10-06

    The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis (MS) forged in the mid-twentieth century was built on a notion of heredity that excluded soft inheritance, the inheritance of the effects of developmental modifications. However, the discovery of molecular mechanisms that generate random and developmentally induced epigenetic variations is leading to a broadening of the notion of biological heredity that has consequences for ideas about evolution. After presenting some old challenges to the MS that were raised, among others, by Karl Popper, I discuss recent research on epigenetic inheritance, which provides experimental and theoretical support for these challenges. There is now good evidence that epigenetic inheritance is ubiquitous and is involved in adaptive evolution and macroevolution. I argue that the many evolutionary consequences of epigenetic inheritance open up new research areas and require the extension of the evolutionary synthesis beyond the current neo-Darwinian model.

  14. Scrutinizing the epigenetics revolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meloni, Maurizio; Testa, Giuseppe

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetics is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the life sciences. Its rise is frequently framed as a revolutionary turn that heralds a new epoch both for gene-based epistemology and for the wider discourse on life that pervades knowledge-intensive societies of the molecular age. The fundamentals of this revolution remain however to be scrutinized, and indeed the very contours of what counts as ‘epigenetic' are often blurred. This is reflected also in the mounting discourse on the societal implications of epigenetics, in which vast expectations coexist with significant uncertainty about what aspects of this science are most relevant for politics or policy alike. This is therefore a suitable time to reflect on the directions that social theory could most productively take in the scrutiny of this revolution. Here we take this opportunity in both its scholarly and normative dimension, that is, proposing a roadmap for social theorizing on epigenetics that does not shy away from, and indeed hopefully guides, the framing of its most socially relevant outputs. To this end, we start with an epistemological reappraisal of epigenetic discourse that valorizes the blurring of meanings as a critical asset for the field and privileged analytical entry point. We then propose three paths of investigation. The first looks at the structuring elements of controversies and visions around epigenetics. The second probes the mutual constitution between the epigenetic reordering of living phenomena and the normative settlements that orient individual and collective responsibilities. The third highlights the material import of epigenetics and the molecularization of culture that it mediates. We suggest that these complementary strands provide both an epistemically and socially self-reflective framework to advance the study of epigenetics as a molecular juncture between nature and nurture and thus as the new critical frontier in the social studies of the life sciences. PMID

  15. Epigenetic Effects of Cannabis Exposure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szutorisz, Henrietta; Hurd, Yasmin L.

    2015-01-01

    The past decade has witnessed a number of societal and political changes that have raised critical questions about the long-term impact of marijuana (Cannabis sativa) that are especially important given the prevalence of its abuse and that potential long-term effects still largely lack scientific data. Disturbances of the epigenome have generally been hypothesized as the molecular machinery underlying the persistent, often tissue-specific transcriptional and behavioral effects of cannabinoids that have been observed within one’s lifetime and even into the subsequent generation. Here, we provide an overview of the current published scientific literature that examined epigenetic effects of cannabinoids. Though mechanistic insights about the epigenome remain sparse, accumulating data in humans and animal models have begun to reveal aberrant epigenetic modifications in brain and the periphery linked to cannabis exposure. Expansion of such knowledge and causal molecular relationships could help provide novel targets for future therapeutic interventions. PMID:26546076

  16. Computational Micromodel for Epigenetic Mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raghavan, Karthika; Ruskin, Heather J.; Perrin, Dimitri; Goasmat, Francois; Burns, John

    2010-01-01

    Characterization of the epigenetic profile of humans since the initial breakthrough on the human genome project has strongly established the key role of histone modifications and DNA methylation. These dynamic elements interact to determine the normal level of expression or methylation status of the constituent genes in the genome. Recently, considerable evidence has been put forward to demonstrate that environmental stress implicitly alters epigenetic patterns causing imbalance that can lead to cancer initiation. This chain of consequences has motivated attempts to computationally model the influence of histone modification and DNA methylation in gene expression and investigate their intrinsic interdependency. In this paper, we explore the relation between DNA methylation and transcription and characterize in detail the histone modifications for specific DNA methylation levels using a stochastic approach. PMID:21152421

  17. Computational micromodel for epigenetic mechanisms.

    LENUS (Irish Health Repository)

    Raghavan, Karthika

    2010-11-01

    Characterization of the epigenetic profile of humans since the initial breakthrough on the human genome project has strongly established the key role of histone modifications and DNA methylation. These dynamic elements interact to determine the normal level of expression or methylation status of the constituent genes in the genome. Recently, considerable evidence has been put forward to demonstrate that environmental stress implicitly alters epigenetic patterns causing imbalance that can lead to cancer initiation. This chain of consequences has motivated attempts to computationally model the influence of histone modification and DNA methylation in gene expression and investigate their intrinsic interdependency. In this paper, we explore the relation between DNA methylation and transcription and characterize in detail the histone modifications for specific DNA methylation levels using a stochastic approach.

  18. Delayed self-regulation and time-dependent chemical drive leads to novel states in epigenetic landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitra, Mithun K.; Taylor, Paul R.; Hutchison, Chris J.; McLeish, T. C. B.; Chakrabarti, Buddhapriya

    2014-01-01

    The epigenetic pathway of a cell as it differentiates from a stem cell state to a mature lineage-committed one has been historically understood in terms of Waddington's landscape, consisting of hills and valleys. The smooth top and valley-strewn bottom of the hill represent their undifferentiated and differentiated states, respectively. Although mathematical ideas rooted in nonlinear dynamics and bifurcation theory have been used to quantify this picture, the importance of time delays arising from multistep chemical reactions or cellular shape transformations have been ignored so far. We argue that this feature is crucial in understanding cell differentiation and explore the role of time delay in a model of a single-gene regulatory circuit. We show that the interplay of time-dependent drive and delay introduces a new regime where the system shows sustained oscillations between the two admissible steady states. We interpret these results in the light of recent perplexing experiments on inducing the pluripotent state in mouse somatic cells. We also comment on how such an oscillatory state can provide a framework for understanding more general feedback circuits in cell development. PMID:25165605

  19. Epigenetics and obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campión, Javier; Milagro, Fermin; Martínez, J Alfredo

    2010-01-01

    The etiology of obesity is multifactorial, involving complex interactions among the genetic makeup, neuroendocrine status, fetal programming, and different unhealthy environmental factors, such as sedentarism or inadequate dietary habits. Among the different mechanisms causing obesity, epigenetics, defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the DNA sequence, has emerged as a very important determinant. Experimental evidence concerning dietary factors influencing obesity development through epigenetic mechanisms has been described. Thus, identification of those individuals who present with changes in DNA methylation profiles, certain histone modifications, or other epigenetically related processes could help to predict their susceptibility to gain or lose weight. Indeed, research concerning epigenetic mechanisms affecting weight homeostasis may play a role in the prevention of excessive fat deposition, the prediction of the most appropriate weight reduction plan, and the implementation of newer therapeutic approaches. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Eating Disorders and Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thaler, Lea; Steiger, Howard

    2017-01-01

    Eating disorders (EDs) are characterized by intense preoccupation with shape and weight and maladaptive eating practices. The complex of symptoms that characterize EDs often arise through the activation of latent genetic potentials by environmental exposures, and epigenetic mechanisms are believed to link environmental exposures to gene expression. This chapter provides an overview of genetic factors acting in the etiology of EDs. It then provides a background to the hypothesis that epigenetic mechanisms link stresses such as obstetric complications and childhood abuse as well as effects of malnutrition to eating disorders (EDs). The chapter then summarizes the emerging body of literature on epigenetics and EDs-mainly studies on DNA methylation in samples of anorexia and bulimia. The available evidence base suggests that an epigenetically informed perspective contributes in valuable ways to the understanding of why people develop EDs.

  1. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle A; Hannon, Gregory J

    2005-01-01

    .... Recently, several labs have published manuscripts identifying RNA interference as being crucial for the establishment of such epigenetic changes in species as diverse as Drosophila, plants, and the fission yeast S. pombe...

  2. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle A; Hannon, Gregory J

    2004-01-01

    .... Recently, several labs have published manuscripts identifying RNA interference as being crucial for the establishment of such epigenetic changes in species as diverse as Drosophila, plants, and the fission yeast S. pombe...

  3. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle

    2003-01-01

    .... Recently, several labs have published manuscripts identifying RNA interference as being crucial for the establishment of such epigenetic changes in species as diverse as Drosphilia, plants, and the fission yeast S. pombe...

  4. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle A; Hannon, Gregory J

    2004-01-01

    .... However, this is only part of the picture. Increasingly, we are learning that epigenetic changes, that is, changes in chromatin structure, are critically important in regulating cellular gene expression...

  5. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle A; Hannon, Gregory J

    2005-01-01

    .... However, this is only part of the picture. Increasingly, we are learning that epigenetic changes, that is, changes in chromatin structure, are critically important in regulating cellular gene expression...

  6. Whole Genome Epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Carmell, Michelle

    2003-01-01

    .... However, this is only part of the picture. Increasingly, we are learning that epigenetic changes, that is, changes in chromatin structure, are critically important in regulation cellular gene expression...

  7. Distinct gene regulatory programs define the inhibitory effects of liver X receptors and PPARG on cancer cell proliferation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savic, Daniel; Ramaker, Ryne C; Roberts, Brian S; Dean, Emma C; Burwell, Todd C; Meadows, Sarah K; Cooper, Sara J; Garabedian, Michael J; Gertz, Jason; Myers, Richard M

    2016-07-11

    The liver X receptors (LXRs, NR1H2 and NR1H3) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG, NR1C3) nuclear receptor transcription factors (TFs) are master regulators of energy homeostasis. Intriguingly, recent studies suggest that these metabolic regulators also impact tumor cell proliferation. However, a comprehensive temporal molecular characterization of the LXR and PPARG gene regulatory responses in tumor cells is still lacking. To better define the underlying molecular processes governing the genetic control of cellular growth in response to extracellular metabolic signals, we performed a comprehensive, genome-wide characterization of the temporal regulatory cascades mediated by LXR and PPARG signaling in HT29 colorectal cancer cells. For this analysis, we applied a multi-tiered approach that incorporated cellular phenotypic assays, gene expression profiles, chromatin state dynamics, and nuclear receptor binding patterns. Our results illustrate that the activation of both nuclear receptors inhibited cell proliferation and further decreased glutathione levels, consistent with increased cellular oxidative stress. Despite a common metabolic reprogramming, the gene regulatory network programs initiated by these nuclear receptors were widely distinct. PPARG generated a rapid and short-term response while maintaining a gene activator role. By contrast, LXR signaling was prolonged, with initial, predominantly activating functions that transitioned to repressive gene regulatory activities at late time points. Through the use of a multi-tiered strategy that integrated various genomic datasets, our data illustrate that distinct gene regulatory programs elicit common phenotypic effects, highlighting the complexity of the genome. These results further provide a detailed molecular map of metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells through LXR and PPARG activation. As ligand-inducible TFs, these nuclear receptors can potentially serve as attractive therapeutic

  8. Epigenetics and Cellular Metabolism

    OpenAIRE

    Wenyi Xu; Fengzhong Wang; Zhongsheng Yu; Fengjiao Xin

    2016-01-01

    Living eukaryotic systems evolve delicate cellular mechanisms for responding to various environmental signals. Among them, epigenetic machinery (DNA methylation, histone modifications, microRNAs, etc.) is the hub in transducing external stimuli into transcriptional response. Emerging evidence reveals the concept that epigenetic signatures are essential for the proper maintenance of cellular metabolism. On the other hand, the metabolite, a main environmental input, can also influence the proce...

  9. Epigenetics in Prostate Cancer

    OpenAIRE

    Albany, Costantine; Alva, Ajjai S.; Aparicio, Ana M.; Singal, Rakesh; Yellapragada, Sarvari; Sonpavde, Guru; Hahn, Noah M.

    2011-01-01

    Prostate cancer (PC) is the most commonly diagnosed nonskin malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequences. Two common epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation and histone modification, have demonstrated critical roles in prostate cancer growth and metastasis. DNA hypermethylation of cytosine-guanine (CpG) rich sequ...

  10. A Meta-Analysis of Multiple Matched Copy Number and Transcriptomics Data Sets for Inferring Gene Regulatory Relationships

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newton, Richard; Wernisch, Lorenz

    2014-01-01

    Inferring gene regulatory relationships from observational data is challenging. Manipulation and intervention is often required to unravel causal relationships unambiguously. However, gene copy number changes, as they frequently occur in cancer cells, might be considered natural manipulation experiments on gene expression. An increasing number of data sets on matched array comparative genomic hybridisation and transcriptomics experiments from a variety of cancer pathologies are becoming publicly available. Here we explore the potential of a meta-analysis of thirty such data sets. The aim of our analysis was to assess the potential of in silico inference of trans-acting gene regulatory relationships from this type of data. We found sufficient correlation signal in the data to infer gene regulatory relationships, with interesting similarities between data sets. A number of genes had highly correlated copy number and expression changes in many of the data sets and we present predicted potential trans-acted regulatory relationships for each of these genes. The study also investigates to what extent heterogeneity between cell types and between pathologies determines the number of statistically significant predictions available from a meta-analysis of experiments. PMID:25148247

  11. Epigenetic regulation in obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drummond, Elaine M; Gibney, Eileen R

    2013-07-01

    Research suggests that 65% of variation in obesity is genetic. However, much of the known genetic associations have little known function and their effect size small, thus the gene-environment interaction, including epigenetic influences on gene expression, is suggested to be an important factor in the susceptibilty to obesity. This review will explore the potential of epigenetic markers to influence expression of genes associated with obesity. Epigenetic changes in utero are known to have direct implications on the phenotype of the offspring. More recently work has focused on how such epigenetic changes continue to regulate risk of obesity from infancy through to adulthood. Work has shown that, for example, hypomethylation of the MC4 gene causes an increase in expression, and has a direct impact on appetite and intake, and thus influences risk of obesity. Similar influences are also seen in other aspects of obesity including inflammation and adiposity. Maternal diet during foetal development has many epigenetic implications, which affect the offspring's risk factors for obesity during childhood and adulthood, and even in subsequent generations. Genes associated with risk of obesity, are susceptible to epigenetic mutations, which have subsequent effects on disease mechanisms, such as appetite and impaired glucose and insulin tolerance.

  12. A new asynchronous parallel algorithm for inferring large-scale gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiangyun Xiao

    Full Text Available The reconstruction of gene regulatory networks (GRNs from high-throughput experimental data has been considered one of the most important issues in systems biology research. With the development of high-throughput technology and the complexity of biological problems, we need to reconstruct GRNs that contain thousands of genes. However, when many existing algorithms are used to handle these large-scale problems, they will encounter two important issues: low accuracy and high computational cost. To overcome these difficulties, the main goal of this study is to design an effective parallel algorithm to infer large-scale GRNs based on high-performance parallel computing environments. In this study, we proposed a novel asynchronous parallel framework to improve the accuracy and lower the time complexity of large-scale GRN inference by combining splitting technology and ordinary differential equation (ODE-based optimization. The presented algorithm uses the sparsity and modularity of GRNs to split whole large-scale GRNs into many small-scale modular subnetworks. Through the ODE-based optimization of all subnetworks in parallel and their asynchronous communications, we can easily obtain the parameters of the whole network. To test the performance of the proposed approach, we used well-known benchmark datasets from Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods challenge (DREAM, experimentally determined GRN of Escherichia coli and one published dataset that contains more than 10 thousand genes to compare the proposed approach with several popular algorithms on the same high-performance computing environments in terms of both accuracy and time complexity. The numerical results demonstrate that our parallel algorithm exhibits obvious superiority in inferring large-scale GRNs.

  13. Potential energy landscape and robustness of a gene regulatory network: toggle switch.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keun-Young Kim

    2007-03-01

    Full Text Available Finding a multidimensional potential landscape is the key for addressing important global issues, such as the robustness of cellular networks. We have uncovered the underlying potential energy landscape of a simple gene regulatory network: a toggle switch. This was realized by explicitly constructing the steady state probability of the gene switch in the protein concentration space in the presence of the intrinsic statistical fluctuations due to the small number of proteins in the cell. We explored the global phase space for the system. We found that the protein synthesis rate and the unbinding rate of proteins to the gene were small relative to the protein degradation rate; the gene switch is monostable with only one stable basin of attraction. When both the protein synthesis rate and the unbinding rate of proteins to the gene are large compared with the protein degradation rate, two global basins of attraction emerge for a toggle switch. These basins correspond to the biologically stable functional states. The potential energy barrier between the two basins determines the time scale of conversion from one to the other. We found as the protein synthesis rate and protein unbinding rate to the gene relative to the protein degradation rate became larger, the potential energy barrier became larger. This also corresponded to systems with less noise or the fluctuations on the protein numbers. It leads to the robustness of the biological basins of the gene switches. The technique used here is general and can be applied to explore the potential energy landscape of the gene networks.

  14. Multiple Linear Regression for Reconstruction of Gene Regulatory Networks in Solving Cascade Error Problems

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    Faridah Hani Mohamed Salleh

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Gene regulatory network (GRN reconstruction is the process of identifying regulatory gene interactions from experimental data through computational analysis. One of the main reasons for the reduced performance of previous GRN methods had been inaccurate prediction of cascade motifs. Cascade error is defined as the wrong prediction of cascade motifs, where an indirect interaction is misinterpreted as a direct interaction. Despite the active research on various GRN prediction methods, the discussion on specific methods to solve problems related to cascade errors is still lacking. In fact, the experiments conducted by the past studies were not specifically geared towards proving the ability of GRN prediction methods in avoiding the occurrences of cascade errors. Hence, this research aims to propose Multiple Linear Regression (MLR to infer GRN from gene expression data and to avoid wrongly inferring of an indirect interaction (A → B → C as a direct interaction (A → C. Since the number of observations of the real experiment datasets was far less than the number of predictors, some predictors were eliminated by extracting the random subnetworks from global interaction networks via an established extraction method. In addition, the experiment was extended to assess the effectiveness of MLR in dealing with cascade error by using a novel experimental procedure that had been proposed in this work. The experiment revealed that the number of cascade errors had been very minimal. Apart from that, the Belsley collinearity test proved that multicollinearity did affect the datasets used in this experiment greatly. All the tested subnetworks obtained satisfactory results, with AUROC values above 0.5.

  15. Harnessing diversity towards the reconstructing of large scale gene regulatory networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takeshi Hase

    Full Text Available Elucidating gene regulatory network (GRN from large scale experimental data remains a central challenge in systems biology. Recently, numerous techniques, particularly consensus driven approaches combining different algorithms, have become a potentially promising strategy to infer accurate GRNs. Here, we develop a novel consensus inference algorithm, TopkNet that can integrate multiple algorithms to infer GRNs. Comprehensive performance benchmarking on a cloud computing framework demonstrated that (i a simple strategy to combine many algorithms does not always lead to performance improvement compared to the cost of consensus and (ii TopkNet integrating only high-performance algorithms provide significant performance improvement compared to the best individual algorithms and community prediction. These results suggest that a priori determination of high-performance algorithms is a key to reconstruct an unknown regulatory network. Similarity among gene-expression datasets can be useful to determine potential optimal algorithms for reconstruction of unknown regulatory networks, i.e., if expression-data associated with known regulatory network is similar to that with unknown regulatory network, optimal algorithms determined for the known regulatory network can be repurposed to infer the unknown regulatory network. Based on this observation, we developed a quantitative measure of similarity among gene-expression datasets and demonstrated that, if similarity between the two expression datasets is high, TopkNet integrating algorithms that are optimal for known dataset perform well on the unknown dataset. The consensus framework, TopkNet, together with the similarity measure proposed in this study provides a powerful strategy towards harnessing the wisdom of the crowds in reconstruction of unknown regulatory networks.

  16. Multiple Linear Regression for Reconstruction of Gene Regulatory Networks in Solving Cascade Error Problems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salleh, Faridah Hani Mohamed; Zainudin, Suhaila; Arif, Shereena M

    2017-01-01

    Gene regulatory network (GRN) reconstruction is the process of identifying regulatory gene interactions from experimental data through computational analysis. One of the main reasons for the reduced performance of previous GRN methods had been inaccurate prediction of cascade motifs. Cascade error is defined as the wrong prediction of cascade motifs, where an indirect interaction is misinterpreted as a direct interaction. Despite the active research on various GRN prediction methods, the discussion on specific methods to solve problems related to cascade errors is still lacking. In fact, the experiments conducted by the past studies were not specifically geared towards proving the ability of GRN prediction methods in avoiding the occurrences of cascade errors. Hence, this research aims to propose Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) to infer GRN from gene expression data and to avoid wrongly inferring of an indirect interaction (A → B → C) as a direct interaction (A → C). Since the number of observations of the real experiment datasets was far less than the number of predictors, some predictors were eliminated by extracting the random subnetworks from global interaction networks via an established extraction method. In addition, the experiment was extended to assess the effectiveness of MLR in dealing with cascade error by using a novel experimental procedure that had been proposed in this work. The experiment revealed that the number of cascade errors had been very minimal. Apart from that, the Belsley collinearity test proved that multicollinearity did affect the datasets used in this experiment greatly. All the tested subnetworks obtained satisfactory results, with AUROC values above 0.5.

  17. Sub-circuits of a gene regulatory network control a developmental epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saunders, Lindsay R; McClay, David R

    2014-04-01

    Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a fundamental cell state change that transforms epithelial to mesenchymal cells during embryonic development, adult tissue repair and cancer metastasis. EMT includes a complex series of intermediate cell state changes including remodeling of the basement membrane, apical constriction, epithelial de-adhesion, directed motility, loss of apical-basal polarity, and acquisition of mesenchymal adhesion and polarity. Transcriptional regulatory state changes must ultimately coordinate the timing and execution of these cell biological processes. A well-characterized gene regulatory network (GRN) in the sea urchin embryo was used to identify the transcription factors that control five distinct cell changes during EMT. Single transcription factors were perturbed and the consequences followed with in vivo time-lapse imaging or immunostaining assays. The data show that five different sub-circuits of the GRN control five distinct cell biological activities, each part of the complex EMT process. Thirteen transcription factors (TFs) expressed specifically in pre-EMT cells were required for EMT. Three TFs highest in the GRN specified and activated EMT (alx1, ets1, tbr) and the 10 TFs downstream of those (tel, erg, hex, tgif, snail, twist, foxn2/3, dri, foxb, foxo) were also required for EMT. No single TF functioned in all five sub-circuits, indicating that there is no EMT master regulator. Instead, the resulting sub-circuit topologies suggest EMT requires multiple simultaneous regulatory mechanisms: forward cascades, parallel inputs and positive-feedback lock downs. The interconnected and overlapping nature of the sub-circuits provides one explanation for the seamless orchestration by the embryo of cell state changes leading to successful EMT.

  18. A new asynchronous parallel algorithm for inferring large-scale gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Xiangyun; Zhang, Wei; Zou, Xiufen

    2015-01-01

    The reconstruction of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from high-throughput experimental data has been considered one of the most important issues in systems biology research. With the development of high-throughput technology and the complexity of biological problems, we need to reconstruct GRNs that contain thousands of genes. However, when many existing algorithms are used to handle these large-scale problems, they will encounter two important issues: low accuracy and high computational cost. To overcome these difficulties, the main goal of this study is to design an effective parallel algorithm to infer large-scale GRNs based on high-performance parallel computing environments. In this study, we proposed a novel asynchronous parallel framework to improve the accuracy and lower the time complexity of large-scale GRN inference by combining splitting technology and ordinary differential equation (ODE)-based optimization. The presented algorithm uses the sparsity and modularity of GRNs to split whole large-scale GRNs into many small-scale modular subnetworks. Through the ODE-based optimization of all subnetworks in parallel and their asynchronous communications, we can easily obtain the parameters of the whole network. To test the performance of the proposed approach, we used well-known benchmark datasets from Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods challenge (DREAM), experimentally determined GRN of Escherichia coli and one published dataset that contains more than 10 thousand genes to compare the proposed approach with several popular algorithms on the same high-performance computing environments in terms of both accuracy and time complexity. The numerical results demonstrate that our parallel algorithm exhibits obvious superiority in inferring large-scale GRNs.

  19. NIMEFI: gene regulatory network inference using multiple ensemble feature importance algorithms.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joeri Ruyssinck

    Full Text Available One of the long-standing open challenges in computational systems biology is the topology inference of gene regulatory networks from high-throughput omics data. Recently, two community-wide efforts, DREAM4 and DREAM5, have been established to benchmark network inference techniques using gene expression measurements. In these challenges the overall top performer was the GENIE3 algorithm. This method decomposes the network inference task into separate regression problems for each gene in the network in which the expression values of a particular target gene are predicted using all other genes as possible predictors. Next, using tree-based ensemble methods, an importance measure for each predictor gene is calculated with respect to the target gene and a high feature importance is considered as putative evidence of a regulatory link existing between both genes. The contribution of this work is twofold. First, we generalize the regression decomposition strategy of GENIE3 to other feature importance methods. We compare the performance of support vector regression, the elastic net, random forest regression, symbolic regression and their ensemble variants in this setting to the original GENIE3 algorithm. To create the ensemble variants, we propose a subsampling approach which allows us to cast any feature selection algorithm that produces a feature ranking into an ensemble feature importance algorithm. We demonstrate that the ensemble setting is key to the network inference task, as only ensemble variants achieve top performance. As second contribution, we explore the effect of using rankwise averaged predictions of multiple ensemble algorithms as opposed to only one. We name this approach NIMEFI (Network Inference using Multiple Ensemble Feature Importance algorithms and show that this approach outperforms all individual methods in general, although on a specific network a single method can perform better. An implementation of NIMEFI has been made

  20. Epigenetic predictor of age.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sven Bocklandt

    Full Text Available From the moment of conception, we begin to age. A decay of cellular structures, gene regulation, and DNA sequence ages cells and organisms. DNA methylation patterns change with increasing age and contribute to age related disease. Here we identify 88 sites in or near 80 genes for which the degree of cytosine methylation is significantly correlated with age in saliva of 34 male identical twin pairs between 21 and 55 years of age. Furthermore, we validated sites in the promoters of three genes and replicated our results in a general population sample of 31 males and 29 females between 18 and 70 years of age. The methylation of three sites--in the promoters of the EDARADD, TOM1L1, and NPTX2 genes--is linear with age over a range of five decades. Using just two cytosines from these loci, we built a regression model that explained 73% of the variance in age, and is able to predict the age of an individual with an average accuracy of 5.2 years. In forensic science, such a model could estimate the age of a person, based on a biological sample alone. Furthermore, a measurement of relevant sites in the genome could be a tool in routine medical screening to predict the risk of age-related diseases and to tailor interventions based on the epigenetic bio-age instead of the chronological age.

  1. A systems biology approach to construct the gene regulatory network of systemic inflammation via microarray and databases mining

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lan Chung-Yu

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Inflammation is a hallmark of many human diseases. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying systemic inflammation has long been an important topic in basic and clinical research. When primary pathogenetic events remains unclear due to its immense complexity, construction and analysis of the gene regulatory network of inflammation at times becomes the best way to understand the detrimental effects of disease. However, it is difficult to recognize and evaluate relevant biological processes from the huge quantities of experimental data. It is hence appealing to find an algorithm which can generate a gene regulatory network of systemic inflammation from high-throughput genomic studies of human diseases. Such network will be essential for us to extract valuable information from the complex and chaotic network under diseased conditions. Results In this study, we construct a gene regulatory network of inflammation using data extracted from the Ensembl and JASPAR databases. We also integrate and apply a number of systematic algorithms like cross correlation threshold, maximum likelihood estimation method and Akaike Information Criterion (AIC on time-lapsed microarray data to refine the genome-wide transcriptional regulatory network in response to bacterial endotoxins in the context of dynamic activated genes, which are regulated by transcription factors (TFs such as NF-κB. This systematic approach is used to investigate the stochastic interaction represented by the dynamic leukocyte gene expression profiles of human subject exposed to an inflammatory stimulus (bacterial endotoxin. Based on the kinetic parameters of the dynamic gene regulatory network, we identify important properties (such as susceptibility to infection of the immune system, which may be useful for translational research. Finally, robustness of the inflammatory gene network is also inferred by analyzing the hubs and "weak ties" structures of the gene network

  2. 2009 Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference (August 9 - 14, 2009)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeanie Lee

    2009-08-14

    Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in genome function that occur without a change in primary DNA sequence. The 2009 Gordon Conference in Epigenetics will feature discussion of various epigenetic phenomena, emerging understanding of their underlying mechanisms, and the growing appreciation that human, animal, and plant health all depend on proper epigenetic control. Special emphasis will be placed on genome-environment interactions particularly as they relate to human disease. Towards improving knowledge of molecular mechanisms, the conference will feature international leaders studying the roles of higher order chromatin structure, noncoding RNA, repeat elements, nuclear organization, and morphogenic evolution. Traditional and new model organisms are selected from plants, fungi, and metazoans.

  3. Epigenetic characterization of the FMR1 gene and aberrant neurodevelopment in human induced pluripotent stem cell models of fragile X syndrome.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven D Sheridan

    Full Text Available Fragile X syndrome (FXS is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. In addition to cognitive deficits, FXS patients exhibit hyperactivity, attention deficits, social difficulties, anxiety, and other autistic-like behaviors. FXS is caused by an expanded CGG trinucleotide repeat in the 5' untranslated region of the Fragile X Mental Retardation (FMR1 gene leading to epigenetic silencing and loss of expression of the Fragile X Mental Retardation protein (FMRP. Despite the known relationship between FMR1 CGG repeat expansion and FMR1 silencing, the epigenetic modifications observed at the FMR1 locus, and the consequences of the loss of FMRP on human neurodevelopment and neuronal function remain poorly understood. To address these limitations, we report on the generation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC lines from multiple patients with FXS and the characterization of their differentiation into post-mitotic neurons and glia. We show that clones from reprogrammed FXS patient fibroblast lines exhibit variation with respect to the predominant CGG-repeat length in the FMR1 gene. In two cases, iPSC clones contained predominant CGG-repeat lengths shorter than measured in corresponding input population of fibroblasts. In another instance, reprogramming a mosaic patient having both normal and pre-mutation length CGG repeats resulted in genetically matched iPSC clonal lines differing in FMR1 promoter CpG methylation and FMRP expression. Using this panel of patient-specific, FXS iPSC models, we demonstrate aberrant neuronal differentiation from FXS iPSCs that is directly correlated with epigenetic modification of the FMR1 gene and a loss of FMRP expression. Overall, these findings provide evidence for a key role for FMRP early in human neurodevelopment prior to synaptogenesis and have implications for modeling of FXS using iPSC technology. By revealing disease-associated cellular phenotypes in human neurons, these iPSC models will aid

  4. The molecular and mathematical basis of Waddington's epigenetic landscape: a framework for post-Darwinian biology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Sui

    2012-02-01

    The Neo-Darwinian concept of natural selection is plausible when one assumes a straightforward causation of phenotype by genotype. However, such simple 1:1 mapping must now give place to the modern concepts of gene regulatory networks and gene expression noise. Both can, in the absence of genetic mutations, jointly generate a diversity of inheritable randomly occupied phenotypic states that could also serve as a substrate for natural selection. This form of epigenetic dynamics challenges Neo-Darwinism. It needs to incorporate the non-linear, stochastic dynamics of gene networks. A first step is to consider the mathematical correspondence between gene regulatory networks and Waddington's metaphoric 'epigenetic landscape', which actually represents the quasi-potential function of global network dynamics. It explains the coexistence of multiple stable phenotypes within one genotype. The landscape's topography with its attractors is shaped by evolution through mutational re-wiring of regulatory interactions - offering a link between genetic mutation and sudden, broad evolutionary changes. Copyright © 2012 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Epigenetics of Obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopomo, A; Burgio, E; Migliore, L

    2016-01-01

    Obesity is a metabolic disease, which is becoming an epidemic health problem: it has been recently defined in terms of Global Pandemic. Over the years, the approaches through family, twins and adoption studies led to the identification of some causal genes in monogenic forms of obesity but the origins of the pandemic of obesity cannot be considered essentially due to genetic factors, because human genome is not likely to change in just a few years. Epigenetic studies have offered in recent years valuable tools for the understanding of the worldwide spread of the pandemic of obesity. The involvement of epigenetic modifications-DNA methylation, histone tails, and miRNAs modifications-in the development of obesity is more and more evident. In the epigenetic literature, there are evidences that the entire embryo-fetal and perinatal period of development plays a key role in the programming of all human organs and tissues. Therefore, the molecular mechanisms involved in the epigenetic programming require a new and general pathogenic paradigm, the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease theory, to explain the current epidemiological transition, that is, the worldwide increase of chronic, degenerative, and inflammatory diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Obesity and its related complications are more and more associated with environmental pollutants (obesogens), gut microbiota modifications and unbalanced food intake, which can induce, through epigenetic mechanisms, weight gain, and altered metabolic consequences. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. The physics of epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cortini, Ruggero; Barbi, Maria; Caré, Bertrand R.; Lavelle, Christophe; Lesne, Annick; Mozziconacci, Julien; Victor, Jean-Marc

    2016-04-01

    In higher organisms, all cells share the same genome, but every cell expresses only a limited and specific set of genes that defines the cell type. During cell division, not only the genome, but also the cell type is inherited by the daughter cells. This intriguing phenomenon is achieved by a variety of processes that have been collectively termed epigenetics: the stable and inheritable changes in gene expression patterns. This article reviews the extremely rich and exquisitely multiscale physical mechanisms that govern the biological processes behind the initiation, spreading, and inheritance of epigenetic states. These include not only the changes in the molecular properties associated with the chemical modifications of DNA and histone proteins, such as methylation and acetylation, but also less conventional changes, typically in the physics that governs the three-dimensional organization of the genome in cell nuclei. Strikingly, to achieve stability and heritability of epigenetic states, cells take advantage of many different physical principles, such as the universal behavior of polymers and copolymers, the general features of dynamical systems, and the electrostatic and mechanical properties related to chemical modifications of DNA and histones. By putting the complex biological literature in this new light, the emerging picture is that a limited set of general physical rules play a key role in initiating, shaping, and transmitting this crucial "epigenetic landscape." This new perspective not only allows one to rationalize the normal cellular functions, but also helps to understand the emergence of pathological states, in which the epigenetic landscape becomes dysfunctional.

  7. Human Retrotransposon Insertion Polymorphisms Are Associated with Health and Disease via Gene Regulatory Phenotypes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wang

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The human genome hosts several active families of transposable elements (TEs, including the Alu, LINE-1, and SVA retrotransposons that are mobilized via reverse transcription of RNA intermediates. We evaluated how insertion polymorphisms generated by human retrotransposon activity may be related to common health and disease phenotypes that have been previously interrogated through genome-wide association studies (GWAS. To address this question, we performed a genome-wide screen for retrotransposon polymorphism disease associations that are linked to TE induced gene regulatory changes. Our screen first identified polymorphic retrotransposon insertions found in linkage disequilibrium (LD with single nucleotide polymorphisms that were previously associated with common complex diseases by GWAS. We further narrowed this set of candidate disease associated retrotransposon polymorphisms by identifying insertions that are located within tissue-specific enhancer elements. We then performed expression quantitative trait loci analysis on the remaining set of candidates in order to identify polymorphic retrotransposon insertions that are associated with gene expression changes in B-cells of the human immune system. This progressive and stringent screen yielded a list of six retrotransposon insertions as the strongest candidates for TE polymorphisms that lead to disease via enhancer-mediated changes in gene regulation. For example, we found an SVA insertion within a cell-type specific enhancer located in the second intron of the B4GALT1 gene. B4GALT1 encodes a glycosyltransferase that functions in the glycosylation of the Immunoglobulin G (IgG antibody in such a way as to convert its activity from pro- to anti-inflammatory. The disruption of the B4GALT1 enhancer by the SVA insertion is associated with down-regulation of the gene in B-cells, which would serve to keep the IgG molecule in a pro-inflammatory state. Consistent with this idea, the B4GALT1 enhancer

  8. Epigenetics and assisted reproductive technologies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pinborg, Anja; Loft, Anne; Romundstad, Liv Bente

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic modification controls gene activity without changes in the DNA sequence. The genome undergoes several phases of epigenetic programming during gametogenesis and early embryo development coinciding with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) treatments. Imprinting disorders have been...

  9. Epigenetics and lifestyle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alegría-Torres, Jorge Alejandro; Baccarelli, Andrea; Bollati, Valentina

    2011-06-01

    The concept of 'lifestyle' includes different factors such as nutrition, behavior, stress, physical activity, working habits, smoking and alcohol consumption. Increasing evidence shows that environmental and lifestyle factors may influence epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone acetylation and miRNA expression. It has been identified that several lifestyle factors such as diet, obesity, physical activity, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental pollutants, psychological stress and working on night shifts might modify epigenetic patterns. Most of the studies conducted so far have been centered on DNA methylation, whereas only a few investigations have studied lifestyle factors in relation to histone modifications and miRNAs. This article reviews current evidence indicating that lifestyle factors might affect human health via epigenetic mechanisms.

  10. Epigenetics in prostate cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albany, Costantine; Alva, Ajjai S; Aparicio, Ana M; Singal, Rakesh; Yellapragada, Sarvari; Sonpavde, Guru; Hahn, Noah M

    2011-01-01

    Prostate cancer (PC) is the most commonly diagnosed nonskin malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequences. Two common epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation and histone modification, have demonstrated critical roles in prostate cancer growth and metastasis. DNA hypermethylation of cytosine-guanine (CpG) rich sequence islands within gene promoter regions is widespread during neoplastic transformation of prostate cells, suggesting that treatment-induced restoration of a "normal" epigenome could be clinically beneficial. Histone modification leads to altered tumor gene function by changing chromosome structure and the level of gene transcription. The reversibility of epigenetic aberrations and restoration of tumor suppression gene function have made them attractive targets for prostate cancer treatment with modulators that demethylate DNA and inhibit histone deacetylases.

  11. Epigenetics in Prostate Cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Costantine Albany

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Prostate cancer (PC is the most commonly diagnosed nonskin malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequences. Two common epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation and histone modification, have demonstrated critical roles in prostate cancer growth and metastasis. DNA hypermethylation of cytosine-guanine (CpG rich sequence islands within gene promoter regions is widespread during neoplastic transformation of prostate cells, suggesting that treatment-induced restoration of a “normal” epigenome could be clinically beneficial. Histone modification leads to altered tumor gene function by changing chromosome structure and the level of gene transcription. The reversibility of epigenetic aberrations and restoration of tumor suppression gene function have made them attractive targets for prostate cancer treatment with modulators that demethylate DNA and inhibit histone deacetylases.

  12. Computer-Aided Drug Design in Epigenetics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wenchao Lu

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic dysfunction has been widely implicated in several diseases especially cancers thus highlights the therapeutic potential for chemical interventions in this field. With rapid development of computational methodologies and high-performance computational resources, computer-aided drug design has emerged as a promising strategy to speed up epigenetic drug discovery. Herein, we make a brief overview of major computational methods reported in the literature including druggability prediction, virtual screening, homology modeling, scaffold hopping, pharmacophore modeling, molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry calculation, and 3D quantitative structure activity relationship that have been successfully applied in the design and discovery of epi-drugs and epi-probes. Finally, we discuss about major limitations of current virtual drug design strategies in epigenetics drug discovery and future directions in this field.

  13. Computer-Aided Drug Design in Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Wenchao; Zhang, Rukang; Jiang, Hao; Zhang, Huimin; Luo, Cheng

    2018-01-01

    Epigenetic dysfunction has been widely implicated in several diseases especially cancers thus highlights the therapeutic potential for chemical interventions in this field. With rapid development of computational methodologies and high-performance computational resources, computer-aided drug design has emerged as a promising strategy to speed up epigenetic drug discovery. Herein, we make a brief overview of major computational methods reported in the literature including druggability prediction, virtual screening, homology modeling, scaffold hopping, pharmacophore modeling, molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry calculation, and 3D quantitative structure activity relationship that have been successfully applied in the design and discovery of epi-drugs and epi-probes. Finally, we discuss about major limitations of current virtual drug design strategies in epigenetics drug discovery and future directions in this field. PMID:29594101

  14. Computer-Aided Drug Design in Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Wenchao; Zhang, Rukang; Jiang, Hao; Zhang, Huimin; Luo, Cheng

    2018-03-01

    Epigenetic dysfunction has been widely implicated in several diseases especially cancers thus highlights the therapeutic potential for chemical interventions in this field. With rapid development of computational methodologies and high-performance computational resources, computer-aided drug design has emerged as a promising strategy to speed up epigenetic drug discovery. Herein, we make a brief overview of major computational methods reported in the literature including druggability prediction, virtual screening, homology modeling, scaffold hopping, pharmacophore modeling, molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry calculation and 3D quantitative structure activity relationship that have been successfully applied in the design and discovery of epi-drugs and epi-probes. Finally, we discuss about major limitations of current virtual drug design strategies in epigenetics drug discovery and future directions in this field.

  15. Epigenetic Therapy in Lung Cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen V Liu

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic dysregulation of gene function has been strongly implicated in carcinogenesis and is one of the mechanisms contributing to the development of lung cancer. The inherent reversibility of epigenetic alterations makes them viable therapeutic targets. Here, we review the therapeutic implications of epigenetic changes in lung cancer, and recent advances in therapeutic strategies targeting DNA methylation and histone acetylation.

  16. Epigenetics in plant tissue culture

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smulders, M.J.M.; Klerk, de G.J.M.

    2011-01-01

    Plants produced vegetatively in tissue culture may differ from the plants from which they have been derived. Two major classes of off-types occur: genetic ones and epigenetic ones. This review is about epigenetic aberrations. We discuss recent studies that have uncovered epigenetic modifications at

  17. Oct4 Methylation-Mediated Silencing As an Epigenetic Barrier Preventing Müller Glia Dedifferentiation in a Murine Model of Retinal Injury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes-Aguirre, Luis I; Lamas, Monica

    2016-01-01

    Müller glia (MG) is the most abundant glial type in the vertebrate retina. Among its many functions, it is capable of responding to injury by dedifferentiating, proliferating, and differentiating into every cell types lost to damage. This regenerative ability is notoriously absent in mammals. We have previously reported that cultured mammalian MG undergoes a partial dedifferentiation, but fails to fully acquire a progenitor phenotype and differentiate into neurons. This might be explained by a mnemonic mechanism comprised by epigenetic traits, such as DNA methylation. To achieve a better understanding of this epigenetic memory, we studied the expression of pluripotency-associated genes, such as Oct4, Nanog , and Lin28 , which have been reported as necessary for regeneration in fish, at early times after NMDA-induced retinal injury in a mouse experimental model. We found that although Oct4 is expressed rapidly after damage (4 hpi), it is silenced at 24 hpi. This correlates with a significant decrease in the DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3b expression, which returns to basal levels at 24 hpi. By MS-PCR, we observed a decrease in Oct4 methylation levels at 4 and 12 hpi, before returning to a fully methylated state at 24 hpi. To demonstrate that these changes are restricted to MG, we separated these cells using a GLAST antibody coupled with magnetic beads. Finally, intravitreous administration of the DNA-methyltransferase inhibitor SGI-1027 induced Oct4 expression at 24 hpi in MG. Our results suggest that mammalian MG injury-induced dedifferentiation could be restricted by DNA methylation, which rapidly silences Oct4 expression, preventing multipotency acquisition.

  18. Epigenetics and maternal nutrition: nature v. nurture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simmons, Rebecca

    2011-02-01

    Under- and over-nutrition during pregnancy has been linked to the later development of diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Epigenetic modifications may be one mechanism by which exposure to an altered intrauterine milieu or metabolic perturbation may influence the phenotype of the organism much later in life. Epigenetic modifications of the genome provide a mechanism that allows the stable propagation of gene expression from one generation of cells to the next. This review highlights our current knowledge of epigenetic gene regulation and the evidence that chromatin remodelling and histone modifications play key roles in adipogenesis and the development of obesity. Epigenetic modifications affecting processes important to glucose regulation and insulin secretion have been described in the pancreatic β-cells and muscle of the intrauterine growth-retarded offspring, characteristics essential to the pathophysiology of type-2 diabetes. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression contributes to both adipocyte determination and differentiation in in vitro models. The contributions of histone acetylation, histone methylation and DNA methylation to the process of adipogenesis in vivo remain to be evaluated.

  19. Nature, Nurture and Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crews, David; Gillette, Ross; Miller-Crews, Isaac; Gore, Andrea C.; Skinner, Michael K.

    2015-01-01

    Real life by definition combines heritability (e.g., the legacy of exposures) and experience (e.g. stress during sensitive or ‘critical’ periods), but how to study or even model this interaction has proven difficult. The hoary concept of evaluating traits according to nature vs. nurture continues to persist despite repeated demonstrations that it retards, rather than advances, our understanding of biological processes. Behavioral genetics has proven the obvious, that genes influences behavior and, vice versa, that behavior influences genes. The concept of Genes X Environment (G X E) and its modern variants was viewed as an improvement on nature-nurture but has proven that, except in rare instances, it is not possible to fractionate phenotypes into these constituent elements. The entanglement inherent in terms such as nature-nurture or GXE is a Gordian knot that cannot be dissected or even split. Given that the world today is not what it was less than a century ago, yet the arbitrator (differential survival and reproduction) has stayed constant, de novo principles and practices are needed to better predict what the future holds. Put simply, the transformation that is now occurring within and between individuals as a product of global endocrine disruption is quite independent of what has been regarded as evolution by selection. This new perspective should focus on how epigenetic modifications might revise approaches to understand how the phenotype and, in particular its components, is shaped. In this review we summarize the literature in this developing area, focusing on our research on the fungicide vinclozolin. PMID:25102229

  20. Nature, nurture and epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crews, David; Gillette, Ross; Miller-Crews, Isaac; Gore, Andrea C; Skinner, Michael K

    2014-12-01

    Real life by definition combines heritability (e.g., the legacy of exposures) and experience (e.g. stress during sensitive or 'critical' periods), but how to study or even model this interaction has proven difficult. The hoary concept of evaluating traits according to nature versus nurture continues to persist despite repeated demonstrations that it retards, rather than advances, our understanding of biological processes. Behavioral genetics has proven the obvious, that genes influence behavior and, vice versa, that behavior influences genes. The concept of Genes X Environment (G X E) and its modern variants was viewed as an improvement on nature-nurture but has proven that, except in rare instances, it is not possible to fractionate phenotypes into these constituent elements. The entanglement inherent in terms such as nature-nurture or G X E is a Gordian knot that cannot be dissected or even split. Given that the world today is not what it was less than a century ago, yet the arbitrator (differential survival and reproduction) has stayed constant, de novo principles and practices are needed to better predict what the future holds. Put simply, the transformation that is now occurring within and between individuals as a product of global endocrine disruption is quite independent of what has been regarded as evolution by selection. This new perspective should focus on how epigenetic modifications might revise approaches to understand how the phenotype and, in particular its components, is shaped. In this review we summarize the literature in this developing area, focusing on our research on the fungicide vinclozolin. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Epigenetic modulators of monocytic function: implication for steady state and disease in the CNS .

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Nina Papavasiliou

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic alterations are necessary for the establishment of functional and phenotypic diversity in populations of immune cells of the monocytic lineage. The epigenetic status of individual genes at different time points defines their transcriptional responses throughout development and in response to environmental stimuli. Epigenetic states are defined at the level of DNA modifications, chromatin modifications, as well as at the level of RNA base changes through RNA editing. Drawing from lessons regarding the epigenome and epitranscriptome of cells of the monocytic lineage in the periphery, and from recently published RNAseq data deriving from brain-resident monocytes, we discuss the impact of modulation of these epigenetic states and how they affect processes important for the development of a healthy brain, as well as mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease and aging. An understanding of the varied brain responses and pathologies in light of these novel gene regulatory systems in monocytes will lead to important new insights in the understanding of the aging process and the treatment and diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease.

  2. Epigenetics and Colorectal Cancer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lao, Victoria Valinluck; Grady, William M.

    2012-01-01

    Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. It results from an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes in colon epithelial cells that transforms them into adenocarcinomas. There have been major advances in our understanding of cancer epigenetics over the last decade, particularly regarding aberrant DNA methylation. Assessment of the colon cancer epigenome has revealed that virtually all colorectal cancers have aberrantly methylated genes and the average colorectal cancer methylome has hundreds to thousands of abnormally methylated genes. As with gene mutations in the cancer genome, a subset of these methylated genes, called driver genes, is presumed to play a functional role in colorectal cancer. The assessment of methylated genes in colorectal cancers has also revealed a unique molecular subgroup of colorectal cancers called CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (CIMP) cancers; these tumors have a particularly high frequency of methylated genes. The advances in our understanding of aberrant methylation in colorectal cancer has led to epigenetic alterations being developed as clinical biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic applications. Progress in the assessment of epigenetic alterations in colorectal cancer and their clinical applications has shown that these alterations will be commonly used in the near future as molecular markers to direct the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. PMID:22009203

  3. Evolution, epigenetics and cooperation

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Explanations for biological evolution in terms of changes in gene frequencies refer to outcomes rather than process. Integrating epigenetic studies with older evolutionary theories has drawn attention to the ways in which evolution occurs. Adaptation at the level of the gene is givingway to adaptation at the level of the ...

  4. Epigenetic changes in myelofibrosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Helene Myrtue; Andersen, Christen Lykkegaard; Westman, Maj

    2017-01-01

    , in 'inflammatory disease' in MF mononuclear cells, and in 'immunological diseases' in MF granulocytes. Only few differentially methylated CpG sites were common among the three cell populations. Mutations in the epigenetic regulators ASXL1 (47%) and TET2 (20%) were not associated with a specific DNA methylation...

  5. The epigenetics of obesity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maternal nutrition at the time of conception and during pregnancy is considered a factor for individual differences in having obesity. The mechanisms underlying this association are likely partially epigenetic in nature, but pinning down the exact nature, location, and timing of these changes remain...

  6. Epigenetic drift in the aging genome

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tan, Qihua; Heijmans, Bastiaan T; Hjelmborg, Jacob V B

    2016-01-01

    for 10 years (age at intake 73-82 years). Biological pathway analysis and survival analysis were also conducted on CpGs showing longitudinal change in their DNA-methylation levels. Classical twin models were fitted to each CpG site to estimate the genetic and environmental effects on DNA...... × 10-07. Pathway analysis of genes linked to these CpGs identified biologically meaningful gene-sets involved in cellular-signalling events and in transmission across chemical synapses, which are important molecular underpinnings of aging-related degenerative disorders. CONCLUSION: Our epigenome......BACKGROUND: Current epigenetic studies on aging are dominated by the cross-sectional design that correlates subjects' ages or age groups with their measured epigenetic profiles. Such studies have been more aimed at age prediction or building up the epigenetic clock of age rather than focusing...

  7. Exploiting Epigenetic Alterations in Prostate Cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baumgart, Simon J; Haendler, Bernard

    2017-05-09

    Prostate cancer affects an increasing number of men worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-associated deaths. Beside genetic mutations, many epigenetic alterations including DNA and histone modifications have been identified in clinical prostate tumor samples. They have been linked to aberrant activity of enzymes and reader proteins involved in these epigenetic processes, leading to the search for dedicated inhibitory compounds. In the wake of encouraging anti-tumor efficacy results in preclinical models, epigenetic modulators addressing different targets are now being tested in prostate cancer patients. In addition, the assessment of microRNAs as stratification biomarkers, and early clinical trials evaluating suppressor microRNAs as potential prostate cancer treatment are being discussed.

  8. Exploiting Epigenetic Alterations in Prostate Cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon J. Baumgart

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Prostate cancer affects an increasing number of men worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-associated deaths. Beside genetic mutations, many epigenetic alterations including DNA and histone modifications have been identified in clinical prostate tumor samples. They have been linked to aberrant activity of enzymes and reader proteins involved in these epigenetic processes, leading to the search for dedicated inhibitory compounds. In the wake of encouraging anti-tumor efficacy results in preclinical models, epigenetic modulators addressing different targets are now being tested in prostate cancer patients. In addition, the assessment of microRNAs as stratification biomarkers, and early clinical trials evaluating suppressor microRNAs as potential prostate cancer treatment are being discussed.

  9. Epigenetic modifications in prostate cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ngollo, Marjolaine; Dagdemir, Aslihan; Karsli-Ceppioglu, Seher; Judes, Gaelle; Pajon, Amaury; Penault-Llorca, Frederique; Boiteux, Jean-Paul; Bignon, Yves-Jean; Guy, Laurent; Bernard-Gallon, Dominique J

    2014-01-01

    Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in France. Apart from the genetic alterations in prostate cancer, epigenetics modifications are involved in the development and progression of this disease. Epigenetic events are the main cause in gene regulation and the three most epigenetic mechanisms studied include DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNA expression. In this review, we summarized epigenetic mechanisms in prostate cancer. Epigenetic drugs that inhibit DNA methylation, histone methylation and histone acetylation might be able to reactivate silenced gene expression in prostate cancer. However, further understanding of interactions of these enzymes and their effects on transcription regulation in prostate cancer is needed and has become a priority in biomedical research. In this study, we summed up epigenetic changes with emphasis on pharmacologic epigenetic target agents.

  10. Imagining roles for epigenetics in health promotion research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McBride, Colleen M; Koehly, Laura M

    2017-04-01

    Discoveries from the Human Genome Project have invigorated discussions of epigenetic effects-modifiable chemical processes that influence DNA's ability to give instructions to turn gene expression on or off-on health outcomes. We suggest three domains in which new understandings of epigenetics could inform innovations in health promotion research: (1) increase the motivational potency of health communications (e.g., explaining individual differences in health outcomes to interrupt optimistic biases about health exposures); (2) illuminate new approaches to targeted and tailored health promotion interventions (e.g., relapse prevention targeted to epigenetic responses to intervention participation); and (3) inform more sensitive measures of intervention impact, (e.g., replace or augment self-reported adherence). We suggest a three-step process for using epigenetics in health promotion research that emphasizes integrating epigenetic mechanisms into conceptual model development that then informs selection of intervention approaches and outcomes. Lastly, we pose examples of relevant scientific questions worth exploring.

  11. The role of non-genetic inheritance in evolutionary rescue: epigenetic buffering, heritable bet hedging and epigenetic traps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Dea, Rose E; Noble, Daniel W A; Johnson, Sheri L; Hesselson, Daniel; Nakagawa, Shinichi

    2016-01-01

    Rapid environmental change is predicted to compromise population survival, and the resulting strong selective pressure can erode genetic variation, making evolutionary rescue unlikely. Non-genetic inheritance may provide a solution to this problem and help explain the current lack of fit between purely genetic evolutionary models and empirical data. We hypothesize that epigenetic modifications can facilitate evolutionary rescue through 'epigenetic buffering'. By facilitating the inheritance of novel phenotypic variants that are generated by environmental change-a strategy we call 'heritable bet hedging'-epigenetic modifications could maintain and increase the evolutionary potential of a population. This process may facilitate genetic adaptation by preserving existing genetic variation, releasing cryptic genetic variation and/or facilitating mutations in functional loci. Although we show that examples of non-genetic inheritance are often maladaptive in the short term, accounting for phenotypic variance and non-adaptive plasticity may reveal important evolutionary implications over longer time scales. We also discuss the possibility that maladaptive epigenetic responses may be due to 'epigenetic traps', whereby evolutionarily novel factors (e.g. endocrine disruptors) hack into the existing epigenetic machinery. We stress that more ecologically relevant work on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is required. Researchers conducting studies on transgenerational environmental effects should report measures of phenotypic variance, so that the possibility of both bet hedging and heritable bet hedging can be assessed. Future empirical and theoretical work is required to assess the relative importance of genetic and epigenetic variation, and their interaction, for evolutionary rescue.

  12. [Epigenetics of prostate cancer].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Xiao-Ming; Zhou, Wen-Quan

    2010-07-01

    Prostate cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors in males, and its etiology and pathogenesis remain unclear. Epigenesis is involved in prostate cancer at all stages of the process, and closely related with its growth and metastasis. DNA methylation and histone modification are the most important manifestations of epigenetics in prostate cancer. The mechanisms of carcinogenesis of DNA methylation include whole-genome hypomethylation, aberrant local hypermethylation of promoters and genomic instability. DNA methylation is closely related to the process of prostate cancer, as in DNA damage repair, hormone response, tumor cell invasion/metastasis, cell cycle regulation, and so on. Histone modification causes corresponding changes in chromosome structure and the level of gene transcription, and it may affect the cycle, differentiation and apoptosis of cells, resulting in prostate cancer. Some therapies have been developed targeting the epigenetic changes in prostate cancer, including DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylase inhibitors, and have achieved certain desirable results.

  13. Epigenetics and brain evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keverne, Eric B

    2011-04-01

    Fundamental aspects of mammalian brain evolution occurred in the context of viviparity and placentation brought about by the epigenetic regulation of imprinted genes. Since the fetal placenta hormonally primes the maternal brain, two genomes in one individual are transgenerationally co-adapted to ensure maternal care and nurturing. Advanced aspects of neocortical brain evolution has shown very few genetic changes between monkeys and humans. Although these lineages diverged at approximately the same time as the rat and mouse (20 million years ago), synonymous sequence divergence between the rat and mouse is double that when comparing monkey with human sequences. Paradoxically, encephalization of rat and mouse are remarkably similar, while comparison of the human and monkey shows the human cortex to be three times the size of the monkey. This suggests an element of genetic stability between the brains of monkey and man with a greater emphasis on epigenetics providing adaptable variability.

  14. Epigenetics and Autism

    OpenAIRE

    Mbadiwe, Tafari; Millis, Richard M.

    2013-01-01

    This review identifies mechanisms for altering DNA-histone interactions of cell chromatin to upregulate or downregulate gene expression that could serve as epigenetic targets for therapeutic interventions in autism. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) can phosphorylate histone H3 at T6. Aided by protein kinase C ? 1, the DNMT lysine-specific demethylase-1 prevents demethylation of H3 at K4. During androgen-receptor-(AR-) dependent gene activation, this sequence may produce AR-dependent gene overac...

  15. [Epigenetics and obesity].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casanello, Paola; Krause, Bernardo J; Castro-Rodríguez, José A; Uauy, Ricardo

    Current evidence supports the notion that exposure to various environmental conditions in early life may induce permanent changes in the epigenome that persist throughout the life-course. This article focuses on early changes associated with obesity in adult life. A review is presented on the factors that induce changes in whole genome (DNA) methylation in early life that are associated with adult onset obesity and related disorders. In contrast, reversal of epigenetic changes associated with weight loss in obese subjects has not been demonstrated. This contrasts with well-established associations found between obesity related DNA methylation patterns at birth and adult onset obesity and diabetes. Epigenetic markers may serve to screen indivuals at risk for obesity and assess the effects of interventions in early life that may delay or prevent obesity in early life. This might contribute to lower the obesity-related burden of death and disability at the population level. The available evidence indicates that epigenetic marks are in fact modifiable, based on modifications in the intrauterine environment and changes in food intake, physical activity and dietary patterns patterns during pregnancy and early years of adult life. This offers the opportunity to intervene before conception, during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and also in later life. There must be documentation on the best preventive actions in terms of diet and physical activity that will modify or revert the adverse epigenetic markers, thus preventing obesity and diabetes in suceptible individuals and populations. Copyright © 2016 Sociedad Chilena de Pediatría. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  16. Epigenetics and human obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Dijk, S J; Molloy, P L; Varinli, H; Morrison, J L; Muhlhausler, B S

    2015-01-01

    Recent technological advances in epigenome profiling have led to an increasing number of studies investigating the role of the epigenome in obesity. There is also evidence that environmental exposures during early life can induce persistent alterations in the epigenome, which may lead to an increased risk of obesity later in life. This paper provides a systematic review of studies investigating the association between obesity and either global, site-specific or genome-wide methylation of DNA. Studies on the impact of pre- and postnatal interventions on methylation and obesity are also reviewed. We discuss outstanding questions, and introduce EpiSCOPE, a multidisciplinary research program aimed at increasing the understanding of epigenetic changes in emergence of obesity. An electronic search for relevant articles, published between September 2008 and September 2013 was performed. From the 319 articles identified, 46 studies were included and reviewed. The studies provided no consistent evidence for a relationship between global methylation and obesity. The studies did identify multiple obesity-associated differentially methylated sites, mainly in blood cells. Extensive, but small, alterations in methylation at specific sites were observed in weight loss intervention studies, and several associations between methylation marks at birth and later life obesity were found. Overall, significant progress has been made in the field of epigenetics and obesity and the first potential epigenetic markers for obesity that could be detected at birth have been identified. Eventually this may help in predicting an individual's obesity risk at a young age and opens possibilities for introducing targeted prevention strategies. It has also become clear that several epigenetic marks are modifiable, by changing the exposure in utero, but also by lifestyle changes in adult life, which implies that there is the potential for interventions to be introduced in postnatal life to modify

  17. Epigenetics, Darwin, and Lamarck.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penny, David

    2015-05-29

    It is not really helpful to consider modern environmental epigenetics as neo-Lamarckian; and there is no evidence that Lamarck considered the idea original to himself. We must all keep learning about inheritance, but attributing modern ideas to early researchers is not helpful, and can be misleading. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  18. Inference of Low and High-Grade Glioma Gene Regulatory Networks Delineates the Role of Rnd3 in Establishing Multiple Hallmarks of Cancer.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kim Clarke

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Gliomas are a highly heterogeneous group of brain tumours that are refractory to treatment, highly invasive and pro-angiogenic. Glioblastoma patients have an average survival time of less than 15 months. Understanding the molecular basis of different grades of glioma, from well differentiated, low-grade tumours to high-grade tumours, is a key step in defining new therapeutic targets. Here we use a data-driven approach to learn the structure of gene regulatory networks from observational data and use the resulting models to formulate hypothesis on the molecular determinants of glioma stage. Remarkably, integration of available knowledge with functional genomics datasets representing clinical and pre-clinical studies reveals important properties within the regulatory circuits controlling low and high-grade glioma. Our analyses first show that low and high-grade gliomas are characterised by a switch in activity of two subsets of Rho GTPases. The first one is involved in maintaining normal glial cell function, while the second is linked to the establishment of multiple hallmarks of cancer. Next, the development and application of a novel data integration methodology reveals novel functions of RND3 in controlling glioma cell migration, invasion, proliferation, angiogenesis and clinical outcome.

  19. Epigenetics of autism spectrum disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schanen, N Carolyn

    2006-10-15

    The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) comprise a complex group of behaviorally related disorders that are primarily genetic in origin. Involvement of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in the pathogenesis of ASD has been suggested by the occurrence of ASD in patients with disorders arising from epigenetic mutations (fragile X syndrome) or that involve key epigenetic regulatory factors (Rett syndrome). Moreover, the most common recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities in ASD involve maternally derived duplications of the imprinted domain on chromosome 15q11-13. Thus, parent of origin effects on sharing and linkage to imprinted regions on chromosomes 15q and 7q suggest that these regions warrant specific examination from an epigenetic perspective, particularly because epigenetic modifications do not change the primary genomic sequence, allowing risk epialleles to evade detection using standard screening strategies. This review examines the potential role of epigenetic factors in the etiology of ASD.

  20. Epigenetics of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siu, Michelle T; Weksberg, Rosanna

    2017-01-01

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), is diagnosed in 1 of every 68 children. ASD is incredibly heterogeneous both clinically and aetiologically. The etiopathogenesis of ASD is known to be complex, including genetic, environmental and epigenetic factors. Normal epigenetic marks modifiable by both genetics and environmental exposures can result in epigenetic alterations that disrupt the regulation of gene expression, negatively impacting biological pathways important for brain development. In this chapter we aim to summarize some of the important literature that supports a role for epigenetics in the underlying molecular mechanism of ASD. We provide evidence from work in genetics, from environmental exposures and finally from more recent studies aimed at directly determining ASD-specific epigenetic patterns, focusing mainly on DNA methylation (DNAm). Finally, we briefly discuss some of the implications of current research on potential epigenetic targets for therapeutics and novel avenues for future work.

  1. The Role of Dietary Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Corn Oil on the Alteration of Epigenetic Patterns in the Rat DMBA-Induced Breast Cancer Model.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Rodríguez-Miguel

    Full Text Available Disruption of epigenetic patterns is a major change occurring in all types of cancers. Such alterations are characterized by global DNA hypomethylation, gene-promoter hypermethylation and aberrant histone modifications, and may be modified by environment. Nutritional factors, and especially dietary lipids, have a role in the etiology of breast cancer. Thus, we aimed to analyze the influence of different high fat diets on DNA methylation and histone modifications in the rat dimethylbenz(aanthracene (DMBA-induced breast cancer model. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a low-fat, a high corn-oil or a high extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO diet from weaning or from induction with DMBA. In mammary glands and tumors we analyzed global and gene specific (RASSF1A, TIMP3 DNA methylation by LUMA and bisulfite pyrosequencing assays, respectively. We also determined gene expression and enzymatic activity of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1, DNMT3a and DNMT3b and evaluated changes in histone modifications (H3K4me2, H3K27me3, H4K20me3 and H4K16ac by western-blot. Our results showed variations along time in the global DNA methylation of the mammary gland displaying decreases at puberty and with aging. The olive oil-enriched diet, on the one hand, increased the levels of global DNA methylation in mammary gland and tumor, and on the other, changed histone modifications patterns. The corn oil-enriched diet increased DNA methyltransferase activity in both tissues, resulting in an increase in the promoter methylation of the tumor suppressor genes RASSF1A and TIMP3. These results suggest a differential effect of the high fat diets on epigenetic patterns with a relevant role in the neoplastic transformation, which could be one of the mechanisms of their differential promoter effect, clearly stimulating for the high corn-oil diet and with a weaker influence for the high EVOO diet, on breast cancer progression.

  2. Epigenetics: What it is about?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saade E.

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetics has captured the attention of scientists in the past decades, yet its scope has been continuously changing. In this paper, we give an overview on how and why its definition has evolved and suggest several clarification on the concepts used in this field. Waddington coined the term in 1942 to describe genes interaction with each other and with their environment and insisted on dissociating these events from development. Then, Holliday and others argued that epigenetic phenomena are characterized by their heritability. However, differentiated cells can maintain their phenotypes for decades without undergoing division, which points out the limitation of the «heritability» criterion for a particular phenomenon to qualify as epigenetic. «Epigenetic stability» encompasses traits preservation in both dividing and non dividing cells. Likewise, the use of the term «epigenetic regulation» has been misleading as it overlaps with «regulation of gene expression», whereas «epigenetic information» clearly distinguishes epigenetic from genetic phenomena. Consequently, how could epigenetic information be transmitted and perpetuated? The term «epigenetic templating» has been proposed to refer to a general mechanism of perpetuation of epigenetic information that is based on the preferential activity of enzymes that deposit a particular epigenetic mark on macromolecular complexes already containing the same mark. Another issue that we address is the role of epigenetic information. Not only it is important in allowing alternative interpretations of genetic information, but it appears to be important in protecting the genome, as can be illustrated by bacterial endonucleases that targets non methylated DNA – i. e. foreign DNA – and not the endogenous methylated DNA.

  3. Epigenetics in women's health care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pozharny, Yevgeniya; Lambertini, Luca; Clunie, Garfield; Ferrara, Lauren; Lee, Men-Jean

    2010-01-01

    Epigenetics refers to structural modifications to genes that do not change the nucleotide sequence itself but instead control and regulate gene expression. DNA methylation, histone modification, and RNA regulation are some of the mechanisms involved in epigenetic modification. Epigenetic changes are believed to be a result of changes in an organism's environment that result in fixed and permanent changes in most differentiated cells. Some environmental changes that have been linked to epigenetic changes include starvation, folic acid, and various chemical exposures. There are periods in an organism's life cycle in which the organism is particularly susceptible to epigenetic influences; these include fertilization, gametogenesis, and early embryo development. These are also windows of opportunity for interventions during the reproductive life cycle of women to improve maternal-child health. New data suggest that epigenetic influences might be involved in the regulation of fetal development and the pathophysiology of adult diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Various epigenetic mechanisms may also be involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. Additionally, environmental exposures are being held responsible for causing epigenetic changes that lead to a disease process. Exposure to heavy metals, bioflavonoids, and endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol A and phthalates, has been shown to affect the epigenetic memory of an organism. Their long-term effects are unclear at this point, but many ongoing studies are attempting to elucidate the pathophysiological effects of such gene-environment interactions. (c) 2010 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

  4. Influence of the experimental design of gene expression studies on the inference of gene regulatory networks: environmental factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frank Emmert-Streib

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available The inference of gene regulatory networks gained within recent years a considerable interest in the biology and biomedical community. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence that environmental conditions can exhibit on the inference performance of network inference algorithms. Specifically, we study five network inference methods, Aracne, BC3NET, CLR, C3NET and MRNET, and compare the results for three different conditions: (I observational gene expression data: normal environmental condition, (II interventional gene expression data: growth in rich media, (III interventional gene expression data: normal environmental condition interrupted by a positive spike-in stimulation. Overall, we find that different statistical inference methods lead to comparable, but condition-specific results. Further, our results suggest that non-steady-state data enhance the inferability of regulatory networks.

  5. The impact of gene expression variation on the robustness and evolvability of a developmental gene regulatory network.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David A Garfield

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Regulatory interactions buffer development against genetic and environmental perturbations, but adaptation requires phenotypes to change. We investigated the relationship between robustness and evolvability within the gene regulatory network underlying development of the larval skeleton in the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. We find extensive variation in gene expression in this network throughout development in a natural population, some of which has a heritable genetic basis. Switch-like regulatory interactions predominate during early development, buffer expression variation, and may promote the accumulation of cryptic genetic variation affecting early stages. Regulatory interactions during later development are typically more sensitive (linear, allowing variation in expression to affect downstream target genes. Variation in skeletal morphology is associated primarily with expression variation of a few, primarily structural, genes at terminal positions within the network. These results indicate that the position and properties of gene interactions within a network can have important evolutionary consequences independent of their immediate regulatory role.

  6. Environmentally induced epigenetic toxicity: potential public health concerns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marczylo, Emma L; Jacobs, Miriam N; Gant, Timothy W

    2016-09-01

    Throughout our lives, epigenetic processes shape our development and enable us to adapt to a constantly changing environment. Identifying and understanding environmentally induced epigenetic change(s) that may lead to adverse outcomes is vital for protecting public health. This review, therefore, examines the present understanding of epigenetic mechanisms involved in the mammalian life cycle, evaluates the current evidence for environmentally induced epigenetic toxicity in human cohorts and rodent models and highlights the research considerations and implications of this emerging knowledge for public health and regulatory toxicology. Many hundreds of studies have investigated such toxicity, yet relatively few have demonstrated a mechanistic association among specific environmental exposures, epigenetic changes and adverse health outcomes in human epidemiological cohorts and/or rodent models. While this small body of evidence is largely composed of exploratory in vivo high-dose range studies, it does set a precedent for the existence of environmentally induced epigenetic toxicity. Consequently, there is worldwide recognition of this phenomenon, and discussion on how to both guide further scientific research towards a greater mechanistic understanding of environmentally induced epigenetic toxicity in humans, and translate relevant research outcomes into appropriate regulatory policies for effective public health protection.

  7. Predator-based psychosocial stress animal model of PTSD: Preclinical assessment of traumatic stress at cognitive, hormonal, pharmacological, cardiovascular and epigenetic levels of analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoladz, Phillip R; Diamond, David M

    2016-10-01

    Research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is faced with the challenge of understanding how a traumatic experience produces long-lasting detrimental effects on behavior and brain functioning, and more globally, how stress exacerbates somatic disorders, including cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the design of translational research needs to link animal models of PTSD to clinically relevant risk factors which address why only a subset of traumatized individuals develop persistent psychopathology. In this review, we have summarized our psychosocial stress rodent model of PTSD which is based on well-described PTSD-inducing risk factors, including a life-threatening experience, a sense of horror and uncontrollability, and insufficient social support. Specifically, our animal model of PTSD integrates acute episodes of inescapable exposure of immobilized rats to a predator with chronic daily social instability. This stress regimen produces PTSD-like effects in rats at behavioral, cognitive, physiological, pharmacological and epigenetic levels of analysis. We have discussed a recent extension of our animal model of PTSD in which stress exacerbated coronary pathology following an ischemic event, assessed in vitro. In addition, we have reviewed our research investigating pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapeutic strategies which may have value in clinical approaches toward the treatment of traumatized people. Overall, our translational approach bridges the gap between human and animal PTSD research to create a framework with which to enhance our understanding of the biological basis of trauma-induced pathology and to assess therapeutic approaches in the treatment of psychopathology. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Epigenetic regulation of caloric restriction in aging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Michael

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The molecular mechanisms of aging are the subject of much research and have facilitated potential interventions to delay aging and aging-related degenerative diseases in humans. The aging process is frequently affected by environmental factors, and caloric restriction is by far the most effective and established environmental manipulation for extending lifespan in various animal models. However, the precise mechanisms by which caloric restriction affects lifespan are still not clear. Epigenetic mechanisms have recently been recognized as major contributors to nutrition-related longevity and aging control. Two primary epigenetic codes, DNA methylation and histone modification, are believed to dynamically influence chromatin structure, resulting in expression changes of relevant genes. In this review, we assess the current advances in epigenetic regulation in response to caloric restriction and how this affects cellular senescence, aging and potential extension of a healthy lifespan in humans. Enhanced understanding of the important role of epigenetics in the control of the aging process through caloric restriction may lead to clinical advances in the prevention and therapy of human aging-associated diseases.

  9. Epigenetics primer: why the clinician should care about epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duarte, Julio D

    2013-12-01

    Epigenetics describes heritable alterations of gene expression that do not involve DNA sequence variation and are changeable throughout an organism's lifetime. Not only can epigenetic status influence drug response, but it can also be modulated by drugs. In this review, the three major epigenetic mechanisms are described: covalent DNA modification, histone protein modification, and regulation by noncoding RNA. Further, this review describes how drug therapy can influence, and be influenced by, these mechanisms. Drugs with epigenetic mechanisms are already in use, with many more likely to be approved within the next few years. As the understanding of epigenetic processes improves, so will the ability to use these data in the clinic to improve patient care. © 2013 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.

  10. Nucleosome Positioning and Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwab, David; Bruinsma, Robijn

    2008-03-01

    The role of chromatin structure in gene regulation has recently taken center stage in the field of epigenetics, phenomena that change the phenotype without changing the DNA sequence. Recent work has also shown that nucleosomes, a complex of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer, experience a sequence dependent energy landscape due to the variation in DNA bend stiffness with sequence composition. In this talk, we consider the role nucleosome positioning might play in the formation of heterochromatin, a compact form of DNA generically responsible for gene silencing. In particular, we discuss how different patterns of nucleosome positions, periodic or random, could either facilitate or suppress heterochromatin stability and formation.

  11. Epigenetics of kidney disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wanner, Nicola; Bechtel-Walz, Wibke

    2017-07-01

    DNA methylation and histone modifications determine renal programming and the development and progression of renal disease. The identification of the way in which the renal cell epigenome is altered by environmental modifiers driving the onset and progression of renal diseases has extended our understanding of the pathophysiology of kidney disease progression. In this review, we focus on current knowledge concerning the implications of epigenetic modifications during renal disease from early development to chronic kidney disease progression including renal fibrosis, diabetic nephropathy and the translational potential of identifying new biomarkers and treatments for the prevention and therapy of chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease.

  12. Bifurcation in epigenetics: Implications in development, proliferation, and diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jost, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    Cells often exhibit different and stable phenotypes from the same DNA sequence. Robustness and plasticity of such cellular states are controlled by diverse transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms, among them the modification of biochemical marks on chromatin. Here, we develop a stochastic model that describes the dynamics of epigenetic marks along a given DNA region. Through mathematical analysis, we show the emergence of bistable and persistent epigenetic states from the cooperative recruitment of modifying enzymes. We also find that the dynamical system exhibits a critical point and displays, in the presence of asymmetries in recruitment, a bifurcation diagram with hysteresis. These results have deep implications for our understanding of epigenetic regulation. In particular, our study allows one to reconcile within the same formalism the robust maintenance of epigenetic identity observed in differentiated cells, the epigenetic plasticity of pluripotent cells during differentiation, and the effects of epigenetic misregulation in diseases. Moreover, it suggests a possible mechanism for developmental transitions where the system is shifted close to the critical point to benefit from high susceptibility to developmental cues.

  13. Mapping the Technological Knowledge Landscape: The Case of Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Chie Hoon; Yoon, Janghyeok; Ko, Namuk; Han, Jeung-Whan

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetics is a biomedical novelty in drug design and disease control whose mechanisms play a significant role in transferring environmental signals to determine patterns of gene expression. Systematic identification of the main trends in epigenetics patenting activity provides insights into fundamental building blocks of this research field and policy guidance to funding agencies. The review aims at providing a comprehensive overview of the research and development trend in epigenetics by mapping the knowledge structure in patent landscape. Citation-based patent network analysis was performed to visualize the technological landscape. We focus on identifying the structure of the knowledge networks to study the technological trajectories. Patents that play an integral part in the dissemination and bridging of the technical knowledge are located and ranked. The latent topics in patent documents are highlighted by means of a topic modeling technique. Visualization of the patent network results in four main clusters. The first two clusters deal with the inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC). The third cluster covers inventions related to DNA methylation, which represents an epigenetic signaling tool that cells use to control gene expression. The fourth cluster encompasses computing systems and data mining techniques for identifying combinations of genetic and epigenetic attributes related to health and lifestyle improvements. We are in the growth period of gathering knowledge on various mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. There is enormous potential for improving healthcare through better understanding of the interrelationships between epigenetic control of gene expression and compounds that trigger these modifications.

  14. Epigenetic inheritance in apomictic dandelions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Preite, V.

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic variation, such as changes in DNA methylations, regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) and chromatin modifications can be induced by environmental stress. There is increasing information that such induced epigenetic modifications can be transmitted to offspring, potentially mediating adaptive

  15. Epigenetic Alterations in Alzheimer's Disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johannes eGräff

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Alzheimer’s disease (AD is the major cause of dementia in Western societies. It progresses asymptomatically during decades before being belatedly diagnosed when therapeutic strategies have become unviable. Although several genetic alterations have been associated with AD, the vast majority of AD cases do not show strong genetic underpinnings and are thus considered a consequence of non-genetic factors. Epigenetic mechanisms allow for the integration of long-lasting non-genetic inputs on specific genetic backgrounds, and recently, a growing number of epigenetic alterations in AD have been described. For instance, an accumulation of dysregulated epigenetic mechanisms in aging, the predominant risk factor of AD, might facilitate the onset of the disease. Likewise, mutations in several enzymes of the epigenetic machinery have been associated with neurodegenerative processes that are altered in AD such as impaired learning and memory formation. Genome-wide and locus-specific epigenetic alterations have also been reported, and several epigenetically dysregulated genes validated by independent groups. From these studies, a picture emerges of AD as being associated with DNA hypermethylation and histone deacetylation, suggesting a general repressed chromatin state and epigenetically reduced plasticity in AD. Here we review these recent findings and discuss several technical and methodological considerations that are imperative for their correct interpretation. We also pay particular focus on potential implementations and theoretical frameworks that we expect will help to better direct future studies aimed to unravel the epigenetic participation in AD.

  16. Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlie Genome Development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamm, Ehud

    2013-01-01

    Technological and methodological advances, in particular next-generation sequencing and chromatin profiling, has led to a deluge of data on epigenetic mechanisms and processes. Epigenetic regulation in the brain is no exception. In this commentary, Ehud Lamm writes that extending existing frameworks for thinking about psychological development to…

  17. Epigenetic inheritance, prions and evolution

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    The field of epigenetics has grown explosively in the past two decades or so. As currently defined, epigenetics deals with heritable, metastable and usually reversible changes that do not involve alterations in DNA sequence, but alter the way that information encoded inDNAis utilized.The bulk of current research in ...

  18. Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Richards, C.L.; Verhoeven, K.J.F.; Bossdorf, O.; Wendel, J.F.; Greilhuber, J.; Dolezel, J.; Leitch, I.J.

    2012-01-01

    Several chapters in this volume demonstrate how epigenetic work at the molecular level over the last few decades has revolutionized our understanding of genome function and developmental biology. However, epigenetic processes not only further our understanding of variation and regulation at the

  19. Epigenetic Alterations in Alzheimer's Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez-Mut, Jose V; Gräff, Johannes

    2015-01-01

    Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the major cause of dementia in Western societies. It progresses asymptomatically during decades before being belatedly diagnosed when therapeutic strategies have become unviable. Although several genetic alterations have been associated with AD, the vast majority of AD cases do not show strong genetic underpinnings and are thus considered a consequence of non-genetic factors. Epigenetic mechanisms allow for the integration of long-lasting non-genetic inputs on specific genetic backgrounds, and recently, a growing number of epigenetic alterations in AD have been described. For instance, an accumulation of dysregulated epigenetic mechanisms in aging, the predominant risk factor of AD, might facilitate the onset of the disease. Likewise, mutations in several enzymes of the epigenetic machinery have been associated with neurodegenerative processes that are altered in AD such as impaired learning and memory formation. Genome-wide and locus-specific epigenetic alterations have also been reported, and several epigenetically dysregulated genes validated by independent groups. From these studies, a picture emerges of AD as being associated with DNA hypermethylation and histone deacetylation, suggesting a general repressed chromatin state and epigenetically reduced plasticity in AD. Here we review these recent findings and discuss several technical and methodological considerations that are imperative for their correct interpretation. We also pay particular focus on potential implementations and theoretical frameworks that we expect will help to better direct future studies aimed to unravel the epigenetic participation in AD.

  20. Is Glioblastoma an Epigenetic Malignancy?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Maleszewska, Marta; Kaminska, Bozena

    2013-01-01

    Epigenetic modifications control gene expression by regulating the access of nuclear proteins to their target DNA and have been implicated in both normal cell differentiation and oncogenic transformation. Epigenetic abnormalities can occur both as a cause and as a consequence of cancer. Oncogenic transformation can deeply alter the epigenetic information enclosed in the pattern of DNA methylation or histone modifications. In addition, in some cancers epigenetic dysfunctions can drive oncogenic transformation. Growing evidence emphasizes the interplay between metabolic disturbances, epigenomic changes and cancer, i.e., mutations in the metabolic enzymes SDH, FH, and IDH may contribute to cancer development. Epigenetic-based mechanisms are reversible and the possibility of “resetting” the abnormal cancer epigenome by applying pharmacological or genetic strategies is an attractive, novel approach. Gliomas are incurable with all current therapeutic approaches and new strategies are urgently needed. Increasing evidence suggests the role of epigenetic events in development and/or progression of gliomas. In this review, we summarize current data on the occurrence and significance of mutations in the epigenetic and metabolic enzymes in pathobiology of gliomas. We discuss emerging therapies targeting specific epigenetic modifications or chromatin modifying enzymes either alone or in combination with other treatment regimens

  1. Epigenetic differentiation persists after male gametogenesis in natural populations of the perennial herb Helleborus foetidus (Ranunculaceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrera, Carlos M; Medrano, Mónica; Bazaga, Pilar

    2013-01-01

    Despite the importance of assessing the stability of epigenetic variation in non-model organisms living in real-world scenarios, no studies have been conducted on the transgenerational persistence of epigenetic structure in wild plant populations. This gap in knowledge is hindering progress in the interpretation of natural epigenetic variation. By applying the methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (MSAP) technique to paired plant-pollen (i.e., sporophyte-male gametophyte) DNA samples, and then comparing methylation patterns and epigenetic population differentiation in sporophytes and their descendant gametophytes, we investigated transgenerational constancy of epigenetic structure in three populations of the perennial herb Helleborus foetidus (Ranunculaceae). Single-locus and multilocus analyses revealed extensive epigenetic differentiation between sporophyte populations. Locus-by-locus comparisons of methylation status in individual sporophytes and descendant gametophytes showed that ~75% of epigenetic markers persisted unchanged through gametogenesis. In spite of some epigenetic reorganization taking place during gametogenesis, multilocus epigenetic differentiation between sporophyte populations was preserved in the subsequent gametophyte stage. In addition to illustrating the efficacy of applying the MSAP technique to paired plant-pollen DNA samples to investigate epigenetic gametic inheritance in wild plants, this paper suggests that epigenetic differentiation between adult plant populations of H. foetidus is likely to persist across generations.

  2. Epigenetic differentiation persists after male gametogenesis in natural populations of the perennial herb Helleborus foetidus (Ranunculaceae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos M Herrera

    Full Text Available Despite the importance of assessing the stability of epigenetic variation in non-model organisms living in real-world scenarios, no studies have been conducted on the transgenerational persistence of epigenetic structure in wild plant populations. This gap in knowledge is hindering progress in the interpretation of natural epigenetic variation. By applying the methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (MSAP technique to paired plant-pollen (i.e., sporophyte-male gametophyte DNA samples, and then comparing methylation patterns and epigenetic population differentiation in sporophytes and their descendant gametophytes, we investigated transgenerational constancy of epigenetic structure in three populations of the perennial herb Helleborus foetidus (Ranunculaceae. Single-locus and multilocus analyses revealed extensive epigenetic differentiation between sporophyte populations. Locus-by-locus comparisons of methylation status in individual sporophytes and descendant gametophytes showed that ~75% of epigenetic markers persisted unchanged through gametogenesis. In spite of some epigenetic reorganization taking place during gametogenesis, multilocus epigenetic differentiation between sporophyte populations was preserved in the subsequent gametophyte stage. In addition to illustrating the efficacy of applying the MSAP technique to paired plant-pollen DNA samples to investigate epigenetic gametic inheritance in wild plants, this paper suggests that epigenetic differentiation between adult plant populations of H. foetidus is likely to persist across generations.

  3. Elusive inheritance: Transgenerational effects and epigenetic inheritance in human environmental disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martos, Suzanne N; Tang, Wan-Yee; Wang, Zhibin

    2015-07-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms involving DNA methylation, histone modification, histone variants and nucleosome positioning, and noncoding RNAs regulate cell-, tissue-, and developmental stage-specific gene expression by influencing chromatin structure and modulating interactions between proteins and DNA. Epigenetic marks are mitotically inherited in somatic cells and may be altered in response to internal and external stimuli. The idea that environment-induced epigenetic changes in mammals could be inherited through the germline, independent of genetic mechanisms, has stimulated much debate. Many experimental models have been designed to interrogate the possibility of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and provide insight into how environmental exposures influence phenotypes over multiple generations in the absence of any apparent genetic mutation. Unexpected molecular evidence has forced us to reevaluate not only our understanding of the plasticity and heritability of epigenetic factors, but of the stability of the genome as well. Recent reviews have described the difference between transgenerational and intergenerational effects; the two major epigenetic reprogramming events in the mammalian lifecycle; these two events making transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of environment-induced perturbations rare, if at all possible, in mammals; and mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in non-mammalian eukaryotic organisms. This paper briefly introduces these topics and mainly focuses on (1) transgenerational phenotypes and epigenetic effects in mammals, (2) environment-induced intergenerational epigenetic effects, and (3) the inherent difficulties in establishing a role for epigenetic inheritance in human environmental disease. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Transgenerational stress-adaption: an opportunity for ecological epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinhold, Arne

    2018-01-01

    In the recent years, there has been considerable interest to investigate the adaptive transgenerational plasticity of plants and how a "stress memory" can be transmitted to the following generation. Although, increasing evidence suggests that transgenerational adaptive responses have widespread ecological relevance, the underlying epigenetic processes have rarely been elucidated. On the other hand, model plant species have been deeply investigated in their genome-wide methylation landscape without connecting this to the ecological reality of the plant. What we need is the combination of an ecological understanding which plant species would benefit from transgenerational epigenetic stress-adaption in their natural habitat, combined with a deeper molecular analysis of non-model organisms. Only such interdisciplinary linkage in an ecological epigenetic study could unravel the full potential that epigenetics could play for the transgenerational stress-adaption of plants.

  5. Epigenetics and autism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mbadiwe, Tafari; Millis, Richard M

    2013-01-01

    This review identifies mechanisms for altering DNA-histone interactions of cell chromatin to upregulate or downregulate gene expression that could serve as epigenetic targets for therapeutic interventions in autism. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) can phosphorylate histone H3 at T6. Aided by protein kinase C β 1, the DNMT lysine-specific demethylase-1 prevents demethylation of H3 at K4. During androgen-receptor-(AR-) dependent gene activation, this sequence may produce AR-dependent gene overactivation which may partly explain the male predominance of autism. AR-dependent gene overactivation in conjunction with a DNMT mechanism for methylating oxytocin receptors could produce high arousal inputs to the amygdala resulting in aberrant socialization, a prime characteristic of autism. Dysregulation of histone methyltransferases and histone deacetylases (HDACs) associated with low activity of methyl CpG binding protein-2 at cytosine-guanine sites in genes may reduce the capacity for condensing chromatin and silencing genes in frontal cortex, a site characterized by decreased cortical interconnectivity in autistic subjects. HDAC1 inhibition can overactivate mRNA transcription, a putative mechanism for the increased number of cerebral cortical columns and local frontal cortex hyperactivity in autistic individuals. These epigenetic mechanisms underlying male predominance, aberrant social interaction, and low functioning frontal cortex may be novel targets for autism prevention and treatment strategies.

  6. Epigenetics and Autism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tafari Mbadiwe

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available This review identifies mechanisms for altering DNA-histone interactions of cell chromatin to upregulate or downregulate gene expression that could serve as epigenetic targets for therapeutic interventions in autism. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs can phosphorylate histone H3 at T6. Aided by protein kinase Cβ1, the DNMT lysine-specific demethylase-1 prevents demethylation of H3 at K4. During androgen-receptor-(AR- dependent gene activation, this sequence may produce AR-dependent gene overactivation which may partly explain the male predominance of autism. AR-dependent gene overactivation in conjunction with a DNMT mechanism for methylating oxytocin receptors could produce high arousal inputs to the amygdala resulting in aberrant socialization, a prime characteristic of autism. Dysregulation of histone methyltransferases and histone deacetylases (HDACs associated with low activity of methyl CpG binding protein-2 at cytosine-guanine sites in genes may reduce the capacity for condensing chromatin and silencing genes in frontal cortex, a site characterized by decreased cortical interconnectivity in autistic subjects. HDAC1 inhibition can overactivate mRNA transcription, a putative mechanism for the increased number of cerebral cortical columns and local frontal cortex hyperactivity in autistic individuals. These epigenetic mechanisms underlying male predominance, aberrant social interaction, and low functioning frontal cortex may be novel targets for autism prevention and treatment strategies.

  7. Stress, Epigenetics, and Alcoholism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moonat, Sachin; Pandey, Subhash C.

    2012-01-01

    Acute and chronic stressors have been associated with alterations in mood and increased anxiety that may eventually result in the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders. Stress and associated disorders, including anxiety, are key factors in the development of alcoholism because alcohol consumption can temporarily reduce the drinker’s dysphoria. One molecule that may help mediate the relationship between stress and alcohol consumption is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that regulates the structure and function of the sites where two nerve cells interact and exchange nerve signals (i.e., synapses) and which is involved in numerous physiological processes. Aberrant regulation of BDNF signaling and alterations in synapse activity (i.e., synaptic plasticity) have been associated with the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders and alcoholism. Mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of genetic information without modification of the DNA sequence (i.e., epigenetic mechanisms) may play a role in the complex control of BDNF signaling and synaptic plasticity—for example, by modifying the structure of the DNA–protein complexes (i.e., chromatin) that make up the chromosomes and thereby modulating the expression of certain genes. Studies regarding the epigenetic control of BDNF signaling and synaptic plasticity provide a promising direction to understand the mechanisms mediating the interaction between stress and alcoholism. PMID:23584115

  8. Epigenetics of host-pathogen interactions: the road ahead and the road behind.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Gómez-Díaz

    Full Text Available A growing body of evidence points towards epigenetic mechanisms being responsible for a wide range of biological phenomena, from the plasticity of plant growth and development to the nutritional control of caste determination in honeybees and the etiology of human disease (e.g., cancer. With the (partial elucidation of the molecular basis of epigenetic variation and the heritability of certain of these changes, the field of evolutionary epigenetics is flourishing. Despite this, the role of epigenetics in shaping host-pathogen interactions has received comparatively little attention. Yet there is plenty of evidence supporting the implication of epigenetic mechanisms in the modulation of the biological interaction between hosts and pathogens. The phenotypic plasticity of many key parasite life-history traits appears to be under epigenetic control. Moreover, pathogen-induced effects in host phenotype may have transgenerational consequences, and the bases of these changes and their heritability probably have an epigenetic component. The significance of epigenetic modifications may, however, go beyond providing a mechanistic basis for host and pathogen plasticity. Epigenetic epidemiology has recently emerged as a promising area for future research on infectious diseases. In addition, the incorporation of epigenetic inheritance and epigenetic plasticity mechanisms to evolutionary models and empirical studies of host-pathogen interactions will provide new insights into the evolution and coevolution of these associations. Here, we review the evidence available for the role epigenetics on host-pathogen interactions, and the utility and versatility of the epigenetic technologies available that can be cross-applied to host-pathogen studies. We conclude with recommendations and directions for future research on the burgeoning field of epigenetics as applied to host-pathogen interactions.

  9. Using animal models to disentangle the role of genetic, epigenetic and environmental influences on behavioral outcomes associated with maternal anxiety and depression

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa M. Tarantino

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available The etiology of complex psychiatric disorders results from both genetics and the environment. No definitive environmental factor has been implicated, but studies suggest that deficits in maternal care and bonding may be an important contributing factor in the development of anxiety and depression. Perinatal mood disorders such as postpartum depression (PPD occur in approximately 10% of pregnant women and can result in detriments in infant care and bonding. The consequences of impaired maternal-infant attachment during critical early brain development may lead to adverse effects on socioemotional and neurocognitive development in infants resulting in long-term behavioral and emotional problems, including increased vulnerability for mental illness. The exact mechanisms by which environmental stressors such as poor maternal care increase the risk for psychiatric disorders are not known and studies in humans have proven challenging. Two inbred mouse strains may prove useful for studying the interaction between maternal care and mood disorders. BALB/c (BALB mice are considered an anxious strain in comparison to C57BL/6 (B6 mice in behavioral models of anxiety. These strain differences are most often attributed to genetics but may also be due to environment and gene by environment interactions. For example, BALB mice are described as poor mothers and B6 mice as good mothers and mothering behavior in rodents has been reported to affect both anxiety and stress behaviors in offspring. Changes in gene methylation patterns in response to maternal care have also been reported, providing evidence for epigenetic mechanisms. Characterization of these two mouse inbred strains over the course of pregnancy and in the postpartum period for behavioral and neuroendocrine changes may provide useful information by which to inform human studies, leading to advances in our understanding of the etiology of anxiety and depression and the role of genetics and the

  10. Dietary fat and fiber interact to uniquely modify global histone post-translational epigenetic programming in a rat colon cancer progression model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Triff, Karen; McLean, Mathew W; Callaway, Evelyn; Goldsby, Jennifer; Ivanov, Ivan; Chapkin, Robert S

    2018-04-16

    Dietary fermentable fiber generates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), e.g., butyrate, in the colonic lumen which serves as a chemoprotective histone deacetylase inhibitor and/or as an acetylation substrate for histone acetylases. In addition, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) in fish oil can affect the chromatin landscape by acting as ligands for tumor suppressive nuclear receptors. In an effort to gain insight into the global dimension of post-translational modification of histones (including H3K4me3 and H3K9ac) and clarify the chemoprotective impact of dietary bioactive compounds on transcriptional control in a preclinical model of colon cancer, we generated high-resolution genome-wide RNA (RNA-Seq) and "chromatin-state" (H3K4me3-seq and H3K9ac-seq) maps for intestinal (epithelial colonocytes) crypts in rats treated with a colon carcinogen and fed diets containing bioactive (i) fish oil, (ii) fermentable fiber (a rich source of SCFA), (iii) a combination of fish oil plus pectin or (iv) control, devoid of fish oil or pectin. In general, poor correlation was observed between differentially transcribed (DE) and enriched genes (DERs) at multiple epigenetic levels. The combinatorial diet (fish oil + pectin) uniquely affected transcriptional profiles in the intestinal epithelium, e.g., upregulating lipid catabolism and beta-oxidation associated genes. These genes were linked to activated ligand-dependent nuclear receptors associated with n-3 PUFA and were also correlated with the mitochondrial L-carnitine shuttle and the inhibition of lipogenesis. These findings demonstrate that the chemoprotective fish oil + pectin combination diet uniquely induces global histone state modifications linked to the expression of chemoprotective genes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2018 UICC.

  11. The political implications of epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robison, Shea K

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetics, which is just beginning to attract public attention and policy discussion, challenges conventional understanding of gene-environment interaction and intergenerational inheritance and perhaps much more besides. Does epigenetics challenge modern political ideologies? I analyzed the narratives of obesity and epigenetics recently published in the more liberal New York Times and the more conservative Wall Street Journal. For the years 2010 through 2014, 50 articles on obesity and 29 articles on epigenetics were identified, and elements in their causal narratives were quantitatively analyzed using a well described narrative policy framework. The narratives on obesity aligned with the two newspapers' reputed ideologies. However, the narratives on epigenetics aligned with neither ideology but freely mixed liberal and conservative elements. This small study may serve as a starting point for broader studies of epigenetics as it comes to affect political ideologies and, in turn, public policies. The narrative mix reported here could yet prove vulnerable to ideological capture, or, more optimistically, could portend the emergence of a "third-way" narrative using epigenetics to question atomistic individualism and allowing for less divisiveness in public-health domains such as obesity.

  12. Epigenetic developmental programs and adipogenesis: implications for psychotropic induced obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chase, Kayla; Sharma, Rajiv P

    2013-11-01

    Psychotropic agents are notorious for their ability to increase fat mass in psychiatric patients. The two determinants of fat mass are the production of newly differentiated adipocytes (adipogenesis), and the volume of lipid accumulation. Epigenetic programs have a prominent role in cell fate commitments and differentiation required for adipogenesis. In parallel, epigenetic effects on energy metabolism are well supported by several genetic models. Consequently, a variety of psychotropics, often prescribed in combinations and for long periods, may utilize a common epigenetic effector path causing an increase in adipogenesis or reduction in energy metabolism. In particular, the recent discovery that G protein coupled signaling cascades can directly modify epigenetic regulatory enzymes implicates surface receptor activity by psychotropic medications. The potential therapeutic implications are also suggested by the effects of the clinically approved antidepressant tranylcypromine, also a histone demethylase inhibitor, which has impressive therapeutic effects on metabolism in the obese phenotype.

  13. Gain, loss and divergence in primate zinc-finger genes: a rich resource for evolution of gene regulatory differences between species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katja Nowick

    Full Text Available The molecular changes underlying major phenotypic differences between humans and other primates are not well understood, but alterations in gene regulation are likely to play a major role. Here we performed a thorough evolutionary analysis of the largest family of primate transcription factors, the Krüppel-type zinc finger (KZNF gene family. We identified and curated gene and pseudogene models for KZNFs in three primate species, chimpanzee, orangutan and rhesus macaque, to allow for a comparison with the curated set of human KZNFs. We show that the recent evolutionary history of primate KZNFs has been complex, including many lineage-specific duplications and deletions. We found 213 species-specific KZNFs, among them 7 human-specific and 23 chimpanzee-specific genes. Two human-specific genes were validated experimentally. Ten genes have been lost in humans and 13 in chimpanzees, either through deletion or pseudogenization. We also identified 30 KZNF orthologs with human-specific and 42 with chimpanzee-specific sequence changes that are predicted to affect DNA binding properties of the proteins. Eleven of these genes show signatures of accelerated evolution, suggesting positive selection between humans and chimpanzees. During primate evolution the most extensive re-shaping of the KZNF repertoire, including most gene additions, pseudogenizations, and structural changes occurred within the subfamily homininae. Using zinc finger (ZNF binding predictions, we suggest potential impact these changes have had on human gene regulatory networks. The large species differences in this family of TFs stands in stark contrast to the overall high conservation of primate genomes and potentially represents a potent driver of primate evolution.

  14. Ancestral regulatory circuits governing ectoderm patterning downstream of Nodal and BMP2/4 revealed by gene regulatory network analysis in an echinoderm.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra Saudemont

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Echinoderms, which are phylogenetically related to vertebrates and produce large numbers of transparent embryos that can be experimentally manipulated, offer many advantages for the analysis of the gene regulatory networks (GRN regulating germ layer formation. During development of the sea urchin embryo, the ectoderm is the source of signals that pattern all three germ layers along the dorsal-ventral axis. How this signaling center controls patterning and morphogenesis of the embryo is not understood. Here, we report a large-scale analysis of the GRN deployed in response to the activity of this signaling center in the embryos of the Mediterranean sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, in which studies with high spatial resolution are possible. By using a combination of in situ hybridization screening, overexpression of mRNA, recombinant ligand treatments, and morpholino-based loss-of-function studies, we identified a cohort of transcription factors and signaling molecules expressed in the ventral ectoderm, dorsal ectoderm, and interposed neurogenic ("ciliary band" region in response to the known key signaling molecules Nodal and BMP2/4 and defined the epistatic relationships between the most important genes. The resultant GRN showed a number of striking features. First, Nodal was found to be essential for the expression of all ventral and dorsal marker genes, and BMP2/4 for all dorsal genes. Second, goosecoid was identified as a central player in a regulatory sub-circuit controlling mouth formation, while tbx2/3 emerged as a critical factor for differentiation of the dorsal ectoderm. Finally, and unexpectedly, a neurogenic ectoderm regulatory circuit characterized by expression of "ciliary band" genes was triggered in the absence of TGF beta signaling. We propose a novel model for ectoderm regionalization, in which neural ectoderm is the default fate in the absence of TGF beta signaling, and suggest that the stomodeal and neural subcircuits that we

  15. Evolution, epigenetics and cooperation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bateson, Patrick

    2014-04-01

    Explanations for biological evolution in terms of changes in gene frequencies refer to outcomes rather than process. Integrating epigenetic studies with older evolutionary theories has drawn attention to the ways in which evolution occurs. Adaptation at the level of the gene is givingway to adaptation at the level of the organism and higher-order assemblages of organisms. These ideas impact on the theories of how cooperation might have evolved. Two of the theories, i.e. that cooperating individuals are genetically related or that they cooperate for self-interested reasons, have been accepted for a long time. The idea that adaptation takes place at the level of groups is much more controversial. However, bringing together studies of development with those of evolution is taking away much of the heat in the debate about the evolution of group behaviour.

  16. [Schizophrenia, environment and epigenetics].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Must, Anita; Janka, Zoltan; Horvath, Szatmar

    2011-12-01

    Psychotic, cognitive and affective symptoms defining schizophrenia may, though much less severe, manifest themselves in up to 10 to 20% of the general population. What explains the fact that in certain cases the symptoms require even constant medical supervision, while others are capable of living a normal life within social conventions? Which factors lead to the transition of mild, subclinical manifestations and vulnerability indicators towards the outburst of one of the most severe and depriving mental disorders? Genetic susceptibility is undoubtedly crucial. More recent research findings emphasize the modifying effect of specific environmental factors on gene expression. The gene-environment interplay may induce so-called epigenetic alterations which may manifest themselves over several generations. Future integrative, multi-dimensional and flexible schizophrenia research approaches focusing on the identification of neurobiological and cognitive outcomes are much needed to understand disease vulnerability, susceptibility mechanisms, periods and interactions. Research methods may differ, but our aim is common - establishing more effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

  17. [Nutritional epigenetics and epigenetic effects of human breast milk].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lukoyanova, O L; Borovik, T E

    The article provides an overview of the current literature on nutritional epigenetics. There are currently actively studied hypothesis that nutrition especially in early life or in critical periods of the development, may have a role in modulating gene expression, and, therefore, have later effects on health in adults. Nutritional epigenetics concerns knowledge about the possible effects of nutrients on gene expression. Human breast milk is well-known for its ability in preventing necrotizing enterocolitis, infectious diseases, and also non-communicable diseases, such as obesity and related disorders. This paper discusses about presumed epigenetic effects of human breast milk and some its components. While evidence suggests that a direct relationship may exist of some components of human breast milk with epigenetic changes, the mechanisms involved are stillunclear.

  18. Direct activation of EXPANSIN14 by LBD18 in the gene regulatory network of lateral root formation in Arabidopsis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Jungmook; Lee, Han Woo

    2013-02-01

    Root system architecture is important for plants to adapt to a changing environment. The major determinant of the root system is lateral roots originating from the primary root. The developmental process of lateral root formation can be divided into priming, initiation, primordium development and the emergence of lateral roots, and is well characterized in Arabidopsis. The hormone auxin plays a critical role in lateral root development, and several auxin response modules involving AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORS (ARFs), transcriptional regulators of auxin-regulated genes and Aux/IAA, negative regulators of ARFs, regulate lateral root formation. The LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES DOMAIN/ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2-LIKE (LBD/ASL) gene family encodes a unique class of transcription factors harbouring a conserved plant-specific lateral organ boundary domain and plays a role in lateral organ development of plants including lateral root formation. In our previous study, we showed that LBD18 stimulates lateral root formation in combination with LBD16 downstream of ARF7 and ARF19 during the auxin response. We have recently demonstrated that LBD18 activates expression of EXP14, a gene encoding the cell-wall loosening factor, by directly binding to the EXP14 promoter to promote lateral root emergence. Here we present the molecular function of LBD18 and its gene regulatory network during lateral root formation.

  19. Titration and hysteresis in epigenetic chromatin silencing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dayarian, Adel; Sengupta, Anirvan M

    2013-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms of silencing via heritable chromatin modifications play a major role in gene regulation and cell fate specification. We consider a model of epigenetic chromatin silencing in budding yeast and study the bifurcation diagram and characterize the bistable and the monostable regimes. The main focus of this paper is to examine how the perturbations altering the activity of histone modifying enzymes affect the epigenetic states. We analyze the implications of having the total number of silencing proteins, given by the sum of proteins bound to the nucleosomes and the ones available in the ambient, to be constant. This constraint couples different regions of chromatin through the shared reservoir of ambient silencing proteins. We show that the response of the system to perturbations depends dramatically on the titration effect caused by the above constraint. In particular, for a certain range of overall abundance of silencing proteins, the hysteresis loop changes qualitatively with certain jump replaced by continuous merger of different states. In addition, we find a nonmonotonic dependence of gene expression on the rate of histone deacetylation activity of Sir2. We discuss how these qualitative predictions of our model could be compared with experimental studies of the yeast system under anti-silencing drugs. (paper)

  20. Epigenetic marks: regulators of livestock phenotypes and conceivable sources of missing variation in livestock improvement programs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eveline M Ibeagha-Awemu

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Improvement in animal productivity has been achieved over the years through careful breeding and selection programs. Today, variations in the genome are gaining increasing importance in livestock improvement strategies. Genomic information alone however explains only a part of the phenotypic variance in traits. It is likely that a portion of the unaccounted variance is embedded in the epigenome. The epigenome encompasses epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation, histone tail modifications, chromatin remodeling and other molecules that can transmit epigenetic information such as non-coding RNA species. Epigenetic factors respond to external or internal environmental cues such as nutrition, pathogens and climate, and have the ability to change gene expression leading to emergence of specific phenotypes. Accumulating evidence shows that epigenetic marks influence gene expression and phenotypic outcome in livestock species. This review examines available evidence of the influence of epigenetic marks on livestock (cattle, sheep, goat and pig traits and discusses the potential for consideration of epigenetic markers in livestock improvement programs. However, epigenetic research activities on farm animal species are currently limited partly due to lack of recognition, funding and a global network of researchers. Therefore, considerable less attention has been given to epigenetic research in livestock species in comparison to extensive work in humans and model organisms. Elucidating therefore the epigenetic determinants of animal diseases and complex traits may represent one of the principal challenges to use epigenetic markers for further improvement of animal productivity.

  1. Epigenetic Regulation of Telomere Maintenance

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Fojtová, M.; Fajkus, Jiří

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 143, 1-3 (2014), s. 125-135 ISSN 1424-8581 Institutional support: RVO:68081707 Keywords : Chromatin * DNA methylation * Epigenetic s Subject RIV: BO - Biophysics Impact factor: 1.561, year: 2014

  2. Epigenetic Editing: targeted rewriting of epigenetic marks to modulate expression of selected target genes.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Groote, M.L.; Verschure, P.J.; Rots, M.G.

    2012-01-01

    Despite significant advances made in epigenetic research in recent decades, many questions remain unresolved, especially concerning cause and consequence of epigenetic marks with respect to gene expression modulation (GEM). Technologies allowing the targeting of epigenetic enzymes to predetermined

  3. Epigenetic Editing : targeted rewriting of epigenetic marks to modulate expression of selected target genes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Groote, Marloes L.; Verschure, Pernette J.; Rots, Marianne G.

    2012-01-01

    Despite significant advances made in epigenetic research in recent decades, many questions remain unresolved, especially concerning cause and consequence of epigenetic marks with respect to gene expression modulation (GEM). Technologies allowing the targeting of epigenetic enzymes to predetermined

  4. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas A. Milne

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetics is often defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression or chromosome stability that don’t alter the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes are established through multiple mechanisms that include DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs and the covalent modification of specific residues on histone proteins. It is becoming clear not only that aberrant epigenetic changes are common in many human diseases such as leukemia, but that these changes by their very nature are malleable, and thus are amenable to treatment. Epigenetic based therapies have so far focused on the use of histone deacetylase (HDAC inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, which tend to have more general and widespread effects on gene regulation in the cell. However, if a unique molecular pathway can be identified, diseases caused by epigenetic mechanisms are excellent candidates for the development of more targeted therapies that focus on specific gene targets, individual binding domains, or specific enzymatic activities. Designing effective targeted therapies depends on a clear understanding of the role of epigenetic mutations during disease progression. The Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL protein is an example of a developmentally important protein that controls the epigenetic activation of gene targets in part by methylating histone 3 on lysine 4. MLL is required for normal development, but is also mutated in a subset of aggressive human leukemias and thus provides a useful model for studying the link between epigenetic cell memory and human disease. The most common MLL mutations are chromosome translocations that fuse the MLL gene in frame with partner genes creating novel fusion proteins. In this review, we summarize recent work that argues MLL fusion proteins could function through a single molecular pathway, but we also highlight important data that suggests instead that multiple independent mechanisms underlie MLL mediated leukemogenesis.

  5. Epigenetic reprogramming of breast cancer cells with oocyte extracts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kumari Rajendra

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Breast cancer is a disease characterised by both genetic and epigenetic alterations. Epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressor genes is an early event in breast carcinogenesis and reversion of gene silencing by epigenetic reprogramming can provide clues to the mechanisms responsible for tumour initiation and progression. In this study we apply the reprogramming capacity of oocytes to cancer cells in order to study breast oncogenesis. Results We show that breast cancer cells can be directly reprogrammed by amphibian oocyte extracts. The reprogramming effect, after six hours of treatment, in the absence of DNA replication, includes DNA demethylation and removal of repressive histone marks at the promoters of tumour suppressor genes; also, expression of the silenced genes is re-activated in response to treatment. This activity is specific to oocytes as it is not elicited by extracts from ovulated eggs, and is present at very limited levels in extracts from mouse embryonic stem cells. Epigenetic reprogramming in oocyte extracts results in reduction of cancer cell growth under anchorage independent conditions and a reduction in tumour growth in mouse xenografts. Conclusions This study presents a new method to investigate tumour reversion by epigenetic reprogramming. After testing extracts from different sources, we found that axolotl oocyte extracts possess superior reprogramming ability, which reverses epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressor genes and tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells in a mouse xenograft model. Therefore this system can be extremely valuable for dissecting the mechanisms involved in tumour suppressor gene silencing and identifying molecular activities capable of arresting tumour growth. These applications can ultimately shed light on the contribution of epigenetic alterations in breast cancer and advance the development of epigenetic therapies.

  6. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ballabio, Erica; Milne, Thomas A., E-mail: thomas.milne@imm.ox.ac.uk [MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital Headington, Oxford OX3 9DS (United Kingdom)

    2012-09-10

    Epigenetics is often defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression or chromosome stability that don’t alter the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes are established through multiple mechanisms that include DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs and the covalent modification of specific residues on histone proteins. It is becoming clear not only that aberrant epigenetic changes are common in many human diseases such as leukemia, but that these changes by their very nature are malleable, and thus are amenable to treatment. Epigenetic based therapies have so far focused on the use of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, which tend to have more general and widespread effects on gene regulation in the cell. However, if a unique molecular pathway can be identified, diseases caused by epigenetic mechanisms are excellent candidates for the development of more targeted therapies that focus on specific gene targets, individual binding domains, or specific enzymatic activities. Designing effective targeted therapies depends on a clear understanding of the role of epigenetic mutations during disease progression. The Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) protein is an example of a developmentally important protein that controls the epigenetic activation of gene targets in part by methylating histone 3 on lysine 4. MLL is required for normal development, but is also mutated in a subset of aggressive human leukemias and thus provides a useful model for studying the link between epigenetic cell memory and human disease. The most common MLL mutations are chromosome translocations that fuse the MLL gene in frame with partner genes creating novel fusion proteins. In this review, we summarize recent work that argues MLL fusion proteins could function through a single molecular pathway, but we also highlight important data that suggests instead that multiple independent mechanisms underlie MLL mediated leukemogenesis.

  7. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ballabio, Erica; Milne, Thomas A.

    2012-01-01

    Epigenetics is often defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression or chromosome stability that don’t alter the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes are established through multiple mechanisms that include DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs and the covalent modification of specific residues on histone proteins. It is becoming clear not only that aberrant epigenetic changes are common in many human diseases such as leukemia, but that these changes by their very nature are malleable, and thus are amenable to treatment. Epigenetic based therapies have so far focused on the use of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, which tend to have more general and widespread effects on gene regulation in the cell. However, if a unique molecular pathway can be identified, diseases caused by epigenetic mechanisms are excellent candidates for the development of more targeted therapies that focus on specific gene targets, individual binding domains, or specific enzymatic activities. Designing effective targeted therapies depends on a clear understanding of the role of epigenetic mutations during disease progression. The Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) protein is an example of a developmentally important protein that controls the epigenetic activation of gene targets in part by methylating histone 3 on lysine 4. MLL is required for normal development, but is also mutated in a subset of aggressive human leukemias and thus provides a useful model for studying the link between epigenetic cell memory and human disease. The most common MLL mutations are chromosome translocations that fuse the MLL gene in frame with partner genes creating novel fusion proteins. In this review, we summarize recent work that argues MLL fusion proteins could function through a single molecular pathway, but we also highlight important data that suggests instead that multiple independent mechanisms underlie MLL mediated leukemogenesis

  8. Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Qian; Gosik, Kirk; Xing, Sujuan; Jiang, Libo; Sun, Lidan; Chinchilli, Vernon M.; Wu, Rongling

    2017-03-01

    Epigenetic reprogramming is thought to play a critical role in maintaining the normal development of embryos. How the methylation state of paternal and maternal genomes regulates embryogenesis depends on the interaction and coordination of the gametes of two sexes. While there is abundant research in exploring the epigenetic interactions of sperms and oocytes, a knowledge gap exists in the mechanistic quantitation of these interactions and their impact on embryo development. This review aims at formulating a modeling framework to address this gap through the integration and synthesis of evolutionary game theory and the latest discoveries of the epigenetic control of embryo development by next-generation sequencing. This framework, named epigenetic game theory or epiGame, views embryogenesis as an ecological system in which two highly distinct and specialized gametes coordinate through either cooperation or competition, or both, to maximize the fitness of embryos under Darwinian selection. By implementing a system of ordinary differential equations, epiGame quantifies the pattern and relative magnitude of the methylation effects on embryogenesis by the mechanisms of cooperation and competition. epiGame may gain new insight into reproductive biology and can be potentially applied to design personalized medicines for genetic disorder intervention.

  9. Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Qian; Gosik, Kirk; Xing, Sujuan; Jiang, Libo; Sun, Lidan; Chinchilli, Vernon M; Wu, Rongling

    2017-03-01

    Epigenetic reprogramming is thought to play a critical role in maintaining the normal development of embryos. How the methylation state of paternal and maternal genomes regulates embryogenesis depends on the interaction and coordination of the gametes of two sexes. While there is abundant research in exploring the epigenetic interactions of sperms and oocytes, a knowledge gap exists in the mechanistic quantitation of these interactions and their impact on embryo development. This review aims at formulating a modeling framework to address this gap through the integration and synthesis of evolutionary game theory and the latest discoveries of the epigenetic control of embryo development by next-generation sequencing. This framework, named epigenetic game theory or epiGame, views embryogenesis as an ecological system in which two highly distinct and specialized gametes coordinate through either cooperation or competition, or both, to maximize the fitness of embryos under Darwinian selection. By implementing a system of ordinary differential equations, epiGame quantifies the pattern and relative magnitude of the methylation effects on embryogenesis by the mechanisms of cooperation and competition. epiGame may gain new insight into reproductive biology and can be potentially applied to design personalized medicines for genetic disorder intervention. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Epigenetics and obesity: a relationship waiting to be explained.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symonds, Michael E; Budge, Helen; Frazier-Wood, Alexis C

    2013-01-01

    Obesity can have multifactorial causes that may change with development and are not simply attributable to one's genetic constitution. To date, expensive and laborious genome-wide association studies have only ascribed a small contribution of genetic variants to obesity. The emergence of the field of epigenetics now offers a new paradigm with which to study excess fat mass. Currently, however, there are no compelling epigenetic studies to explain the role of epigenetics in obesity, especially from a developmental perspective. It is clear that until there are advances in the understanding of the main mechanisms by which different fat types, i.e. brown, beige, and white, are established and how these differ between depots and species, population-based studies designed to determine specific aspects of epigenetics will be potentially limited. Obesity is a slowly evolving condition that is not simply explained by changes in the intake of one macronutrient. The latest advances in epigenetics, coupled with the establishment of relevant longitudinal models of obesity, which incorporate functionally relevant end points, may now permit the precise contribution of epigenetic modifications to excess fat mass to be effectively studied. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  11. Epigenetic mechanisms in experience-driven memory formation and behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puckett, Rosemary E; Lubin, Farah D

    2011-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms have long been associated with the regulation of gene-expression changes accompanying normal neuronal development and cellular differentiation; however, until recently these mechanisms were believed to be statically quiet in the adult brain. Behavioral neuroscientists have now begun to investigate these epigenetic mechanisms as potential regulators of gene-transcription changes in the CNS subserving synaptic plasticity and long-term memory (LTM) formation. Experimental evidence from learning and memory animal models has demonstrated that active chromatin remodeling occurs in terminally differentiated postmitotic neurons, suggesting that these molecular processes are indeed intimately involved in several stages of LTM formation, including consolidation, reconsolidation and extinction. Such chromatin modifications include the phosphorylation, acetylation and methylation of histone proteins and the methylation of associated DNA to subsequently affect transcriptional gene readout triggered by learning. The present article examines how such learning-induced epigenetic changes contribute to LTM formation and influence behavior. In particular, this article is a survey of the specific epigenetic mechanisms that have been demonstrated to regulate gene expression for both transcription factors and growth factors in the CNS, which are critical for LTM formation and storage, as well as how aberrant epigenetic processing can contribute to psychological states such as schizophrenia and drug addiction. Together, the findings highlighted in this article support a novel role for epigenetic mechanisms in the adult CNS serving as potential key molecular regulators of gene-transcription changes necessary for LTM formation and adult behavior. PMID:22126252

  12. Genetic and epigenetic control of plant heat responses

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Junzhong eLiu

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Plants have evolved sophisticated genetic and epigenetic regulatory systems to respond quickly to unfavorable environmental conditions such as heat, cold, drought, and pathogen infections. In particular, heat greatly affects plant growth and development, immunity and circadian rhythm, and poses a serious threat to the global food supply. According to temperatures exposing, heat can be usually classified as warm ambient temperature (about 22-27℃, high temperature (27-30℃ and extremely high temperature (37-42℃, also known as heat stress for the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The genetic mechanisms of plant responses to heat have been well studied, mainly focusing on elevated ambient temperature-mediated morphological acclimation and acceleration of flowering, modulation of plant immunity and circadian clock by high temperatures, and thermotolerance to heat stress. Recently, great progress has been achieved on epigenetic regulation of heat responses, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, histone variants, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, histone chaperones, small RNAs, long non-coding RNAs and other undefined epigenetic mechanisms. These epigenetic modifications regulate the expression of heat-responsive genes and function to prevent heat-related damage. This review focuses on recent progresses regarding the genetic and epigenetic control of heat responses in plants, and pays more attention to the role of the major epigenetic mechanisms in plant heat responses. Further research perspectives are also discussed.

  13. Epigenetic Modifications and Diabetic Retinopathy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renu A. Kowluru

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Diabetic retinopathy remains one of the most debilitating chronic complications, but despite extensive research in the field, the exact mechanism(s responsible for how retina is damaged in diabetes remains ambiguous. Many metabolic pathways have been implicated in its development, and genes associated with these pathways are altered. Diabetic environment also facilitates epigenetics modifications, which can alter the gene expression without permanent changes in DNA sequence. The role of epigenetics in diabetic retinopathy is now an emerging area, and recent work has shown that genes encoding mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (Sod2 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9 are epigenetically modified, activates of epigenetic modification enzymes, histone lysine demethylase 1 (LSD1, and DNA methyltransferase are increased, and the micro RNAs responsible for regulating nuclear transcriptional factor and VEGF are upregulated. With the growing evidence of epigenetic modifications in diabetic retinopathy, better understanding of these modifications has potential to identify novel targets to inhibit this devastating disease. Fortunately, the inhibitors and mimics targeted towards histone modification, DNA methylation, and miRNAs are now being tried for cancer and other chronic diseases, and better understanding of the role of epigenetics in diabetic retinopathy will open the door for their possible use in combating this blinding disease.

  14. Systematic comparison of the response properties of protein and RNA mediated gene regulatory motifs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iyengar, Bharat Ravi; Pillai, Beena; Venkatesh, K V; Gadgil, Chetan J

    2017-05-30

    We present a framework enabling the dissection of the effects of motif structure (feedback or feedforward), the nature of the controller (RNA or protein), and the regulation mode (transcriptional, post-transcriptional or translational) on the response to a step change in the input. We have used a common model framework for gene expression where both motif structures have an activating input and repressing regulator, with the same set of parameters, to enable a comparison of the responses. We studied the global sensitivity of the system properties, such as steady-state gain, overshoot, peak time, and peak duration, to parameters. We find that, in all motifs, overshoot correlated negatively whereas peak duration varied concavely with peak time. Differences in the other system properties were found to be mainly dependent on the nature of the controller rather than the motif structure. Protein mediated motifs showed a higher degree of adaptation i.e. a tendency to return to baseline levels; in particular, feedforward motifs exhibited perfect adaptation. RNA mediated motifs had a mild regulatory effect; they also exhibited a lower peaking tendency and mean overshoot. Protein mediated feedforward motifs showed higher overshoot and lower peak time compared to the corresponding feedback motifs.

  15. The Evolution of Gene Regulatory Networks that Define Arthropod Body Plans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Auman, Tzach; Chipman, Ariel D

    2017-09-01

    Our understanding of the genetics of arthropod body plan development originally stems from work on Drosophila melanogaster from the late 1970s and onward. In Drosophila, there is a relatively detailed model for the network of gene interactions that proceeds in a sequential-hierarchical fashion to define the main features of the body plan. Over the years, we have a growing understanding of the networks involved in defining the body plan in an increasing number of arthropod species. It is now becoming possible to tease out the conserved aspects of these networks and to try to reconstruct their evolution. In this contribution, we focus on several key nodes of these networks, starting from early patterning in which the main axes are determined and the broad morphological domains of the embryo are defined, and on to later stage wherein the growth zone network is active in sequential addition of posterior segments. The pattern of conservation of networks is very patchy, with some key aspects being highly conserved in all arthropods and others being very labile. Many aspects of early axis patterning are highly conserved, as are some aspects of sequential segment generation. In contrast, regional patterning varies among different taxa, and some networks, such as the terminal patterning network, are only found in a limited range of taxa. The growth zone segmentation network is ancient and is probably plesiomorphic to all arthropods. In some insects, it has undergone significant modification to give rise to a more hardwired network that generates individual segments separately. In other insects and in most arthropods, the sequential segmentation network has undergone a significant amount of systems drift, wherein many of the genes have changed. However, it maintains a conserved underlying logic and function. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions please

  16. Generation of dTALEs and Libraries of Synthetic TALE-Activated Promoters for Engineering of Gene Regulatory Networks in Plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schreiber, Tom; Tissier, Alain

    2017-01-01

    Transcription factors with programmable DNA-binding specificity constitute valuable tools for the design of orthogonal gene regulatory networks for synthetic biology. Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs), as natural transcription regulators, were used to design, build, and test libraries of synthetic TALE-activated promoters (STAPs) that show a broad range of expression levels in plants. In this chapter, we present protocols for the construction of artificial TALEs and corresponding STAPs.

  17. The carboxy-terminal domain of Dictyostelium C-module-binding factor is an independent gene regulatory entity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jörg Lucas

    Full Text Available The C-module-binding factor (CbfA is a multidomain protein that belongs to the family of jumonji-type (JmjC transcription regulators. In the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, CbfA regulates gene expression during the unicellular growth phase and multicellular development. CbfA and a related D. discoideum CbfA-like protein, CbfB, share a paralogous domain arrangement that includes the JmjC domain, presumably a chromatin-remodeling activity, and two zinc finger-like (ZF motifs. On the other hand, the CbfA and CbfB proteins have completely different carboxy-terminal domains, suggesting that the plasticity of such domains may have contributed to the adaptation of the CbfA-like transcription factors to the rapid genome evolution in the dictyostelid clade. To support this hypothesis we performed DNA microarray and real-time RT-PCR measurements and found that CbfA regulates at least 160 genes during the vegetative growth of D. discoideum cells. Functional annotation of these genes revealed that CbfA predominantly controls the expression of gene products involved in housekeeping functions, such as carbohydrate, purine nucleoside/nucleotide, and amino acid metabolism. The CbfA protein displays two different mechanisms of gene regulation. The expression of one set of CbfA-dependent genes requires at least the JmjC/ZF domain of the CbfA protein and thus may depend on chromatin modulation. Regulation of the larger group of genes, however, does not depend on the entire CbfA protein and requires only the carboxy-terminal domain of CbfA (CbfA-CTD. An AT-hook motif located in CbfA-CTD, which is known to mediate DNA binding to A+T-rich sequences in vitro, contributed to CbfA-CTD-dependent gene regulatory functions in vivo.

  18. An RNA editing/dsRNA binding-independent gene regulatory mechanism of ADARs and its clinical implication in cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Lihua; Song, Yangyang; Chan, Tim Hon Man; Yang, Henry; Lin, Chi Ho; Tay, Daryl Jin Tai; Hong, HuiQi; Tang, Sze Jing; Tan, Kar Tong; Huang, Xi Xiao; Lin, Jaymie Siqi; Ng, Vanessa Hui En; Maury, Julien Jean Pierre; Tenen, Daniel G; Chen, Leilei

    2017-10-13

    Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing, catalyzed by Adenosine DeAminases acting on double-stranded RNA(dsRNA) (ADAR), occurs predominantly in the 3' untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of spliced mRNA. Here we uncover an unanticipated link between ADARs (ADAR1 and ADAR2) and the expression of target genes undergoing extensive 3'UTR editing. Using METTL7A (Methyltransferase Like 7A), a novel tumor suppressor gene with multiple editing sites at its 3'UTR, we demonstrate that its expression could be repressed by ADARs beyond their RNA editing and double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding functions. ADARs interact with Dicer to augment the processing of pre-miR-27a to mature miR-27a. Consequently, mature miR-27a targets the METTL7A 3'UTR to repress its expression level. In sum, our study unveils that the extensive 3'UTR editing of METTL7A is merely a footprint of ADAR binding, and there are a subset of target genes that are equivalently regulated by ADAR1 and ADAR2 through their non-canonical RNA editing and dsRNA binding-independent functions, albeit maybe less common. The functional significance of ADARs is much more diverse than previously appreciated and this gene regulatory function of ADARs is most likely to be of high biological importance beyond the best-studied editing function. This non-editing side of ADARs opens another door to target cancer. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  19. Reconstruction of gene regulatory modules from RNA silencing of IFN-α modulators: experimental set-up and inference method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grassi, Angela; Di Camillo, Barbara; Ciccarese, Francesco; Agnusdei, Valentina; Zanovello, Paola; Amadori, Alberto; Finesso, Lorenzo; Indraccolo, Stefano; Toffolo, Gianna Maria

    2016-03-12

    Inference of gene regulation from expression data may help to unravel regulatory mechanisms involved in complex diseases or in the action of specific drugs. A challenging task for many researchers working in the field of systems biology is to build up an experiment with a limited budget and produce a dataset suitable to reconstruct putative regulatory modules worth of biological validation. Here, we focus on small-scale gene expression screens and we introduce a novel experimental set-up and a customized method of analysis to make inference on regulatory modules starting from genetic perturbation data, e.g. knockdown and overexpression data. To illustrate the utility of our strategy, it was applied to produce and analyze a dataset of quantitative real-time RT-PCR data, in which interferon-α (IFN-α) transcriptional response in endothelial cells is investigated by RNA silencing of two candidate IFN-α modulators, STAT1 and IFIH1. A putative regulatory module was reconstructed by our method, revealing an intriguing feed-forward loop, in which STAT1 regulates IFIH1 and they both negatively regulate IFNAR1. STAT1 regulation on IFNAR1 was object of experimental validation at the protein level. Detailed description of the experimental set-up and of the analysis procedure is reported, with the intent to be of inspiration for other scientists who want to realize similar experiments to reconstruct gene regulatory modules starting from perturbations of possible regulators. Application of our approach to the study of IFN-α transcriptional response modulators in endothelial cells has led to many interesting novel findings and new biological hypotheses worth of validation.

  20. Epigenetic Etiology of Intellectual Disability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwase, Shigeki; Bérubé, Nathalie G; Zhou, Zhaolan; Kasri, Nael Nadif; Battaglioli, Elena; Scandaglia, Marilyn; Barco, Angel

    2017-11-08

    Intellectual disability (ID) is a prevailing neurodevelopmental condition associated with impaired cognitive and adaptive behaviors. Many chromatin-modifying enzymes and other epigenetic regulators have been genetically associated with ID disorders (IDDs). Here we review how alterations in the function of histone modifiers, chromatin remodelers, and methyl-DNA binding proteins contribute to neurodevelopmental defects and altered brain plasticity. We also discuss how progress in human genetics has led to the generation of mouse models that unveil the molecular etiology of ID, and outline the direction in which this field is moving to identify therapeutic strategies for IDDs. Importantly, because the chromatin regulators linked to IDDs often target common downstream genes and cellular processes, the impact of research in individual syndromes goes well beyond each syndrome and can also contribute to the understanding and therapy of other IDDs. Furthermore, the investigation of these disorders helps us to understand the role of chromatin regulators in brain development, plasticity, and gene expression, thereby answering fundamental questions in neurobiology. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3710773-10$15.00/0.

  1. Epigenetics and Colorectal Cancer Pathogenesis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bardhan, Kankana; Liu, Kebin, E-mail: Kliu@gru.edu [Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia, and Cancer Center, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA 30912 (United States)

    2013-06-05

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through a multistage process that results from the progressive accumulation of genetic mutations, and frequently as a result of mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway. However, it has become evident over the past two decades that epigenetic alterations of the chromatin, particularly the chromatin components in the promoter regions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes, play key roles in CRC pathogenesis. Epigenetic regulation is organized at multiple levels, involving primarily DNA methylation and selective histone modifications in cancer cells. Assessment of the CRC epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC methylome has thousands of abnormally methylated genes. Although relatively less is known about the patterns of specific histone modifications in CRC, selective histone modifications and resultant chromatin conformation have been shown to act, in concert with DNA methylation, to regulate gene expression to mediate CRC pathogenesis. Moreover, it is now clear that not only DNA methylation but also histone modifications are reversible processes. The increased understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the context of CRC pathogenesis has led to development of epigenetic biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and epigenetic drugs for CRC therapy.

  2. Genetics and epigenetics of obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrera, Blanca M; Keildson, Sarah; Lindgren, Cecilia M

    2011-05-01

    Obesity results from interactions between environmental and genetic factors. Despite a relatively high heritability of common, non-syndromic obesity (40-70%), the search for genetic variants contributing to susceptibility has been a challenging task. Genome wide association (GWA) studies have dramatically changed the pace of detection of common genetic susceptibility variants. To date, more than 40 genetic variants have been associated with obesity and fat distribution. However, since these variants do not fully explain the heritability of obesity, other forms of variation, such as epigenetics marks, must be considered. Epigenetic marks, or "imprinting", affect gene expression without actually changing the DNA sequence. Failures in imprinting are known to cause extreme forms of obesity (e.g. Prader-Willi syndrome), but have also been convincingly associated with susceptibility to obesity. Furthermore, environmental exposures during critical developmental periods can affect the profile of epigenetic marks and result in obesity. We review the most recent evidence for genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the susceptibility and development of obesity. Only a comprehensive understanding of the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, and the metabolic processes they govern, will allow us to manage, and eventually prevent, obesity. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Transgenerational epigenetics and environmental justice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothstein, Mark A; Harrell, Heather L; Marchant, Gary E

    2017-07-01

    Human transmission to offspring and future generations of acquired epigenetic modifications has not been definitively established, although there are several environmental exposures with suggestive evidence. This article uses three examples of hazardous substances with greater exposures in vulnerable populations: pesticides, lead, and diesel exhaust. It then considers whether, if there were scientific evidence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, there would be greater attention given to concerns about environmental justice in environmental laws, regulations, and policies at all levels of government. To provide a broader perspective on environmental justice the article discusses two of the most commonly cited approaches to environmental justice. John Rawls's theory of justice as fairness, a form of egalitarianism, is frequently invoked for the principle that differential treatment of individuals is justified only if actions are designed to benefit those with the greatest need. Another theory, the capabilities approach of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, focuses on whether essential capabilities of society, such as life and health, are made available to all individuals. In applying principles of environmental justice the article considers whether there is a heightened societal obligation to protect the most vulnerable individuals from hazardous exposures that could adversely affect their offspring through epigenetic mechanisms. It concludes that unless there were compelling evidence of transgenerational epigenetic harms, it is unlikely that there would be a significant impetus to adopt new policies to prevent epigenetic harms by invoking principles of environmental justice.

  4. Epigenetics and colorectal cancer pathogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bardhan, Kankana; Liu, Kebin

    2013-06-05

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through a multistage process that results from the progressive accumulation of genetic mutations, and frequently as a result of mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway. However, it has become evident over the past two decades that epigenetic alterations of the chromatin, particularly the chromatin components in the promoter regions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes, play key roles in CRC pathogenesis. Epigenetic regulation is organized at multiple levels, involving primarily DNA methylation and selective histone modifications in cancer cells. Assessment of the CRC epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC methylome has thousands of abnormally methylated genes. Although relatively less is known about the patterns of specific histone modifications in CRC, selective histone modifications and resultant chromatin conformation have been shown to act, in concert with DNA methylation, to regulate gene expression to mediate CRC pathogenesis. Moreover, it is now clear that not only DNA methylation but also histone modifications are reversible processes. The increased understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the context of CRC pathogenesis has led to development of epigenetic biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and epigenetic drugs for CRC therapy.

  5. Epigenetics and Colorectal Cancer Pathogenesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bardhan, Kankana; Liu, Kebin

    2013-01-01

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through a multistage process that results from the progressive accumulation of genetic mutations, and frequently as a result of mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway. However, it has become evident over the past two decades that epigenetic alterations of the chromatin, particularly the chromatin components in the promoter regions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes, play key roles in CRC pathogenesis. Epigenetic regulation is organized at multiple levels, involving primarily DNA methylation and selective histone modifications in cancer cells. Assessment of the CRC epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC methylome has thousands of abnormally methylated genes. Although relatively less is known about the patterns of specific histone modifications in CRC, selective histone modifications and resultant chromatin conformation have been shown to act, in concert with DNA methylation, to regulate gene expression to mediate CRC pathogenesis. Moreover, it is now clear that not only DNA methylation but also histone modifications are reversible processes. The increased understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the context of CRC pathogenesis has led to development of epigenetic biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and epigenetic drugs for CRC therapy

  6. Epigenetics and Colorectal Cancer Pathogenesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kebin Liu

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Colorectal cancer (CRC develops through a multistage process that results from the progressive accumulation of genetic mutations, and frequently as a result of mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway. However, it has become evident over the past two decades that epigenetic alterations of the chromatin, particularly the chromatin components in the promoter regions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes, play key roles in CRC pathogenesis. Epigenetic regulation is organized at multiple levels, involving primarily DNA methylation and selective histone modifications in cancer cells. Assessment of the CRC epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC methylome has thousands of abnormally methylated genes. Although relatively less is known about the patterns of specific histone modifications in CRC, selective histone modifications and resultant chromatin conformation have been shown to act, in concert with DNA methylation, to regulate gene expression to mediate CRC pathogenesis. Moreover, it is now clear that not only DNA methylation but also histone modifications are reversible processes. The increased understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the context of CRC pathogenesis has led to development of epigenetic biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and epigenetic drugs for CRC therapy.

  7. The Epigenetic Cytocrin Pathway to the Nucleus. Epigenetic Factors, Epigenetic Mediators, and Epigenetic Traits. A Biochemist Perspective

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gemma Navarro

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available A single word, Epigenetics, underlies one exciting subject in today's Science, with different sides and with interactions with philosophy. The apparent trivial description includes everything in between genotype and phenotype that occurs for a given unique DNA sequence/genome. This Perspective article first presents an historical overview and the reasons for the lack of consensus in the field, which derives from different interpretations of the diverse operative definitions of Epigenetics. In an attempt to reconcile the different views, we propose a novel concept, the “cytocrin system.” Secondly, the article questions the inheritability requirement and makes emphasis in the epigenetic mechanisms, known or to be discovered, that provide hope for combating human diseases. Hopes in cancer are at present in deep need of deciphering mechanisms to support ad hoc therapeutic approaches. Better perspectives are for diseases of the central nervous system, in particular to combat neurodegeneration and/or cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease. Neurons are post-mitotic cells and, therefore, epigenetic targets to prevent neurodegeneration should operate in non-dividing diseased cells. Accordingly, epigenetic-based human therapy may not need to count much on transmissible potential.

  8. Epigenetic effects of ionizing radiation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    EI-Naggar, A.M.

    2007-01-01

    Data generated during the last three decades provide evidence of Epigenetic Effects that ave-induced by ionizing radiation, particularly those of high LET values, and low level dose exposures. Epigenesist is defined as the stepwise process by which genetic information, as modified by environmental influences, is translated into the substance and behavior of cells, tissues, organism.The epigenetic effects cited in the literature are essentially classified into fine types depending on the type and nature of the effect induced.The most accepted postulation, for the occurrence of these epigenetic effects, is a radiation induced bio electric disturbances in the environment of the non-irradiated cellular volume. This will trigger signals that will induce effects in the unirradiated cells.The epigenetic effects referenced in the literature up to date are five types; namely, Genomic Instability, Bystander. Effects, Clastogenic Plasma Factors,, Abscopal Effects, and Tran generational Effects.The demonstration of Epigenetic Effects associated with exposure to ionizing radiation indicates the need to re- examine the concept of radiation dose and target size. Also an improved understanding of qualifiring and quantifying radiation risk estimates may be attained. Also, a more logical means to understand the underlying mechanisms of radiation induced carcinogenic transformation of cells

  9. Epigenetic battle of the sexes. Comment on: ;Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition; by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Song

    2017-03-01

    Qian Wang et al. present an interesting framework, named epigenetic game theory, for modeling sex-based epigenetic dynamics during embryogenesis from a new viewpoint of evolutionary game theory [1]. That is, epigenomes of sperms and oocytes may coordinate through either cooperation or competition, or both, to affect the fitness of embryos. The work uses a set of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) to describe longitudinal trajectories of DNA methylation levels in both parental and maternal gametes and their dependence on each other. The insights gained from this review, i.e. dynamic methylation profiles and their interaction are potentially important to many fields, such as biomedicine and agriculture.

  10. Artificial Epigenetic Networks: Automatic Decomposition of Dynamical Control Tasks Using Topological Self-Modification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Alexander P; Caves, Leo S D; Stepney, Susan; Tyrrell, Andy M; Lones, Michael A

    2017-01-01

    This paper describes the artificial epigenetic network, a recurrent connectionist architecture that is able to dynamically modify its topology in order to automatically decompose and solve dynamical problems. The approach is motivated by the behavior of gene regulatory networks, particularly the epigenetic process of chromatin remodeling that leads to topological change and which underlies the differentiation of cells within complex biological organisms. We expected this approach to be useful in situations where there is a need to switch between different dynamical behaviors, and do so in a sensitive and robust manner in the absence of a priori information about problem structure. This hypothesis was tested using a series of dynamical control tasks, each requiring solutions that could express different dynamical behaviors at different stages within the task. In each case, the addition of topological self-modification was shown to improve the performance and robustness of controllers. We believe this is due to the ability of topological changes to stabilize attractors, promoting stability within a dynamical regime while allowing rapid switching between different regimes. Post hoc analysis of the controllers also demonstrated how the partitioning of the networks could provide new insights into problem structure.

  11. Discussing epigenetics in Southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-01

    With the goal of discussing how epigenetic control and chromatin remodeling contribute to the various processes that lead to cellular plasticity and disease, this symposium marks the collaboration between the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France and the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Organized by Paolo Sassone-Corsi (UCI) and held at the Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences at the UCI campus December 15–16, 2011, this was the first of a series of international conferences on epigenetics dedicated to the scientific community in Southern California. The meeting also served as the official kick off for the newly formed Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism at the School of Medicine, UCI (http://cem.igb.uci.edu). PMID:22414797

  12. Epigenetics in cancer stem cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toh, Tan Boon; Lim, Jhin Jieh; Chow, Edward Kai-Hua

    2017-02-01

    Compelling evidence have demonstrated that bulk tumors can arise from a unique subset of cells commonly termed "cancer stem cells" that has been proposed to be a strong driving force of tumorigenesis and a key mechanism of therapeutic resistance. Recent advances in epigenomics have illuminated key mechanisms by which epigenetic regulation contribute to cancer progression. In this review, we present a discussion of how deregulation of various epigenetic pathways can contribute to cancer initiation and tumorigenesis, particularly with respect to maintenance and survival of cancer stem cells. This information, together with several promising clinical and preclinical trials of epigenetic modulating drugs, offer new possibilities for targeting cancer stem cells as well as improving cancer therapy overall.

  13. TranscriptomeBrowser 3.0: introducing a new compendium of molecular interactions and a new visualization tool for the study of gene regulatory networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lepoivre Cyrille

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Deciphering gene regulatory networks by in silico approaches is a crucial step in the study of the molecular perturbations that occur in diseases. The development of regulatory maps is a tedious process requiring the comprehensive integration of various evidences scattered over biological databases. Thus, the research community would greatly benefit from having a unified database storing known and predicted molecular interactions. Furthermore, given the intrinsic complexity of the data, the development of new tools offering integrated and meaningful visualizations of molecular interactions is necessary to help users drawing new hypotheses without being overwhelmed by the density of the subsequent graph. Results We extend the previously developed TranscriptomeBrowser database with a set of tables containing 1,594,978 human and mouse molecular interactions. The database includes: (i predicted regulatory interactions (computed by scanning vertebrate alignments with a set of 1,213 position weight matrices, (ii potential regulatory interactions inferred from systematic analysis of ChIP-seq experiments, (iii regulatory interactions curated from the literature, (iv predicted post-transcriptional regulation by micro-RNA, (v protein kinase-substrate interactions and (vi physical protein-protein interactions. In order to easily retrieve and efficiently analyze these interactions, we developed In-teractomeBrowser, a graph-based knowledge browser that comes as a plug-in for Transcriptome-Browser. The first objective of InteractomeBrowser is to provide a user-friendly tool to get new insight into any gene list by providing a context-specific display of putative regulatory and physical interactions. To achieve this, InteractomeBrowser relies on a "cell compartments-based layout" that makes use of a subset of the Gene Ontology to map gene products onto relevant cell compartments. This layout is particularly powerful for visual integration

  14. TranscriptomeBrowser 3.0: introducing a new compendium of molecular interactions and a new visualization tool for the study of gene regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lepoivre, Cyrille; Bergon, Aurélie; Lopez, Fabrice; Perumal, Narayanan B; Nguyen, Catherine; Imbert, Jean; Puthier, Denis

    2012-01-31

    Deciphering gene regulatory networks by in silico approaches is a crucial step in the study of the molecular perturbations that occur in diseases. The development of regulatory maps is a tedious process requiring the comprehensive integration of various evidences scattered over biological databases. Thus, the research community would greatly benefit from having a unified database storing known and predicted molecular interactions. Furthermore, given the intrinsic complexity of the data, the development of new tools offering integrated and meaningful visualizations of molecular interactions is necessary to help users drawing new hypotheses without being overwhelmed by the density of the subsequent graph. We extend the previously developed TranscriptomeBrowser database with a set of tables containing 1,594,978 human and mouse molecular interactions. The database includes: (i) predicted regulatory interactions (computed by scanning vertebrate alignments with a set of 1,213 position weight matrices), (ii) potential regulatory interactions inferred from systematic analysis of ChIP-seq experiments, (iii) regulatory interactions curated from the literature, (iv) predicted post-transcriptional regulation by micro-RNA, (v) protein kinase-substrate interactions and (vi) physical protein-protein interactions. In order to easily retrieve and efficiently analyze these interactions, we developed In-teractomeBrowser, a graph-based knowledge browser that comes as a plug-in for Transcriptome-Browser. The first objective of InteractomeBrowser is to provide a user-friendly tool to get new insight into any gene list by providing a context-specific display of putative regulatory and physical interactions. To achieve this, InteractomeBrowser relies on a "cell compartments-based layout" that makes use of a subset of the Gene Ontology to map gene products onto relevant cell compartments. This layout is particularly powerful for visual integration of heterogeneous biological information

  15. Genome-wide identification of regulatory elements and reconstruction of gene regulatory networks of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under carbon deprivation.

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    Flavia Vischi Winck

    Full Text Available The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a long-established model organism for studies on photosynthesis and carbon metabolism-related physiology. Under conditions of air-level carbon dioxide concentration [CO2], a carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM is induced to facilitate cellular carbon uptake. CCM increases the availability of carbon dioxide at the site of cellular carbon fixation. To improve our understanding of the transcriptional control of the CCM, we employed FAIRE-seq (formaldehyde-assisted Isolation of Regulatory Elements, followed by deep sequencing to determine nucleosome-depleted chromatin regions of algal cells subjected to carbon deprivation. Our FAIRE data recapitulated the positions of known regulatory elements in the promoter of the periplasmic carbonic anhydrase (Cah1 gene, which is upregulated during CCM induction, and revealed new candidate regulatory elements at a genome-wide scale. In addition, time series expression patterns of 130 transcription factor (TF and transcription regulator (TR genes were obtained for cells cultured under photoautotrophic condition and subjected to a shift from high to low [CO2]. Groups of co-expressed genes were identified and a putative directed gene-regulatory network underlying the CCM was reconstructed from the gene expression data using the recently developed IOTA (inner composition alignment method. Among the candidate regulatory genes, two members of the MYB-related TF family, Lcr1 (Low-CO 2 response regulator 1 and Lcr2 (Low-CO2 response regulator 2, may play an important role in down-regulating the expression of a particular set of TF and TR genes in response to low [CO2]. The results obtained provide new insights into the transcriptional control of the CCM and revealed more than 60 new candidate regulatory genes. Deep sequencing of nucleosome-depleted genomic regions indicated the presence of new, previously unknown regulatory elements in the C. reinhardtii genome

  16. Epigenetic Inheritance Across the Landscape

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    Amy Vaughn Whipple

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The study of epigenomic variation at the landscape-level in plants may add important insight to studies of adaptive variation. A major goal of landscape genomic studies is to identify genomic regions contributing to adaptive variation across the landscape. Heritable variation in epigenetic marks, resulting in transgenerational plasticity, can influence fitness-related traits. Epigenetic marks are influenced by the genome, the environment, and their interaction, and can be inherited independently of the genome. Thus, epigenomic variation likely influences the heritability of many adaptive traits, but the extent of this influence remains largely unknown. Here we summarize the relevance of epigenetic inheritance to ecological and evolutionary processes, and review the literature on landscape-level patterns of epigenetic variation. Landscape-level patterns of epigenomic variation in plants generally show greater levels of isolation by distance and isolation by environment then is found for the genome, but the causes of these patterns are not yet clear. Linkage between the environment and epigenomic variation has been clearly shown within a single generation, but demonstrating transgenerational inheritance requires more complex breeding and/or experimental designs. Transgenerational epigenetic variation may alter the interpretation of landscape genomic studies that rely upon phenotypic analyses, but should have less influence on landscape genomic approaches that rely upon outlier analyses or genome-environment associations. We suggest that multi-generation common garden experiments conducted across multiple environments will allow researchers to understand which parts of the epigenome are inherited, as well as to parse out the relative contribution of heritable epigenetic variation to the phenotype.

  17. Epigenetic Inheritance across the Landscape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whipple, Amy V; Holeski, Liza M

    2016-01-01

    The study of epigenomic variation at the landscape-level in plants may add important insight to studies of adaptive variation. A major goal of landscape genomic studies is to identify genomic regions contributing to adaptive variation across the landscape. Heritable variation in epigenetic marks, resulting in transgenerational plasticity, can influence fitness-related traits. Epigenetic marks are influenced by the genome, the environment, and their interaction, and can be inherited independently of the genome. Thus, epigenomic variation likely influences the heritability of many adaptive traits, but the extent of this influence remains largely unknown. Here, we summarize the relevance of epigenetic inheritance to ecological and evolutionary processes, and review the literature on landscape-level patterns of epigenetic variation. Landscape-level patterns of epigenomic variation in plants generally show greater levels of isolation by distance and isolation by environment then is found for the genome, but the causes of these patterns are not yet clear. Linkage between the environment and epigenomic variation has been clearly shown within a single generation, but demonstrating transgenerational inheritance requires more complex breeding and/or experimental designs. Transgenerational epigenetic variation may alter the interpretation of landscape genomic studies that rely upon phenotypic analyses, but should have less influence on landscape genomic approaches that rely upon outlier analyses or genome-environment associations. We suggest that multi-generation common garden experiments conducted across multiple environments will allow researchers to understand which parts of the epigenome are inherited, as well as to parse out the relative contribution of heritable epigenetic variation to the phenotype.

  18. Probing the evolutionary history of epigenetic mechanisms: what can we learn from marine diatoms

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    Achal Rastogi

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Recent progress made on epigenetic studies revealed the conservation of epigenetic features in deep diverse branching species including Stramenopiles, plants and animals. This suggests their fundamental role in shaping species genomes across different evolutionary time scales. Diatoms are a highly successful and diverse group of phytoplankton with a fossil record of about 190 million years ago. They are distantly related from other super-groups of Eukaryotes and have retained some of the epigenetic features found in mammals and plants suggesting their ancient origin. Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Thalassiosira pseudonana, pennate and centric diatoms, respectively, emerged as model species to address questions on the evolution of epigenetic phenomena such as what has been lost, retained or has evolved in contemporary species. In the present work, we will discuss how the study of non-model or emerging model organisms, such as diatoms, helps understand the evolutionary history of epigenetic mechanisms with a particular focus on DNA methylation and histone modifications.

  19. Epigenetic dynamics across the cell cycle

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kheir, Tony Bou; Lund, Anders H.

    2010-01-01

    Progression of the mammalian cell cycle depends on correct timing and co-ordination of a series of events, which are managed by the cellular transcriptional machinery and epigenetic mechanisms governing genome accessibility. Epigenetic chromatin modifications are dynamic across the cell cycle...... a correct inheritance of epigenetic chromatin modifications to daughter cells. In this chapter, we summarize the current knowledge on the dynamics of epigenetic chromatin modifications during progression of the cell cycle....

  20. Identifying Tmem59 related gene regulatory network of mouse neural stem cell from a compendium of expression profiles

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    Guo Xiuyun

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Neural stem cells offer potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, such like Alzheimer's disease (AD. While much progress has been made in understanding neural stem cell function, a precise description of the molecular mechanisms regulating neural stem cells is not yet established. This lack of knowledge is a major barrier holding back the discovery of therapeutic uses of neural stem cells. In this paper, the regulatory mechanism of mouse neural stem cell (NSC differentiation by tmem59 is explored on the genome-level. Results We identified regulators of tmem59 during the differentiation of mouse NSCs from a compendium of expression profiles. Based on the microarray experiment, we developed the parallelized SWNI algorithm to reconstruct gene regulatory networks of mouse neural stem cells. From the inferred tmem59 related gene network including 36 genes, pou6f1 was identified to regulate tmem59 significantly and might play an important role in the differentiation of NSCs in mouse brain. There are four pathways shown in the gene network, indicating that tmem59 locates in the downstream of the signalling pathway. The real-time RT-PCR results shown that the over-expression of pou6f1 could significantly up-regulate tmem59 expression in C17.2 NSC line. 16 out of 36 predicted genes in our constructed network have been reported to be AD-related, including Ace, aqp1, arrdc3, cd14, cd59a, cds1, cldn1, cox8b, defb11, folr1, gdi2, mmp3, mgp, myrip, Ripk4, rnd3, and sncg. The localization of tmem59 related genes and functional-related gene groups based on the Gene Ontology (GO annotation was also identified. Conclusions Our findings suggest that the expression of tmem59 is an important factor contributing to AD. The parallelized SWNI algorithm increased the efficiency of network reconstruction significantly. This study enables us to highlight novel genes that may be involved in NSC differentiation and provides a shortcut to

  1. Epigenetics: a new frontier in dentistry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, S D; Hughes, T E; Adler, C J; Brook, A H; Townsend, G C

    2014-06-01

    In 2007, only four years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, the journal Science announced that epigenetics was the 'breakthrough of the year'. Time magazine placed it second in the top 10 discoveries of 2009. While our genetic code (i.e. our DNA) contains all of the information to produce the elements we require to function, our epigenetic code determines when and where genes in the genetic code are expressed. Without the epigenetic code, the genetic code is like an orchestra without a conductor. Although there is now a substantial amount of published research on epigenetics in medicine and biology, epigenetics in dental research is in its infancy. However, epigenetics promises to become increasingly relevant to dentistry because of the role it plays in gene expression during development and subsequently potentially influencing oral disease susceptibility. This paper provides a review of the field of epigenetics aimed specifically at oral health professionals. It defines epigenetics, addresses the underlying concepts and provides details about specific epigenetic molecular mechanisms. Further, we discuss some of the key areas where epigenetics is implicated, and review the literature on epigenetics research in dentistry, including its relevance to clinical disciplines. This review considers some implications of epigenetics for the future of dental practice, including a 'personalized medicine' approach to the management of common oral diseases. © 2014 Australian Dental Association.

  2. Epigenetic Epidemiology of Complex Diseases Using Twins

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tan, Qihua

    2013-01-01

    through multiple epigenetic mechanisms. This paper reviews the new developments in using twins to study disease-related epigenetic alterations, links them to lifetime environmental exposure with a focus on the discordant twin design and proposes novel data-analytical approaches with the aim of promoting...... a more efficient use of twins in epigenetic studies of complex human diseases....

  3. [Epigenetics in allergic diseases and asthma].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castro-Rodríguez, José A; Krause, Bernardo J; Uauy, Ricardo; Casanello, Paola

    2016-01-01

    Allergic diseases and asthma are the result of complex interactions between genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Asthma is one of the most prevalent chronic disease among children. In this article we review some environmental factors like: allergen exposition, tobacco, bacteria, microbial components, diet, obesity and stress, which influences during intrauterine and infancy life in the epigenetic regulation of asthma and allergic diseases. The review has been done in three models: in-vitro, animal and human. Copyright © 2016 Sociedad Chilena de Pediatría. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  4. Epigenetic Modifications and Potential New Treatment Targets in Diabetic Retinopathy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lorena Perrone

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Retinopathy is a debilitating vascular complication of diabetes. As with other diabetic complications, diabetic retinopathy (DR is characterized by the metabolic memory, which has been observed both in DR patients and in DR animal models. Evidences have provided that after a period of poor glucose control insulin or diabetes drug treatment fails to prevent the development and progression of DR even when good glycemic control is reinstituted (glucose normalization, suggesting a metabolic memory phenomenon. Recent studies also underline the role of epigenetic chromatin modifications as mediators of the metabolic memory. Indeed, epigenetic changes may lead to stable modification of gene expression, participating in DR pathogenesis. Moreover, increasing evidences suggest that environmental factors such as chronic hyperglycemia are implicated DR progression and may also affect the epigenetic state. Here we review recent findings demonstrating the key role of epigenetics in the progression of DR. Further elucidation of epigenetic mechanisms, acting both at the cis- and trans-chromatin structural elements, will yield new insights into the pathogenesis of DR and will open the way for the discovery of novel therapeutic targets to prevent DR progression.

  5. The epigenetic bottleneck of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sananbenesi, Farahnaz; Fischer, Andre

    2009-11-01

    The orchestrated expression of genes is essential for the development and survival of every organism. In addition to the role of transcription factors, the availability of genes for transcription is controlled by a series of proteins that regulate epigenetic chromatin remodeling. The two most studied epigenetic phenomena are DNA methylation and histone-tail modifications. Although a large body of literature implicates the deregulation of histone acetylation and DNA methylation with the pathogenesis of cancer, recently epigenetic mechanisms have also gained much attention in the neuroscientific community. In fact, a new field of research is rapidly emerging and there is now accumulating evidence that the molecular machinery that regulates histone acetylation and DNA methylation is intimately involved in synaptic plasticity and is essential for learning and memory. Importantly, dysfunction of epigenetic gene expression in the brain might be involved in neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. In particular, it was found that inhibition of histone deacetylases attenuates synaptic and neuronal loss in animal models for various neurodegenerative diseases and improves cognitive function. In this article, we will summarize recent data in the novel field of neuroepigenetics and discuss the question why epigenetic strategies are suitable therapeutic approaches for the treatment of brain diseases.

  6. Epigenetic remodeling and modification to preserve skeletogenesis in vivo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godfrey, Tanner C; Wildman, Benjamin J; Javed, Amjad; Lengner, Christopher J; Hassan, Mohammad Quamarul

    2018-12-01

    Current studies offer little insight on how epigenetic remodeling of bone-specific chromatin maintains bone mass in vivo. Understanding this gap and precise mechanism is pivotal for future therapeutic innovation to prevent bone loss. Recently, we found that low bone mass is associated with decreased H3K27 acetylation (activating histone modification) of bone specific gene promoters. Here, we aim to elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms by which a miRNA cluster controls bone synthesis and homeostasis by regulating chromatin accessibility and H3K27 acetylation. In order to decipher the epigenetic axis that regulates osteogenesis, we studied a drug inducible anti-miR-23a cluster (miR-23a Cl ZIP ) knockdown mouse model. MiR-23a cluster knockdown (heterozygous) mice developed high bone mass. These mice displayed increased expression of Runx2 and Baf45a, essential factors for skeletogenesis; and decreased expression of Ezh2, a chromatin repressor indispensable for skeletogenesis. ChIP assays using miR-23a Cl knockdown calvarial cells revealed a BAF45A-EZH2 epigenetic antagonistic mechanism that maintains bone formation. Together, our findings support that the miR-23a Cl connection with tissue-specific RUNX2-BAF45A-EZH2 function is a novel molecular epigenetic axis through which a miRNA cluster orchestrates chromatin modification to elicit major effects on osteogenesis in vivo.

  7. Twin methodology in epigenetic studies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tan, Qihua; Christiansen, Lene; von Bornemann Hjelmborg, Jacob

    2015-01-01

    of diseases to molecular phenotypes in functional genomics especially in epigenetics, a thriving field of research that concerns the environmental regulation of gene expression through DNA methylation, histone modification, microRNA and long non-coding RNA expression, etc. The application of the twin method...

  8. Individuality and epigenetics in obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campión, J; Milagro, F I; Martínez, J A

    2009-07-01

    Excessive weight gain arises from the interactions among environmental factors, genetic predisposition and the individual behavior. However, it is becoming evident that interindividual differences in obesity susceptibility depend also on epigenetic factors. Epigenetics studies the heritable changes in gene expression that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. These processes include DNA methylation, covalent histone modifications, chromatin folding and, more recently described, the regulatory action of miRNAs and polycomb group complexes. In this review, we focus on experimental evidences concerning dietary factors influencing obesity development by epigenetic mechanisms, reporting treatment doses and durations. Moreover, we present a bioinformatic analysis of promoter regions for the search of future epigenetic biomarkers of obesity, including methylation pattern analyses of several obesity-related genes (epiobesigenes), such as FGF2, PTEN, CDKN1A and ESR1, implicated in adipogenesis, SOCS1/SOCS3, in inflammation, and COX7A1 LPL, CAV1, and IGFBP3, in intermediate metabolism and insulin signalling. The identification of those individuals that at an early age could present changes in the methylation profiles of specific genes could help to predict their susceptibility to later develop obesity, which may allow to prevent and follow-up its progress, as well as to research and develop newer therapeutic approaches.

  9. Epigenetic differences between sister chromatids?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lansdorp, Peter M.; Falconer, Ester; Tao, Jiang; Brind'Amour, Julie; Naumann, Ulrike; Kanz, L; Fibbe, WE; Lengerke, C; Dick, JE

    2012-01-01

    Semi-conservative replication ensures that the DNA sequence of sister chromatids is identical except for replication errors and variation in the length of telomere repeats resulting from replicative losses and variable end processing. What happens with the various epigenetic marks during DNA

  10. Epigenetic Placental Programming of Preeclampsia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Preeclampsia (PE) affects 8-10% of women in the US and long-term consequences include subsequent development of maternal hypertension and hypertension in offspring. As methylation patterns are established during fetal life, we focused on epigenetic alterations in DNA methylation as a plausible expla...

  11. Circadian clocks, epigenetics, and cancer

    KAUST Repository

    Masri, Selma; Kinouchi, Kenichiro; Sassone-Corsi, Paolo

    2015-01-01

    The interplay between circadian rhythm and cancer has been suggested for more than a decade based on the observations that shift work and cancer incidence are linked. Accumulating evidence implicates the circadian clock in cancer survival and proliferation pathways. At the molecular level, multiple control mechanisms have been proposed to link circadian transcription and cell-cycle control to tumorigenesis.The circadian gating of the cell cycle and subsequent control of cell proliferation is an area of active investigation. Moreover, the circadian clock is a transcriptional system that is intricately regulated at the epigenetic level. Interestingly, the epigenetic landscape at the level of histone modifications, DNA methylation, and small regulatory RNAs are differentially controlled in cancer cells. This concept raises the possibility that epigenetic control is a common thread linking the clock with cancer, though little scientific evidence is known to date.This review focuses on the link between circadian clock and cancer, and speculates on the possible connections at the epigenetic level that could further link the circadian clock to tumor initiation or progression.

  12. Autism Spectrum Disorders and Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grafodatskaya, Daria; Chung, Brian; Szatmari, Peter; Weksberg, Rosanna

    2010-01-01

    Objective: Current research suggests that the causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are multifactorial and include both genetic and environmental factors. Several lines of evidence suggest that epigenetics also plays an important role in ASD etiology and that it might, in fact, integrate genetic and environmental influences to dysregulate…

  13. Epigenetics of the Developing Brain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Champagne, Frances A.

    2015-01-01

    Advances in understanding of the dynamic molecular interplay between DNA and its surrounding proteins suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are a critical link between early life experiences (e.g., prenatal stress, parent-offspring interactions) and long-term changes in brain and behavior. Although much of this evidence comes from animal studies,…

  14. Re: Epigenetics of Cellular Reprogramming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fehmi Narter

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available EDITORIAL COMMENT Cells have some specific molecular and physiological properties that act their functional process. However, many cells have an ability of efficient transition from one type to another. This ability is named plasticity. This process occurs due to epigenetic reprogramming that involves changes in transcription and chromatin structure. Some changes during reprogramming that have been identified in recent years as genomic demethylation (both histone and DNA, histone acetylation and loss of heterochromatin during the development of many diseases such as infertility and cancer progression. In this review, the authors focused on the latest work addressing the mechanisms surrounding the epigenetic regulation of various types of reprogramming, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, cell fusion and transcription factor- and microRNA-induced pluripotency. There are many responsible factors such as genes, cytokines, proteins, co-factors (i.e. vitamin C in this local area network. The exact mechanisms by which these changes are achieved and the detailed interplay between the players responsible, however, remain relatively unclear. In the treatment of diseases, such as infertility, urooncology, reconstructive urology, etc., epigenetic changes and cellular reprogramming will be crucial in the near future. Central to achieving that goal is a more thorough understanding of the epigenetic state of fully reprogrammed cells. By the progress of researches on this topic, new treatment modalities will be identified for these diseases.

  15. Using game theory to investigate the epigenetic control mechanisms of embryo development: Comment on: "Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition" by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Le; Zhang, Shaoxiang

    2017-03-01

    A body of research [1-7] has already shown that epigenetic reprogramming plays a critical role in maintaining the normal development of embryos. However, the mechanistic quantitation of the epigenetic interactions between sperms and oocytes and the related impact on embryo development are still not clear [6,7]. In this study, Wang et al., [8] develop a modeling framework that addresses this question by integrating game theory and the latest discoveries of the epigenetic control of embryo development. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Epigenetics and Therapeutic Targets Mediating Neuroprotection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qureshi, Irfan A.; Mehler, Mark F.

    2015-01-01

    The rapidly evolving science of epigenetics is transforming our understanding of the nervous system in health and disease and holds great promise for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches targeting neurological diseases. Increasing evidence suggests that epigenetic factors and mechanisms serve as important mediators of the pathogenic processes that lead to irrevocable neural injury and of countervailing homeostatic and regenerative responses. Epigenetics is, therefore, of considerable translational significance to the field of neuroprotection. In this brief review, we provide an overview of epigenetic mechanisms and highlight the emerging roles played by epigenetic processes in neural cell dysfunction and death and in resultant neuroprotective responses. PMID:26236020

  17. Epigenetic Modifications: Therapeutic Potential in Cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manisha Sachan

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic modifications and alterations in chromatin structure and function contribute to the cumulative changes observed as normal cells undergo malignant transformation. These modifications and enzymes (DNA methyltransferases, histone deacetylases, histone methyltransferases, and demethylases related to them have been deeply studied to develop new drugs, epigenome-targeted therapies and new diagnostic tools. Epigenetic modifiers aim to restore normal epigenetic modification patterns through the inhibition of epigenetic modifier enzymes. Four of them (azacitidine, decitabine, vorinostat and romidepsin are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This article provides an overview about the known functional roles of epigenetic enzymes in cancer development.

  18. Shaping the learning curve: epigenetic dynamics in neural plasticity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zohar Ziv Bronfman

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available A key characteristic of learning and neural plasticity is state-dependent acquisition dynamics reflected by the non-linear learning curve that links increase in learning with practice. Here we propose that the manner by which epigenetic states of individual cells change during learning contributes to the shape of the neural and behavioral learning curve. We base our suggestion on recent studies showing that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone acetylation and RNA-mediated gene regulation are intimately involved in the establishment and maintenance of long-term neural plasticity, reflecting specific learning-histories and influencing future learning. Our model, which is the first to suggest a dynamic molecular account of the shape of the learning curve, leads to several testable predictions regarding the link between epigenetic dynamics at the promoter, gene-network and neural-network levels. This perspective opens up new avenues for therapeutic interventions in neurological pathologies.

  19. Epigenetic effects of green tea polyphenols in cancer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henning, Susanne M; Wang, Piwen; Carpenter, Catherine L; Heber, David

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetics describes heritable alterations of gene expression and chromatin organization without changes in DNA sequence. Both hypermethylation and hypomethylation of DNA can affect gene expression and the multistep process of carcinogenesis. Epigenetic changes are reversible and may be targeted by dietary interventions. Bioactive compounds from green tea (GT) such as (–)-epigallocatechin gallate have been shown to alter DNA methyltransferase activity in studies of esophageal, oral, skin, Tregs, lung, breast and prostate cancer cells, which may contribute to the chemopreventive effect of GT. Three out of four mouse model studies have confirmed the inhibitory effect of (–)-epigallocatechin gallate on DNA methylation. A human study demonstrated that decreased methylation of CDX2 and BMP-2 in gastric carcinoma was associated with higher GT consumption. It is the goal of this review to summarize our current knowledge of the potential of GT to alter epigenetic processes, which may be useful in chemoprevention. PMID:24283885

  20. Epigenetic modifications and diabetic nephropathy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marpadga A. Reddy

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Diabetic nephropathy (DN is a major complication associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and a leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Conventional therapeutic strategies are not fully efficacious in the treatment of DN, suggesting an incomplete understanding of the gene regulation mechanisms involved in its pathogenesis. Furthermore, evidence from clinical trials has demonstrated a “metabolic memory” of prior exposure to hyperglycemia that continues to persist despite subsequent glycemic control. This remains a major challenge in the treatment of DN and other vascular complications. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, nucleosomal histone modifications, and noncoding RNAs control gene expression through regulation of chromatin structure and function and post-transcriptional mechanisms without altering the underlying DNA sequence. Emerging evidence indicates that multiple factors involved in the etiology of diabetes can alter epigenetic mechanisms and regulate the susceptibility to diabetes complications. Recent studies have demonstrated the involvement of histone lysine methylation in the regulation of key fibrotic and inflammatory genes related to diabetes complications including DN. Interestingly, histone lysine methylation persisted in vascular cells even after withdrawal from the diabetic milieu, demonstrating a potential role of epigenetic modifications in metabolic memory. Rapid advances in high-throughput technologies in the fields of genomics and epigenomics can lead to the identification of genome-wide alterations in key epigenetic modifications in vascular and renal cells in diabetes. Altogether, these findings can lead to the identification of potential predictive biomarkers and development of novel epigenetic therapies for diabetes and its associated complications.

  1. Epigenetics in Cancer: A Hematological Perspective.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maximilian Stahl

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available For several decades, we have known that epigenetic regulation is disrupted in cancer. Recently, an increasing body of data suggests epigenetics might be an intersection of current cancer research trends: next generation sequencing, immunology, metabolomics, and cell aging. The new emphasis on epigenetics is also related to the increasing production of drugs capable of interfering with epigenetic mechanisms and able to trigger clinical responses in even advanced phase patients. In this review, we will use myeloid malignancies as proof of concept examples of how epigenetic mechanisms can trigger or promote oncogenesis. We will also show how epigenetic mechanisms are related to genetic aberrations, and how they affect other systems, like immune response. Finally, we will show how we can try to influence the fate of cancer cells with epigenetic therapy.

  2. Epigenetic Determinism in Science and Society.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waggoner, Miranda R; Uller, Tobias

    2015-04-03

    The epigenetic "revolution" in science cuts across many disciplines, and it is now one of the fastest growing research areas in biology. Increasingly, claims are made that epigenetics research represents a move away from the genetic determinism that has been prominent both in biological research and in understandings of the impact of biology on society. We discuss to what extent an epigenetic framework actually supports these claims. We show that, in contrast to the received view, epigenetics research is often couched in language as deterministic as genetics research in both science and the popular press. We engage the rapidly emerging conversation about the impact of epigenetics on public discourse and scientific practice, and we contend that the notion of epigenetic determinism - or the belief that epigenetic mechanisms determine the expression of human traits and behaviors - matters for understandings of the influence of biology and society on population health.

  3. General-Purpose Genotype or How Epigenetics Extend the Flexibility of a Genotype

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel Massicotte

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This project aims at investigating the link between individual epigenetic variability (not related to genetic variability and the variation of natural environmental conditions. We studied DNA methylation polymorphisms of individuals belonging to a single genetic lineage of the clonal diploid fish Chrosomus eos-neogaeus sampled in seven geographically distant lakes. In spite of a low number of informative fragments obtained from an MSAP analysis, individuals of a given lake are epigenetically similar, and methylation profiles allow the clustering of individuals in two distinct groups of populations among lakes. More importantly, we observed a significant pH variation that is consistent with the two epigenetic groups. It thus seems that the genotype studied has the potential to respond differentially via epigenetic modifications under variable environmental conditions, making epigenetic processes a relevant molecular mechanism contributing to phenotypic plasticity over variable environments in accordance with the GPG model.

  4. Environmental epigenetics: A promising venue for developing next-generation pollution biomonitoring tools in marine invertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suarez-Ulloa, Victoria; Gonzalez-Romero, Rodrigo; Eirin-Lopez, Jose M

    2015-09-15

    Environmental epigenetics investigates the cause-effect relationships between specific environmental factors and the subsequent epigenetic modifications triggering adaptive responses in the cell. Given the dynamic and potentially reversible nature of the different types of epigenetic marks, environmental epigenetics constitutes a promising venue for developing fast and sensible biomonitoring programs. Indeed, several epigenetic biomarkers have been successfully developed and applied in traditional model organisms (e.g., human and mouse). Nevertheless, the lack of epigenetic knowledge in other ecologically and environmentally relevant organisms has hampered the application of these tools in a broader range of ecosystems, most notably in the marine environment. Fortunately, that scenario is now changing thanks to the growing availability of complete reference genome sequences along with the development of high-throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatic methods. Altogether, these resources make the epigenetic study of marine organisms (and more specifically marine invertebrates) a reality. By building on this knowledge, the present work provides a timely perspective highlighting the extraordinary potential of environmental epigenetic analyses as a promising source of rapid and sensible tools for pollution biomonitoring, using marine invertebrates as sentinel organisms. This strategy represents an innovative, groundbreaking approach, improving the conservation and management of natural resources in the oceans. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Imaging epigenetics in Alzheimer's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lista, Simone; Garaci, Francesco G; Toschi, Nicola; Hampel, Harald

    2013-01-01

    Sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a prevalent, complex and chronically progressive brain disease. Its course is non-linear, dynamic, adaptive to maladaptive, and compensatory to decompensatory, affecting large-scale neural networks through a plethora of mechanistic and signaling pathway alterations that converge into regional and cell type-specific neurodegeneration and, finally, into clinically overt cognitive and behavioral decline. This decline includes reductions in the activities of daily living, quality of life, independence, and life expectancy. Evolving lines of research suggest that epigenetic mechanisms may play a crucial role during AD development and progression. Epigenetics designates molecular mechanisms that alter gene expression without modifications of the genetic code. This topic includes modifications on DNA and histone proteins, the primary elements of chromatin structure. Accumulating evidence has revealed the relevant processes that mediate epigenetic modifications and has begun to elucidate how these processes are apparently dysregulated in AD. This evidence has led to the clarification of the roles of specific classes of therapeutic compounds that affect epigenetic pathways and characteristics of the epigenome. This insight is accompanied by the development of new methods for studying the global patterns of DNA methylation and chromatin alterations. In particular, high-throughput sequencing approaches, such as next-generation DNA sequencing techniques, are beginning to drive the field into the next stage of development. In parallel, genetic imaging is beginning to answer additional questions through its ability to uncover genetic variants, with or without genome-wide significance, that are related to brain structure, function and metabolism, which impact disease risk and fundamental network-based cognitive processes. Neuroimaging measures can further be used to define AD systems and endophenotypes. The integration of genetic neuroimaging

  6. The danger of epigenetics misconceptions (epigenetics and stuff…).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgel, Philippe T

    2015-12-01

    Within the past two decades, the fields of chromatin structure and function and transcription regulation research started to fuse and overlap, as evidence mounted to support a very strong regulatory role in gene expression that was associated with histone post-translational modifications, DNA methylation, as well as various chromatin-associated proteins (the pillars of the "Epigenetics" building). The fusion and convergence of these complementary fields is now often simply referred to as "Epigenetics". During these same 20 years, numerous new research groups have started to recognize the importance of chromatin composition, conformation, and its plasticity. However, as the field started to grow exponentially, its growth came with the spreading of several important misconceptions, which have unfortunately led to improper or hasty conclusions. The goal of this short "opinion" piece is to attempt to minimize future misinterpretations of experimental results and ensure that the right sets of experiment are used to reach the proper conclusion, at least as far as epigenetic mechanisms are concerned.

  7. Epigenetic Effects of Environmental Chemicals Bisphenol A and Phthalates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven Shoei-Lung Li

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available The epigenetic effects on DNA methylation, histone modification, and expression of non-coding RNAs (including microRNAs of environmental chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA and phthalates have expanded our understanding of the etiology of human complex diseases such as cancers and diabetes. Multiple lines of evidence from in vitro and in vivo models have established that epigenetic modifications caused by in utero exposure to environmental toxicants can induce alterations in gene expression that may persist throughout life. Epigenetics is an important mechanism in the ability of environmental chemicals to influence health and disease, and BPA and phthalates are epigenetically toxic. The epigenetic effect of BPA was clearly demonstrated in viable yellow mice by decreasing CpG methylation upstream of the Agouti gene, and the hypomethylating effect of BPA was prevented by maternal dietary supplementation with a methyl donor like folic acid or the phytoestrogen genistein. Histone H3 was found to be trimethylated at lysine 27 by BPA effect on EZH2 in a human breast cancer cell line and mice. BPA exposure of human placental cell lines has been shown to alter microRNA expression levels, and specifically, miR-146a was strongly induced by BPA treatment. In human breast cancer MCF7 cells, treatment with the phthalate BBP led to demethylation of estrogen receptor (ESR1 promoter-associated CpG islands, indicating that altered ESR1 mRNA expression by BBP is due to aberrant DNA methylation. Maternal exposure to phthalate DEHP was also shown to increase DNA methylation and expression levels of DNA methyltransferases in mouse testis. Further, some epigenetic effects of BPA and phthalates in female rats were found to be transgenerational. Finally, the available new technologies for global analysis of epigenetic alterations will provide insight into the extent and patterns of alterations between human normal and diseased tissues.

  8. Epigenetic regulation in dental pulp inflammation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hui, T; Wang, C; Chen, D; Zheng, L; Huang, D; Ye, L

    2016-01-01

    Dental caries, trauma, and other possible factors could lead to injury of the dental pulp. Dental infection could result in immune and inflammatory responses mediated by molecular and cellular events and tissue breakdown. The inflammatory response of dental pulp could be regulated by genetic and epigenetic events. Epigenetic modifications play a fundamental role in gene expression. The epigenetic events might play critical roles in the inflammatory process of dental pulp injury. Major epigenetic events include methylation and acetylation of histones and regulatory factors, DNA methylation, and small non-coding RNAs. Infections and other environmental factors have profound effects on epigenetic modifications and trigger diseases. Despite growing evidences of literatures addressing the role of epigenetics in the field of medicine and biology, very little is known about the epigenetic pathways involved in dental pulp inflammation. This review summarized the current knowledge about epigenetic mechanisms during dental pulp inflammation. Progress in studies of epigenetic alterations during inflammatory response would provide opportunities for the development of efficient medications of epigenetic therapy for pulpitis. PMID:26901577

  9. EPA Workshop on Epigenetics and Cumulative Risk ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agenda Download the Workshop Agenda (PDF) The workshop included presentations and discussions by scientific experts pertaining to three topics (i.e., epigenetic changes associated with diverse stressors, key science considerations in understanding epigenetic changes, and practical application of epigenetic tools to address cumulative risks from environmental stressors), to address several questions under each topic, and included an opportunity for attendees to participate in break-out groups, provide comments and ask questions. Workshop Goals The workshop seeks to examine the opportunity for use of aggregate epigenetic change as an indicator in cumulative risk assessment for populations exposed to multiple stressors that affect epigenetic status. Epigenetic changes are specific molecular changes around DNA that alter expression of genes. Epigenetic changes include DNA methylation, formation of histone adducts, and changes in micro RNAs. Research today indicates that epigenetic changes are involved in many chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, mental health disorders, and asthma). Research has also linked a wide range of stressors including pollution and social factors with occurrence of epigenetic alterations. Epigenetic changes have the potential to reflect impacts of risk factors across multiple stages of life. Only recently receiving attention is the nexus between the factors of cumulative exposure to environmental

  10. Epigenetics and depression: return of the repressed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalton, Victoria S; Kolshus, Erik; McLoughlin, Declan M

    2014-02-01

    Epigenetics has recently emerged as a potential mechanism by which adverse environmental stimuli can result in persistent changes in gene expression. Epigenetic mechanisms function alongside the DNA sequence to modulate gene expression and ultimately influence protein production. The current review provides an introduction and overview of epigenetics with a particular focus on preclinical and clinical studies relevant to major depressive disorder (MDD). PubMed and Web of Science databases were interrogated from January 1995 up to December 2012 using combinations of search terms, including "epigenetic", "microRNA" and "DNA methylation" cross referenced with "depression", "early life stress" and "antidepressant". There is an association between adverse environmental stimuli, such as early life stress, and epigenetic modification of gene expression. Epigenetic changes have been reported in humans with MDD and may serve as biomarkers to improve diagnosis. Antidepressant treatments appear to reverse or initiate compensatory epigenetic alterations that may be relevant to their mechanism of action. As a narrative review, the current report was interpretive and qualitative in nature. Epigenetic modification of gene expression provides a mechanism for understanding the link between long-term effects of adverse life events and the changes in gene expression that are associated with depression. Although still a developing field, in the future, epigenetic modifications of gene expression may provide novel biomarkers to predict future susceptibility and/or onset of MDD, improve diagnosis, and aid in the development of epigenetics-based therapies for depression. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  11. Reconstruction of the gene regulatory network involved in the sonic hedgehog pathway with a potential role in early development of the mouse brain.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinhua Liu

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available The Sonic hedgehog (Shh signaling pathway is crucial for pattern formation in early central nervous system development. By systematically analyzing high-throughput in situ hybridization data of E11.5 mouse brain, we found that Shh and its receptor Ptch1 define two adjacent mutually exclusive gene expression domains: Shh+Ptch1- and Shh-Ptch1+. These two domains are associated respectively with Foxa2 and Gata3, two transcription factors that play key roles in specifying them. Gata3 ChIP-seq experiments and RNA-seq assays on Gata3-knockdown cells revealed that Gata3 up-regulates the genes that are enriched in the Shh-Ptch1+ domain. Important Gata3 targets include Slit2 and Slit3, which are involved in the process of axon guidance, as well as Slc18a1, Th and Qdpr, which are associated with neurotransmitter synthesis and release. By contrast, Foxa2 both up-regulates the genes expressed in the Shh+Ptch1- domain and down-regulates the genes characteristic of the Shh-Ptch1+ domain. From these and other data, we were able to reconstruct a gene regulatory network governing both domains. Our work provides the first genome-wide characterization of the gene regulatory network involved in the Shh pathway that underlies pattern formation in the early mouse brain.

  12. Epigenetic regulation of female puberty.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lomniczi, Alejandro; Wright, Hollis; Ojeda, Sergio R

    2015-01-01

    Substantial progress has been made in recent years toward deciphering the molecular and genetic underpinnings of the pubertal process. The availability of powerful new methods to interrogate the human genome has led to the identification of genes that are essential for puberty to occur. Evidence has also emerged suggesting that the initiation of puberty requires the coordinated activity of gene sets organized into functional networks. At a cellular level, it is currently thought that loss of transsynaptic inhibition, accompanied by an increase in excitatory inputs, results in the pubertal activation of GnRH release. This concept notwithstanding, a mechanism of epigenetic repression targeting genes required for the pubertal activation of GnRH neurons was recently identified as a core component of the molecular machinery underlying the central restraint of puberty. In this chapter we will discuss the potential contribution of various mechanisms of epigenetic regulation to the hypothalamic control of female puberty. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Epigenetic regulation of photoperiodic flowering

    OpenAIRE

    Takeno, Kiyotoshi

    2010-01-01

    The cytidine analogue 5-azacytidine, which causes DNA demethylation, induced flowering in the non-vernalization-requiring plants Perilla frutescens var. crispa, Silene armeria and Pharbitis nil (synonym Ipomoea nil) under non-inductive photoperiodic conditions, suggesting that the expression of photoperiodic flowering-related genes is regulated epigenetically by DNA methylation. The flowering state induced by DNA demethylation was not heritable. Changes in the genome-wide methylation state we...

  14. Chromocentre integrity and epigenetic marks

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Harničarová, Andrea; Galiová-Šustáčková, Gabriela; Legartová, Soňa; Kozubek, Stanislav; Matula, P.; Bártová, Eva

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 169, č. 1 (2010), s. 124-133 ISSN 1047-8477 R&D Projects: GA MŠk ME 919; GA MŠk(CZ) LC06027; GA MŠk(CZ) LC535 Grant - others:GA MŠk(CZ) ME919 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z50040507; CEZ:AV0Z50040702 Keywords : SUV39h * histone methylation * epigenetics Subject RIV: BO - Biophysics Impact factor: 3.497, year: 2010

  15. Learning epigenetic regulation from mycobacteria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sanjeev Khosla

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available In a eukaryotic cell, the transcriptional fate of a gene is determined by the profile of the epigenetic modifications it is associated with and the conformation it adopts within the chromatin. Therefore, the function that a cell performs is dictated by the sum total of the chromatin organization and the associated epigenetic modifications of each individual gene in the genome (epigenome. As the function of a cell during development and differentiation is determined by its microenvironment, any factor that can alter this microenvironment should be able to alter the epigenome of a cell. In the study published in Nature Communications (Yaseen [2015] Nature Communications 6:8922 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9922, we show that pathogenic Mycobacterium tuberculosis has evolved strategies to exploit this pliability of the host epigenome for its own survival. We describe the identification of a methyltransferase from M. tuberculosis that functions to modulate the host epigenome by methylating a novel, non-canonical arginine, H3R42 in histone H3. In another study, we showed that the mycobacterial protein Rv2966c methylates cytosines present in non-CpG context within host genomic DNA upon infection. Proteins with ability to directly methylate host histones H3 at a novel lysine residue (H3K14 has also been identified from Legionella pnemophilia (RomA. All these studies indicate the use of non-canonical epigenetic mechanisms by pathogenic bacteria to hijack the host transcriptional machinery.

  16. Imbalanced class learning in epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haque, M Muksitul; Skinner, Michael K; Holder, Lawrence B

    2014-07-01

    In machine learning, one of the important criteria for higher classification accuracy is a balanced dataset. Datasets with a large ratio between minority and majority classes face hindrance in learning using any classifier. Datasets having a magnitude difference in number of instances between the target concept result in an imbalanced class distribution. Such datasets can range from biological data, sensor data, medical diagnostics, or any other domain where labeling any instances of the minority class can be time-consuming or costly or the data may not be easily available. The current study investigates a number of imbalanced class algorithms for solving the imbalanced class distribution present in epigenetic datasets. Epigenetic (DNA methylation) datasets inherently come with few differentially DNA methylated regions (DMR) and with a higher number of non-DMR sites. For this class imbalance problem, a number of algorithms are compared, including the TAN+AdaBoost algorithm. Experiments performed on four epigenetic datasets and several known datasets show that an imbalanced dataset can have similar accuracy as a regular learner on a balanced dataset.

  17. Epigenetic control of plant immunity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez, María E; Nota, Florencia; Cambiagno, Damián A

    2010-07-01

    In eukaryotic genomes, gene expression and DNA recombination are affected by structural chromatin traits. Chromatin structure is shaped by the activity of enzymes that either introduce covalent modifications in DNA and histone proteins or use energy from ATP to disrupt histone-DNA interactions. The genomic 'marks' that are generated by covalent modifications of histones and DNA, or by the deposition of histone variants, are susceptible to being altered in response to stress. Recent evidence has suggested that proteins generating these epigenetic marks play crucial roles in the defence against pathogens. Histone deacetylases are involved in the activation of jasmonic acid- and ethylene-sensitive defence mechanisms. ATP-dependent chromatin remodellers mediate the constitutive repression of the salicylic acid-dependent pathway, whereas histone methylation at the WRKY70 gene promoter affects the activation of this pathway. Interestingly, bacterial-infected tissues show a net reduction in DNA methylation, which may affect the disease resistance genes responsible for the surveillance against pathogens. As some epigenetic marks can be erased or maintained and transmitted to offspring, epigenetic mechanisms may provide plasticity for the dynamic control of emerging pathogens without the generation of genomic lesions.

  18. Epigenetics and Epigenomics of Plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, Chandra Bhan; Pandey, Garima; Muthamilarasan, Mehanathan; Prasad, Manoj

    2018-01-23

    The genetic material DNA in association with histone proteins forms the complex structure called chromatin, which is prone to undergo modification through certain epigenetic mechanisms including cytosine DNA methylation, histone modifications, and small RNA-mediated methylation. Alterations in chromatin structure lead to inaccessibility of genomic DNA to various regulatory proteins such as transcription factors, which eventually modulates gene expression. Advancements in high-throughput sequencing technologies have provided the opportunity to study the epigenetic mechanisms at genome-wide levels. Epigenomic studies using high-throughput technologies will widen the understanding of mechanisms as well as functions of regulatory pathways in plant genomes, which will further help in manipulating these pathways using genetic and biochemical approaches. This technology could be a potential research tool for displaying the systematic associations of genetic and epigenetic variations, especially in terms of cytosine methylation onto the genomic region in a specific cell or tissue. A comprehensive study of plant populations to correlate genotype to epigenotype and to phenotype, and also the study of methyl quantitative trait loci (QTL) or epiGWAS, is possible by using high-throughput sequencing methods, which will further accelerate molecular breeding programs for crop improvement. Graphical Abstract.

  19. Distinguishing epigenetic marks of developmental and imprinting regulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    McEwen Kirsten R

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The field of epigenetics is developing rapidly, however we are only beginning to comprehend the complexity of its influence on gene regulation. Using genomic imprinting as a model we examine epigenetic profiles associated with different forms of gene regulation. Imprinting refers to the expression of a gene from only one of the chromosome homologues in a parental-origin-specific manner. This is dependent on heritable germline epigenetic control at a cis-acting imprinting control region that influences local epigenetic states. Epigenetic modifications associated with imprinting regulation can be compared to those associated with the more canonical developmental regulation, important for processes such as differentiation and tissue specificity. Here we test the hypothesis that these two mechanisms are associated with different histone modification enrichment patterns. Results Using high-throughput data extraction with subsequent analysis, we have found that particular histone modifications are more likely to be associated with either imprinting repression or developmental repression of imprinted genes. H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 are together enriched at imprinted genes with differentially methylated promoters and do not show a correlation with developmental regulation. H3K27me3 and H3K4me3, however, are more often associated with developmental regulation. We find that imprinted genes are subject to developmental regulation through bivalency with H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 enrichment on the same allele. Furthermore, a specific tri-mark signature comprising H3K4me3, H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 has been identified at all imprinting control regions. Conclusion A large amount of data is produced from whole-genome expression and epigenetic profiling studies of cellular material. We have shown that such publicly available data can be mined and analysed in order to generate novel findings for categories of genes or regulatory elements. Comparing two

  20. Epigenetics, eh! A meeting summary of the Canadian Conference on Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodenhiser, David I; Bérubé, Nathalie G; Mann, Mellissa R W

    2011-10-01

    In May 2011, the Canadian Conference on Epigenetics: Epigenetics Eh! was held in London, Canada. The objectives of this conference were to showcase the breadth of epigenetic research on environment and health across Canada and to provide the catalyst to develop collaborative Canadian epigenetic research opportunities, similar to existing international epigenetic initiatives in the US and Europe. With ten platform sessions and two sessions with over 100 poster presentations, this conference featured cutting-edge epigenetic research, presented by Canadian and international principal investigators and their trainees in the field of epigenetics and chromatin dynamics. An EpigenART competition included ten artists, creating a unique opportunity for artists and scientists to interact and explore their individual interpretations of this scientific discipline. The conference provided a unique venue for a significant cross-section of Canadian epigenetic researchers from diverse disciplines to meet, interact, collaborate and strategize at the national level.

  1. Epigenetics in autism and other neurodevelopmental diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miyake, Kunio; Hirasawa, Takae; Koide, Tsuyoshi; Kubota, Takeo

    2012-01-01

    Autism was previously thought to be caused by environmental factors. However, genetic factors are now considered to be more contributory to the pathogenesis of autism, based on the recent findings of mutations in the genes which encode synaptic molecules associated with the communication between neurons. Epigenetic is a mechanism that controls gene expression without changing DNA sequence but by changing chromosomal histone modifications and its abnormality is associated with several neurodevelopmental diseases. Since epigenetic modifications are known to be affected by environmental factors such as nutrition, drugs and mental stress, autistic diseases are not only caused by congenital genetic defects, but may also be caused by environmental factors via epigenetic mechanism. In this chapter, we introduce autistic diseases caused by epigenetic failures and discuss epigenetic changes by environmental factors and discuss new treatments for neurodevelopmental diseases based on the recent epigenetic findings.

  2. Epigenetics, autism spectrum, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rangasamy, Sampathkumar; D'Mello, Santosh R; Narayanan, Vinodh

    2013-10-01

    Epigenetic marks are modifications of DNA and histones. They are considered to be permanent within a single cell during development, and are heritable across cell division. Programming of neurons through epigenetic mechanisms is believed to be critical in neural development. Disruption or alteration in this process causes an array of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Recent studies have provided evidence for an altered epigenetic landscape in ASDs and demonstrated the central role of epigenetic mechanisms in their pathogenesis. Many of the genes linked to the ASDs encode proteins that are involved in transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodeling. In this review we highlight selected neurodevelopmental disorders in which epigenetic dysregulation plays an important role. These include Rett syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Angelman syndrome, and Kabuki syndrome. For each of these disorders, we discuss how advances in our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms may lead to novel therapeutic approaches.

  3. Using Epigenetic Therapy to Overcome Chemotherapy Resistance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strauss, Julius; Figg, William D

    2016-01-01

    It has been known for decades that as cancer progresses, tumors develop genetic alterations, making them highly prone to developing resistance to therapies. Classically, it has been thought that these acquired genetic changes are fixed. This has led to the paradigm of moving from one cancer therapy to the next while avoiding past therapies. However, emerging data on epigenetic changes during tumor progression and use of epigenetic therapies have shown that epigenetic modifications leading to chemotherapy resistance have the potential to be reversible with epigenetic therapy. In fact, promising clinical data exist that treatment with epigenetic agents can diminish chemotherapy resistance in a number of tumor types including chronic myelogenous leukemia, colorectal, ovarian, lung and breast cancer. The potential for epigenetic-modifying drugs to allow for treatment of resistant disease is exciting and clinical trials have just begun to evaluate this area. Copyright© 2016 International Institute of Anticancer Research (Dr. John G. Delinassios), All rights reserved.

  4. Epigenetic alterations of sedimentary rocks at deposits

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Komarova, G.V.; Kondrat'eva, I.A.; Zelenova, O.I.

    1980-01-01

    Notions are explained, and technique for studying epigenetic alterations of sedimentary rocks at uranium deposits is described. Main types of epigenetic transformations and their mineralogic-geochemical characteristics are considered. Rock alterations, accompanying uranium mineralization, can be related to 2 types: oxidation and reduction. The main mineralogic-geochemical property of oxidation transformations is epigenetic limonitization. Stratal limonitization in primary grey-coloured terrigenic rocks and in epigenetically reduced (pyritized) rocks, as well as in rock, subjected to epigenetic gleying, are characterized. Reduction type of epigenetic transformations is subdivided into sulphidic and non-sulphidic (gley) subtypes. Sulphidic transformations in grey-coloured terrigenic rocks with organic substance of carbonic row, in rocks, containing organic substance of oil row, sulphide transformations of sedimentary rocks, as well as gley transformations, are considered

  5. Autism-Like Behavior and Epigenetic Changes Associated with Autism as Consequences of In Utero Exposure to Environmental Pollutants in a Mouse Model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise S. Hill

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available We tested the hypothesis that in utero exposure to heavy metals increases autism-like behavioral phenotypes in adult animals and induces epigenetic changes in genes that have roles in the etiology of autism. Mouse dams were treated with cadmium, lead, arsenate, manganese, and mercury via drinking water from gestational days (E 1–10. Valproic acid (VPA injected intraperitoneally once on (E 8.5 served as a positive control. Young male offspring were tested for behavioral deficits using four standardized behavioral assays. In this study, in utero exposure to heavy metals resulted in multiple behavioral abnormalities that persisted into adulthood. VPA and manganese induced changes in perseverative/impulsive behavior and social dominance behavior, arsenic caused changes only in perseverative/impulsive behavior, and lead induced abnormalities in social interaction in comparison to the control animals. Brain samples from Mn, Pb, and VPA treated and control animals were evaluated for changes in CpG island methylation in promoter regions and associated changes in gene expression. The Chd7 gene, essential for neural crest cell migration and patterning, was found to be hypomethylated in each experimental animal tested compared to water-treated controls. Furthermore, distinct patterns of CpG island methylation yielded novel candidate genes for further investigation.

  6. Epigenetic impact of curcumin on stroke prevention

    OpenAIRE

    Kalani, Anuradha; Kamat, Pradip K; Kalani, Komal; Tyagi, Neetu

    2014-01-01

    The epigenetic impact of curcumin in stroke and neurodegenerative disorders is curiosity-arousing. It is derived from Curcuma longa (spice), possesses anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-lipidemic, neuro-protective and recently shown to exhibit epigenetic modulatory properties. Epigenetic studies include DNA methylation, histone modifications and RNA-based mechanisms which regulate gene expression without altering nucleotide sequences. Curcumin has been shown to affect cancer by altering ...

  7. Nutrition, epigenetic mechanisms, and human disease

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Maulik, Nilanjana; Maulik, Gautam

    2011-01-01

    .... The text discusses the basics of nutrigenomics and epigenetic regulation, types of nutrition influencing genetic imprinting, and the role of nutrition in modulating an individual's predisposition to disease...

  8. Introduction to the Special Section on Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lester, Barry M; Conradt, Elisabeth; Marsit, Carmen

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetics provides the opportunity to revolutionize our understanding of the role of genetics and the environment in explaining human behavior, although the use of epigenetics to study human behavior is just beginning. In this introduction, the authors present the basics of epigenetics in a way that is designed to make this exciting field accessible to a wide readership. The authors describe the history of human behavioral epigenetic research in the context of other disciplines and graphically illustrate the burgeoning of research in the application of epigenetic methods and principles to the study of human behavior. The role of epigenetics in normal embryonic development and the influence of biological and environmental factors altering behavior through epigenetic mechanisms and developmental programming are discussed. Some basic approaches to the study of epigenetics are reviewed. The authors conclude with a discussion of challenges and opportunities, including intervention, as the field of human behavioral epigenetics continue to grow. © 2016 The Authors. Child Development © 2016 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

  9. Epigenetic modification and inheritance in sexual reversal of fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shao, Changwei; Li, Qiye; Chen, Songlin; Zhang, Pei; Lian, Jinmin; Hu, Qiaomu; Sun, Bing; Jin, Lijun; Liu, Shanshan; Wang, Zongji; Zhao, Hongmei; Jin, Zonghui; Liang, Zhuo; Li, Yangzhen; Zheng, Qiumei; Zhang, Yong; Wang, Jun; Zhang, Guojie

    2014-04-01

    Environmental sex determination (ESD) occurs in divergent, phylogenetically unrelated taxa, and in some species, co-occurs with genetic sex determination (GSD) mechanisms. Although epigenetic regulation in response to environmental effects has long been proposed to be associated with ESD, a systemic analysis on epigenetic regulation of ESD is still lacking. Using half-smooth tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis) as a model-a marine fish that has both ZW chromosomal GSD and temperature-dependent ESD-we investigated the role of DNA methylation in transition from GSD to ESD. Comparative analysis of the gonadal DNA methylomes of pseudomale, female, and normal male fish revealed that genes in the sex determination pathways are the major targets of substantial methylation modification during sexual reversal. Methylation modification in pseudomales is globally inherited in their ZW offspring, which can naturally develop into pseudomales without temperature incubation. Transcriptome analysis revealed that dosage compensation occurs in a restricted, methylated cytosine enriched Z chromosomal region in pseudomale testes, achieving equal expression level in normal male testes. In contrast, female-specific W chromosomal genes are suppressed in pseudomales by methylation regulation. We conclude that epigenetic regulation plays multiple crucial roles in sexual reversal of tongue sole fish. We also offer the first clues on the mechanisms behind gene dosage balancing in an organism that undergoes sexual reversal. Finally, we suggest a causal link between the bias sex chromosome assortment in the offspring of a pseudomale family and the transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of sexual reversal in tongue sole fish.

  10. Epigenetic regulation of open chromatin in pluripotent stem cells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kobayashi, Hiroshi; Kikyo, Nobuaki

    2014-01-01

    The recent progress in pluripotent stem cell research has opened new avenues of disease modeling, drug screening, and transplantation of patient-specific tissues that had been unimaginable until a decade ago. The central mechanism underlying pluripotency is epigenetic gene regulation; the majority of cell signaling pathways, both extracellular and cytoplasmic, eventually alter the epigenetic status of their target genes during the process of activating or suppressing the genes to acquire or maintain pluripotency. It has long been thought that the chromatin of pluripotent stem cells is globally open to enable the timely activation of essentially all genes in the genome during differentiation into multiple lineages. The current article reviews descriptive observations and the epigenetic machinery relevant to what is supposed to be globally open chromatin in pluripotent stem cells. This includes microscopic appearance, permissive gene transcription, chromatin remodeling complexes, histone modifications, DNA methylation, noncoding RNAs, dynamic movement of chromatin proteins, nucleosome accessibility and positioning, and long-range chromosomal interactions. Detailed analyses of each element, however, have revealed that the globally open chromatin hypothesis is not necessarily supported by some of the critical experimental evidence, such as genome-wide nucleosome accessibility and nucleosome positioning. Further understanding of the epigenetic gene regulation is expected to determine the true nature of the so-called globally open chromatin in pluripotent stem. PMID:24695097

  11. LOSS OF 5-HYDROXYMETHYLCYTOSINE IS AN EPIGENETIC HALLMARK OF MELANOMA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lian, Christine Guo; Xu, Yufei; Ceol, Craig; Wu, Feizhen; Larson, Allison; Dresser, Karen; Xu, Wenji; Tan, Li; Hu, Yeguang; Zhan, Qian; Lee, Chung-wei; Hu, Di; Lian, Bill Q.; Kleffel, Sonja; Yang, Yijun; Neiswender, James; Khorasani, Abraham J.; Fang, Rui; Lezcano, Cecilia; Duncan, Lyn M.; Scolyer, Richard A.; Thompson, John F.; Kakavand, Hojabr; Houvras, Yariv; Zon, Leonard; Mihm, Martin C.; Kaiser, Ursula B.; Schatton, Tobias; Woda, Bruce A.; Murphy, George F.; Shi, Yujiang G.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY DNA methylation at the 5-position of cytosine (5-mC) is a key epigenetic mark critical for various biological and pathological processes. 5-mC can be converted to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) by the Ten-Eleven Translocation (TET) family of DNA hydroxylases. Here we report that “loss of 5-hmC” is an epigenetic hallmark of melanoma with diagnostic and prognostic implications. Genome-wide mapping of 5-hmC reveals loss of 5-hmC landscape in the melanoma epigenome. We show that down-regulation of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) and TET family enzymes is likely one of the mechanisms underlying 5-hmC loss in melanoma. Rebuilding the 5-hmC landscape in melanoma cells by reintroducing active TET2 or IDH2 suppresses melanoma growth and increases tumor-free survival in animal models. Thus, our study reveals a critical function of 5-hmC in melanoma development and directly links the IDH and TET activity-dependent epigenetic pathway to 5-hmC-mediated suppression of melanoma progression, suggesting a new strategy for epigenetic cancer therapy. PMID:22980977

  12. Transposable elements, a treasure trove to decipher epigenetic variation: insights from Arabidopsis and crop epigenomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mirouze, Marie; Vitte, Clémentine

    2014-06-01

    In the past decade, plant biologists and breeders have developed a growing interest in the field of epigenetics, which is defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that cannot be explained by changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic marks can be responsive to the environment, and evolve faster than genetic changes. Therefore, epigenetic diversity may represent an unexplored resource of natural variation that could be used in plant breeding programmes. On the other hand, crop genomes are largely populated with transposable elements (TEs) that are efficiently targeted by epigenetic marks, and part of the epigenetic diversity observed might be explained by TE polymorphisms. Characterizing the degree to which TEs influence epigenetic variation in crops is therefore a major goal to better use epigenetic variation. To date, epigenetic analyses have been mainly focused on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and have provided clues on epigenome features, components that silence pathways, and effects of silencing impairment. But to what extent can Arabidopsis be used as a model for the epigenomics of crops? In this review, we discuss the similarities and differences between the epigenomes of Arabidopsis and crops. We explore the relationship between TEs and epigenomes, focusing on TE silencing control and escape, and the impact of TE mobility on epigenomic variation. Finally, we provide insights into challenges to tackle, and future directions to take in the route towards using epigenetic diversity in plant breeding programmes. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Epigenetic control of embryonic stem cell fate

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christophersen, Nicolaj Strøyer; Helin, Kristian

    2010-01-01

    Embryonic stem (ES) cells are derived from the inner cell mass of the preimplantation embryo and are pluripotent, as they are able to differentiate into all cell types of the adult organism. Once established, the pluripotent ES cells can be maintained under defined culture conditions, but can also...... be induced rapidly to differentiate. Maintaining this balance of stability versus plasticity is a challenge, and extensive studies in recent years have focused on understanding the contributions of transcription factors and epigenetic enzymes to the "stemness" properties of these cells. Identifying...... the molecular switches that regulate ES cell self-renewal versus differentiation can provide insights into the nature of the pluripotent state and enhance the potential use of these cells in therapeutic applications. Here, we review the latest models for how changes in chromatin methylation can modulate ES cell...

  14. [Genetics and epigenetics in autism].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakayama, Atsuo; Masaki, Shiego; Aoki, Eiko

    2006-11-01

    Autism is a behaviorally defined syndrome characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted, stereotyped interests and behaviors. Several lines of evidence support the contention that genetic factors are a large component to autism etiology. However, in spite of vigorous genetic studies, no single causative or susceptibility gene common in autism has been identified. Thus multiple susceptibility genes in interaction are considered to account for the disorder. Furthermore, environmental risk factors can accelerate the autism development of. Recent advances in understanding the epigenetic regulation may shed light on the interaction among multiple genetic factors and environmental factors.

  15. Epigenetic modulators of thyroid cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Rodero, Sandra; Delgado-Álvarez, Elías; Díaz-Naya, Lucía; Martín Nieto, Alicia; Menéndez Torre, Edelmiro

    2017-01-01

    There are some well known factors involved in the etiology of thyroid cancer, including iodine deficiency, radiation exposure at early ages, or some genetic changes. However, epigenetic modulators that may contribute to development of these tumors and be helpful to for both their diagnosis and treatment have recently been discovered. The currently known changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs in each type of thyroid carcinoma are reviewed here. Copyright © 2016 SEEN. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  16. Epigenetic Therapy in Human Choriocarcinoma

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hisashi Narahara

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Because epigenetic alterations are believed to be involved in the repression of tumor suppressor genes and promotion of tumorigenesis in choriocarcinomas, novel compounds endowed with a histone deacetylase (HDAC inhibitory activity are an attractive therapeutic approach. HDAC inhibitors (HDACIs were able to mediate inhibition of cell growth, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and the expression of genes related to the malignant phenotype in choriocarcinoma cell lines. In this review, we discuss the biologic and therapeutic effects of HDACIs in treating choriocarcinoma, with a special focus on preclinical studies.

  17. Integration analysis of microRNA and mRNA paired expression profiling identifies deregulated microRNA-transcription factor-gene regulatory networks in ovarian endometriosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Luyang; Gu, Chenglei; Ye, Mingxia; Zhang, Zhe; Li, Li'an; Fan, Wensheng; Meng, Yuanguang

    2018-01-22

    The etiology and pathophysiology of endometriosis remain unclear. Accumulating evidence suggests that aberrant microRNA (miRNA) and transcription factor (TF) expression may be involved in the pathogenesis and development of endometriosis. This study therefore aims to survey the key miRNAs, TFs and genes and further understand the mechanism of endometriosis. Paired expression profiling of miRNA and mRNA in ectopic endometria compared with eutopic endometria were determined by high-throughput sequencing techniques in eight patients with ovarian endometriosis. Binary interactions and circuits among the miRNAs, TFs, and corresponding genes were identified by the Pearson correlation coefficients. miRNA-TF-gene regulatory networks were constructed using bioinformatic methods. Eleven selected miRNAs and TFs were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 22 patients. Overall, 107 differentially expressed miRNAs and 6112 differentially expressed mRNAs were identified by comparing the sequencing of the ectopic endometrium group and the eutopic endometrium group. The miRNA-TF-gene regulatory network consists of 22 miRNAs, 12 TFs and 430 corresponding genes. Specifically, some key regulators from the miR-449 and miR-34b/c cluster, miR-200 family, miR-106a-363 cluster, miR-182/183, FOX family, GATA family, and E2F family as well as CEBPA, SOX9 and HNF4A were suggested to play vital regulatory roles in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Integration analysis of the miRNA and mRNA expression profiles presents a unique insight into the regulatory network of this enigmatic disorder and possibly provides clues regarding replacement therapy for endometriosis.

  18. Epigenetics of obesity: beyond the genome sequence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cordero, Paul; Li, Jiawei; Oben, Jude A

    2015-07-01

    After the study of the gene code as a trigger for obesity, epigenetic code has appeared as a novel tool in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of obesity, and its related comorbidities. This review summarizes the status of the epigenetic field associated with obesity, and the current epigenetic-based approaches for obesity treatment. Thanks to technical advances, novel and key obesity-associated polymorphisms have been described by genome-wide association studies, but there are limitations with their predictive power. Epigenetics is also studied for disease association, which involves decoding of the genome information, transcriptional status and later phenotypes. Obesity could be induced during adult life by feeding and other environmental factors, and there is a strong association between obesity features and specific epigenetic patterns. These patterns could be established during early life stages, and programme the risk of obesity and its comorbidities during adult life. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that DNA methylation profile could be applied as biomarkers of diet-induced weight loss treatment. High-throughput technologies, recently implemented for commercial genetic test panels, could soon lead to the creation of epigenetic test panels for obesity. Nonetheless, epigenetics is a modifiable risk factor, and different dietary patterns or environmental insights during distinct stages of life could lead to rewriting of the epigenetic profile.

  19. Epigenetics of dominance for enzyme activity

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    and produce qualitatively different allozymes and the two alleles are expressed equally within and across all three genotypes and and play an equal role in the epigenetics of dominance. Subunit interaction in the heterodimer over a wide range of H+ concentrations accounts for the epigenetics of dominance for ...

  20. Epigenetic Alterations in Alzheimer’s Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez-Mut, Jose V.; Gräff, Johannes

    2015-01-01

    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the major cause of dementia in Western societies. It progresses asymptomatically during decades before being belatedly diagnosed when therapeutic strategies have become unviable. Although several genetic alterations have been associated with AD, the vast majority of AD cases do not show strong genetic underpinnings and are thus considered a consequence of non-genetic factors. Epigenetic mechanisms allow for the integration of long-lasting non-genetic inputs on specific genetic backgrounds, and recently, a growing number of epigenetic alterations in AD have been described. For instance, an accumulation of dysregulated epigenetic mechanisms in aging, the predominant risk factor of AD, might facilitate the onset of the disease. Likewise, mutations in several enzymes of the epigenetic machinery have been associated with neurodegenerative processes that are altered in AD such as impaired learning and memory formation. Genome-wide and locus-specific epigenetic alterations have also been reported, and several epigenetically dysregulated genes validated by independent groups. From these studies, a picture emerges of AD as being associated with DNA hypermethylation and histone deacetylation, suggesting a general repressed chromatin state and epigenetically reduced plasticity in AD. Here we review these recent findings and discuss several technical and methodological considerations that are imperative for their correct interpretation. We also pay particular focus on potential implementations and theoretical frameworks that we expect will help to better direct future studies aimed to unravel the epigenetic participation in AD. PMID:26734709

  1. The multifaceted interplay between lipids and epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dekkers, Koen F; Slagboom, P Eline; Jukema, J Wouter; Heijmans, Bastiaan T

    2016-06-01

    The interplay between lipids and epigenetic mechanisms has recently gained increased interest because of its relevance for common diseases and most notably atherosclerosis. This review discusses recent advances in unravelling this interplay with a particular focus on promising approaches and methods that will be able to establish causal relationships. Complementary approaches uncovered close links between circulating lipids and epigenetic mechanisms at multiple levels. A characterization of lipid-associated genetic variants suggests that these variants exert their influence on lipid levels through epigenetic changes in the liver. Moreover, exposure of monocytes to lipids persistently alters their epigenetic makeup resulting in more proinflammatory cells. Hence, epigenetic changes can both impact on and be induced by lipids. It is the combined application of technological advances to probe epigenetic modifications at a genome-wide scale and methodological advances aimed at causal inference (including Mendelian randomization and integrative genomics) that will elucidate the interplay between circulating lipids and epigenetics. Understanding its role in the development of atherosclerosis holds the promise of identifying a new category of therapeutic targets, since epigenetic changes are amenable to reversal.

  2. Epigenetic variation in asexually reproducing organisms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verhoeven, K.J.F.; Preite, V.

    2014-01-01

    The role that epigenetic inheritance can play in adaptation may differ between sexuals and asexuals because (1) the dynamics of adaptation differ under sexual and asexual reproduction and the opportunities offered by epigenetic inheritance may affect these dynamics differently; and (2) in asexual

  3. Epigenetics and environmental impacts in cattle

    Science.gov (United States)

    This chapter reviews the major advances in the field of epigenetics as well as the environmental impacts of cattle. Many findings from our own research endeavors related to the topic of this chapter are also introduced. The phenotypic characterization of an animal can be changed through epigenetic ...

  4. Epigenetics in mammary gland biology and cancer

    Science.gov (United States)

    In the post genome era, the focus has shifted to understanding the mechanisms that regulate the interpretation of the genetic code. "Epigenetics" as a research field is taking center stage. Epigenetics is a term which is now being used throughout the scientific community in different contexts from p...

  5. A new concept: Epigenetic game theory. Comment on: ;Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition; by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Xiu-Deng; Tao, Yi

    2017-03-01

    The evolutionary significance of the interaction between paternal and maternal genomes in fertilized zygotes is a very interesting and challenging question. Wang et al. developed the concept of epigenetic game theory, and they try to use this concept to explain the interaction between paternal and maternal genomes in fertilized zygotes [1]. They emphasize that the embryogenesis can be considered as an ecological system in which two highly distinct and specialized gametes coordinate through either cooperation or competition, or both, to maximize the fitness of embryos under Darwinian selection. More specifically, they integrate game theory to model the pattern of coordination of paternal genome and maternal genomes mediated by DNA methylation dynamics, and they called this epigenetic game theory.

  6. Early life nutrition, epigenetics and programming of later life disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vickers, Mark H

    2014-06-02

    The global pandemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes is often causally linked to marked changes in diet and lifestyle; namely marked increases in dietary intakes of high energy diets and concomitant reductions in physical activity levels. However, less attention has been paid to the role of developmental plasticity and alterations in phenotypic outcomes resulting from altered environmental conditions during the early life period. Human and experimental animal studies have highlighted the link between alterations in the early life environment and increased risk of obesity and metabolic disorders in later life. This link is conceptualised as the developmental programming hypothesis whereby environmental influences during critical periods of developmental plasticity can elicit lifelong effects on the health and well-being of the offspring. In particular, the nutritional environment in which the fetus or infant develops influences the risk of metabolic disorders in offspring. The late onset of such diseases in response to earlier transient experiences has led to the suggestion that developmental programming may have an epigenetic component, as epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation or histone tail modifications could provide a persistent memory of earlier nutritional states. Moreover, evidence exists, at least from animal models, that such epigenetic programming should be viewed as a transgenerational phenomenon. However, the mechanisms by which early environmental insults can have long-term effects on offspring are relatively unclear. Thus far, these mechanisms include permanent structural changes to the organ caused by suboptimal levels of an important factor during a critical developmental period, changes in gene expression caused by epigenetic modifications (including DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA) and permanent changes in cellular ageing. A better understanding of the epigenetic basis of developmental programming and how these effects may be

  7. Early Life Nutrition, Epigenetics and Programming of Later Life Disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark H. Vickers

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The global pandemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes is often causally linked to marked changes in diet and lifestyle; namely marked increases in dietary intakes of high energy diets and concomitant reductions in physical activity levels. However, less attention has been paid to the role of developmental plasticity and alterations in phenotypic outcomes resulting from altered environmental conditions during the early life period. Human and experimental animal studies have highlighted the link between alterations in the early life environment and increased risk of obesity and metabolic disorders in later life. This link is conceptualised as the developmental programming hypothesis whereby environmental influences during critical periods of developmental plasticity can elicit lifelong effects on the health and well-being of the offspring. In particular, the nutritional environment in which the fetus or infant develops influences the risk of metabolic disorders in offspring. The late onset of such diseases in response to earlier transient experiences has led to the suggestion that developmental programming may have an epigenetic component, as epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation or histone tail modifications could provide a persistent memory of earlier nutritional states. Moreover, evidence exists, at least from animal models, that such epigenetic programming should be viewed as a transgenerational phenomenon. However, the mechanisms by which early environmental insults can have long-term effects on offspring are relatively unclear. Thus far, these mechanisms include permanent structural changes to the organ caused by suboptimal levels of an important factor during a critical developmental period, changes in gene expression caused by epigenetic modifications (including DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA and permanent changes in cellular ageing. A better understanding of the epigenetic basis of developmental programming and how

  8. Epigenetic reprogramming in the porcine germ line

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Matzen, Sara Maj Hyldig; Croxall, Nicola; Contreras, David A.

    2011-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Epigenetic reprogramming is critical for genome regulation during germ line development. Genome-wide demethylation in mouse primordial germ cells (PGC) is a unique reprogramming event essential for erasing epigenetic memory and preventing the transmission of epimutations to the next...... an increased proportion of cells in G2. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that epigenetic reprogramming occurs in pig migratory and gonadal PGC, and establishes the window of time for the occurrence of these events. Reprogramming of histone H3K9me2 and H3K27me3 detected between E15-E21 precedes the dynamic...... DNA demethylation at imprinted loci and DNA repeats between E22-E42. Our findings demonstrate that major epigenetic reprogramming in the pig germ line follows the overall dynamics shown in mice, suggesting that epigenetic reprogramming of germ cells is conserved in mammals. A better understanding...

  9. Epigenetics reloaded: the single-cell revolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bheda, Poonam; Schneider, Robert

    2014-11-01

    Mechanistically, how epigenetic states are inherited through cellular divisions remains an important open question in the chromatin field and beyond. Defining the heritability of epigenetic states and the underlying chromatin-based mechanisms within a population of cells is complicated due to cell heterogeneity combined with varying levels of stability of these states; thus, efforts must be focused toward single-cell analyses. The approaches presented here constitute the forefront of epigenetics research at the single-cell level using classic and innovative methods to dissect epigenetics mechanisms from the limited material available in a single cell. This review further outlines exciting future avenues of research to address the significance of epigenetic heterogeneity and the contributions of microfluidics technologies to single-cell isolation and analysis. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Epigenetics: the language of the cell?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Biao; Jiang, Cizhong; Zhang, Rongxin

    2014-02-01

    Epigenetics is one of the most rapidly developing fields of biological research. Breakthroughs in several technologies have enabled the possibility of genome-wide epigenetic research, for example the mapping of human genome-wide DNA methylation. In addition, with the development of various high-throughput and high-resolution sequencing technologies, a large number of functional noncoding RNAs have been identified. Massive studies indicated that these functional ncRNA also play an important role in epigenetics. In this review, we gain inspiration from the recent proposal of the ceRNAs hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that miRNAs act as a language of communication. Accordingly, we further deduce that all of epigenetics may functionally acquire such a unique language characteristic. In summary, various epigenetic markers may not only participate in regulating cellular processes, but they may also act as the intracellular 'language' of communication and are involved in extensive information exchanges within cell.

  11. Probing the germline-dependence of epigenetic inheritance using artificial insemination in mice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bohacek, Johannes; von Werdt, Sarah; Mansuy, Isabelle M.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract We developed a simple, noninvasive artificial insemination technique to study epigenetic germline inheritance in mice. This technique avoids interfering factors introduced by superovulation, surgery, in vitro culture or mating that can confound the transmission of acquired epigenetic information through the germline. Using a stress model, we demonstrate that our method is suited to test the causal involvement of the male germline in transmitting acquired information from father to offspring. PMID:29492284

  12. Epigenetic Methylation of Parathyroid CaR and VDR Promoters in Experimental Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hofman-Bang, Jacob; Gravesen, Eva; Olgaard, Klaus

    2012-01-01

    R in parathyroid cultures decreases rapidly. Methylation of promoter regions is often detected during epigenetic downregulation of gene expression. Therefore, using an experimental rat model, we examined changes in methylation levels of parathyroid CaR and VDR promoters in vivo and in vitro. Methods. Uremia...... of parathyroid CaR and VDR genes were found. Thus, epigenetic methylation of these promoters does not explain decreased parathyroid expression of CaR and VDR genes in uremic s-HPT....

  13. Involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomaž Zupanc

    2012-03-01

    victims with no childhood abuse were found. It was suggested that changes in glucocorticoid system are mediated by tissue-specific changes in gene expression. Recent studies suggest that epigenetic mechanisms may play an important role in the interplay between stress exposure and genetic vulnerability. Conclusions: Integrating epigenetics into a model that permits prior experience to have a central role in determining individual differences is also consistent with a developmental perspective of PTSD vulnerability.

  14. Stem Cell Technology for (Epi)genetic Brain Disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riemens, Renzo J M; Soares, Edilene S; Esteller, Manel; Delgado-Morales, Raul

    2017-01-01

    Despite the enormous efforts of the scientific community over the years, effective therapeutics for many (epi)genetic brain disorders remain unidentified. The common and persistent failures to translate preclinical findings into clinical success are partially attributed to the limited efficiency of current disease models. Although animal and cellular models have substantially improved our knowledge of the pathological processes involved in these disorders, human brain research has generally been hampered by a lack of satisfactory humanized model systems. This, together with our incomplete knowledge of the multifactorial causes in the majority of these disorders, as well as a thorough understanding of associated (epi)genetic alterations, has been impeding progress in gaining more mechanistic insights from translational studies. Over the last years, however, stem cell technology has been offering an alternative approach to study and treat human brain disorders. Owing to this technology, we are now able to obtain a theoretically inexhaustible source of human neural cells and precursors in vitro that offer a platform for disease modeling and the establishment of therapeutic interventions. In addition to the potential to increase our general understanding of how (epi)genetic alterations contribute to the pathology of brain disorders, stem cells and derivatives allow for high-throughput drugs and toxicity testing, and provide a cell source for transplant therapies in regenerative medicine. In the current chapter, we will demonstrate the validity of human stem cell-based models and address the utility of other stem cell-based applications for several human brain disorders with multifactorial and (epi)genetic bases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), fragile X syndrome (FXS), Angelman syndrome (AS), Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), and Rett syndrome (RTT).

  15. Epigenetic game theory and its application in plants. Comment on: ;Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition; by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yuan-Ming; Zhang, Yinghao; Guo, Mingyue

    2017-03-01

    Wang's et al. article [1] is the first to integrate game theory (especially evolutionary game theory) with epigenetic modification of zygotic genomes. They described and assessed a modeling framework based on evolutionary game theory to quantify, how sperms and oocytes interact through epigenetic processes, to determine embryo development. They also studied the internal mechanisms for normal embryo development: 1) evolutionary interactions between DNA methylation of the paternal and maternal genomes, and 2) the application of game theory to formulate and quantify how different genes compete or cooperate to regulate embryogenesis through methylation. Although it is not very comprehensive and profound regarding game theory modeling, this article bridges the gap between evolutionary game theory and the epigenetic control of embryo development by powerful ordinary differential equations (ODEs). The epiGame framework includes four aspects: 1) characterizing how epigenetic game theory works by the strategy matrix, in which the pattern and relative magnitude of the methylation effects on embryogenesis, are described by the cooperation and competition mechanisms, 2) quantifying the game that the direction and degree of P-M interactions over embryo development can be explained by the sign and magnitude of interaction parameters in model (2), 3) modeling epigenetic interactions within the morula, especially for two coupled nonlinear ODEs, with explicit functions in model (4), which provide a good fit to the observed data for the two sexes (adjusted R2 = 0.956), and 4) revealing multifactorial interactions in embryogenesis from the coupled ODEs in model (2) to triplet ODEs in model (6). Clearly, this article extends game theory from evolutionary game theory to epigenetic game theory.

  16. Comparative epigenomics: an emerging field with breakthrough potential to understand evolution of epigenetic regulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janine E. Deakin

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic mechanisms regulate gene expression, thereby mediating the interaction between environment, genotype and phenotype. Changes to epigenetic regulation of genes may be heritable, permitting rapid adaptation of a species to environmental cues. However, most of the current understanding of epigenetic gene regulation has been gained from studies of mice and humans, with only a limited understanding of the conservation of epigenetic mechanisms across divergent taxa. The relative ease at which genome sequence data is now obtained and the advancements made in epigenomics techniques for non-model species provides a basis for carrying out comparative epigenomic studies across a wider range of species, making it possible to start unraveling the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms. We review the current knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms obtained from studying model organisms, give an example of how comparative epigenomics using non-model species is helping to trace the evolutionary history of X chromosome inactivation in mammals and explore the opportunities to study comparative epigenomics in biological systems displaying adaptation between species, such as the immune system and sex determination.

  17. Maternal immune activation epigenetically regulates hippocampal serotonin transporter levels

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonali N. Reisinger

    2016-10-01

    Based on these results we propose a model in which the long-lasting impact of MIA on depression-like behavior and associated molecular and cellular aberrations in the offspring is brought about by the modulation of epigenetic processes and consequent enduring changes in gene expression. These data provide additional insights into the principles underlying the impact of early infectious stress on the development of MDD and may contribute to the development of new targets for antidepressant therapy.

  18. Investigating the genetic and epigenetic basis of big biological questions with the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish: A review and perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogt, Gunter

    2018-03-01

    In the last 15 years, considerable attempts have been undertaken to develop the obligately parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis as a new model in biology. Its main advantage is the production of large numbers of offspring that are genetically identical to the mother, making this crustacean particularly suitable for research in epigenetics. Now, a draft genome, transcriptome and genome-wide methylome are available opening new windows for research. In this article, I summarize the biological advantages and genomic and epigenetic features of marbled crayfish and, based on first promising data, discuss what this new model could contribute to answering of ''big'' biological questions. Genome mining is expected to reveal new insights into the genetic specificities of decapod crustaceans, the genetic basis of arthropod reproduction, moulting and immunity, and more general topics such as the genetic underpinning of adaptation to fresh water, omnivory, biomineralization, sexual system change, behavioural variation, clonal genome evolution, and resistance to cancer. Epigenetic investigations with the marbled crayfish can help clarifying the role of epigenetic mechanisms in gene regulation, tissue specification, adult stem cell regulation, cell ageing, organ regeneration and disease susceptibility. Marbled crayfish is further suitable to elucidate the relationship between genetic and epigenetic variation, the transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic signatures and the contribution of epigenetic phenotype variation to the establishment of social hierarchies, environmental adaptation and speciation. These issues can be tackled by experiments with highly standardized laboratory lineages, comparison of differently adapted wild populations and the generation of genetically and epigenetically edited strains.

  19. Epigenetic changes in solid and hematopoietic tumors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toyota, Minoru; Issa, Jean-Pierre J

    2005-10-01

    There are three connected molecular mechanisms of epigenetic cellular memory in mammalian cells: DNA methylation, histone modifications, and RNA interference. The first two have now been firmly linked to neoplastic transformation. Hypermethylation of CpG-rich promoters triggers local histone code modifications resulting in a cellular camouflage mechanism that sequesters gene promoters away from transcription factors and results in stable silencing. This normally restricted mechanism is ubiquitously used in cancer to silence hundreds of genes, among which some critically contribute to the neoplastic phenotype. Virtually every pathway important to cancer formation is affected by this process. Methylation profiling of human cancers reveals tissue-specific epigenetic signatures, as well as tumor-specific signatures, reflecting in particular the presence of epigenetic instability in a subset of cancers affected by the CpG island methylator phenotype. Generally, methylation patterns can be traced to a tissue-specific, proliferation-dependent accumulation of aberrant promoter methylation in aging tissues, a process that can be accelerated by chronic inflammation and less well-defined mechanisms including, possibly, diet and genetic predisposition. The epigenetic machinery can also be altered in cancer by specific lesions in epigenetic effector genes, or by aberrant recruitment of these genes by mutant transcription factors and coactivators. Epigenetic patterns are proving clinically useful in human oncology via risk assessment, early detection, and prognostic classification. Pharmacologic manipulation of these patterns-epigenetic therapy-is also poised to change the way we treat cancer in the clinic.

  20. Epigenetic Dysregulation in Laryngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thian-Sze Wong

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Laryngeal carcinoma is a common head and neck cancer with poor prognosis. Patients with laryngeal carcinoma usually present late leading to the reduced treatment efficacy and high rate of recurrence. Despite the advance in the use of molecular markers for monitoring human cancers in the past decades, there are still no reliable markers for use to screen laryngeal carcinoma and follow the patients after treatment. Epigenetics emerged as an important field in understanding the biology of the human malignancies. Epigenetic alterations refer to the dysregulation of gene, which do not involve the alterations of the DNA sequence. Major epigenetic changes including methylation imbalance, histone modification, and small RNA dysregulation could play a role in the development of human malignancies. Global epigenetic change is now regarded as a molecular signature of cancer. The characteristics and behavior of a cancer could be predicted based on the specific epigenetic pattern. We here provide a review on the understanding of epigenetic dysregulation in laryngeal carcinoma. Further knowledge on the initiation and progression of laryngeal carcinoma at epigenetic level could promote the translation of the knowledge to clinical use.

  1. Epigenetic Pathways of Oncogenic Viruses: Therapeutic Promises.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Araby, Amr M; Fouad, Abdelrahman A; Hanbal, Amr M; Abdelwahab, Sara M; Qassem, Omar M; El-Araby, Moustafa E

    2016-02-01

    Cancerous transformation comprises different events that are both genetic and epigenetic. The ultimate goal for such events is to maintain cell survival and proliferation. This transformation occurs as a consequence of different features such as environmental and genetic factors, as well as some types of infection. Many viral infections are considered to be causative agents of a number of different malignancies. To convert normal cells into cancerous cells, oncogenic viruses must function at the epigenetic level to communicate with their host cells. Oncogenic viruses encode certain epigenetic factors that lead to the immortality and proliferation of infected cells. The epigenetic effectors produced by oncogenic viruses constitute appealing targets to prevent and treat malignant diseases caused by these viruses. In this review, we highlight the importance of epigenetic reprogramming for virus-induced oncogenesis, with special emphasis on viral epigenetic oncoproteins as therapeutic targets. The discovery of molecular components that target epigenetic pathways, especially viral factors, is also discussed. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  2. Prostate cancer epigenetics and its clinical implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yegnasubramanian, Srinivasan

    2016-01-01

    Normal cells have a level of epigenetic programming that is superimposed on the genetic code to establish and maintain their cell identity and phenotypes. This epigenetic programming can be thought as the architecture, a sort of cityscape, that is built upon the underlying genetic landscape. The epigenetic programming is encoded by a complex set of chemical marks on DNA, on histone proteins in nucleosomes, and by numerous context-specific DNA, RNA, protein interactions that all regulate the structure, organization, and function of the genome in a given cell. It is becoming increasingly evident that abnormalities in both the genetic landscape and epigenetic cityscape can cooperate to drive carcinogenesis and disease progression. Large-scale cancer genome sequencing studies have revealed that mutations in genes encoding the enzymatic machinery for shaping the epigenetic cityscape are among the most common mutations observed in human cancers, including prostate cancer. Interestingly, although the constellation of genetic mutations in a given cancer can be quite heterogeneous from person to person, there are numerous epigenetic alterations that appear to be highly recurrent, and nearly universal in a given cancer type, including in prostate cancer. The highly recurrent nature of these alterations can be exploited for development of biomarkers for cancer detection and risk stratification and as targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we explore the basic principles of epigenetic processes in normal cells and prostate cancer cells and discuss the potential clinical implications with regards to prostate cancer biomarker development and therapy.

  3. Prostate cancer epigenetics and its clinical implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Normal cells have a level of epigenetic programming that is superimposed on the genetic code to establish and maintain their cell identity and phenotypes. This epigenetic programming can be thought as the architecture, a sort of cityscape, that is built upon the underlying genetic landscape. The epigenetic programming is encoded by a complex set of chemical marks on DNA, on histone proteins in nucleosomes, and by numerous context-specific DNA, RNA, protein interactions that all regulate the structure, organization, and function of the genome in a given cell. It is becoming increasingly evident that abnormalities in both the genetic landscape and epigenetic cityscape can cooperate to drive carcinogenesis and disease progression. Large-scale cancer genome sequencing studies have revealed that mutations in genes encoding the enzymatic machinery for shaping the epigenetic cityscape are among the most common mutations observed in human cancers, including prostate cancer. Interestingly, although the constellation of genetic mutations in a given cancer can be quite heterogeneous from person to person, there are numerous epigenetic alterations that appear to be highly recurrent, and nearly universal in a given cancer type, including in prostate cancer. The highly recurrent nature of these alterations can be exploited for development of biomarkers for cancer detection and risk stratification and as targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we explore the basic principles of epigenetic processes in normal cells and prostate cancer cells and discuss the potential clinical implications with regards to prostate cancer biomarker development and therapy.

  4. Environmental chemical exposures and human epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Lifang; Zhang, Xiao; Wang, Dong; Baccarelli, Andrea

    2012-01-01

    Every year more than 13 million deaths worldwide are due to environmental pollutants, and approximately 24% of diseases are caused by environmental exposures that might be averted through preventive measures. Rapidly growing evidence has linked environmental pollutants with epigenetic variations, including changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNAs. Environ mental chemicals and epigenetic changes All of these mechanisms are likely to play important roles in disease aetiology, and their modifications due to environmental pollutants might provide further understanding of disease aetiology, as well as biomarkers reflecting exposures to environmental pollutants and/or predicting the risk of future disease. We summarize the findings on epigenetic alterations related to environmental chemical exposures, and propose mechanisms of action by means of which the exposures may cause such epigenetic changes. We discuss opportunities, challenges and future directions for future epidemiology research in environmental epigenomics. Future investigations are needed to solve methodological and practical challenges, including uncertainties about stability over time of epigenomic changes induced by the environment, tissue specificity of epigenetic alterations, validation of laboratory methods, and adaptation of bioinformatic and biostatistical methods to high-throughput epigenomics. In addition, there are numerous reports of epigenetic modifications arising following exposure to environmental toxicants, but most have not been directly linked to disease endpoints. To complete our discussion, we also briefly summarize the diseases that have been linked to environmental chemicals-related epigenetic changes. PMID:22253299

  5. Using induced pluripotent stem cells to explore genetic and epigenetic variation associated with Alzheimer's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imm, Jennifer; Kerrigan, Talitha L; Jeffries, Aaron; Lunnon, Katie

    2017-11-01

    It is thought that both genetic and epigenetic variation play a role in Alzheimer's disease initiation and progression. With the advent of somatic cell reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells it is now possible to generate patient-derived cells that are able to more accurately model and recapitulate disease. Furthermore, by combining this with recent advances in (epi)genome editing technologies, it is possible to begin to examine the functional consequence of previously nominated genetic variants and infer epigenetic causality from recently identified epigenetic variants. In this review, we explore the role of genetic and epigenetic variation in Alzheimer's disease and how the functional relevance of nominated loci can be investigated using induced pluripotent stem cells and (epi)genome editing techniques.

  6. Cancer Control and Prevention by Nutrition and Epigenetic Approaches

    OpenAIRE

    Verma, Mukesh

    2012-01-01

    Significance: Epigenetics involves alterations in gene expression without changing the nucleotide sequence. Because some epigenetic changes can be reversed chemically, epigenetics has tremendous implications for disease intervention and treatment. Recent Advances: After epigenetic components in cancer were characterized, genes and pathways are being characterized in other diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and neurological disorders. Observational, experimental, and clinical studies in diffe...

  7. Epigenetic mechanisms in neurological disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jakovcevski, Mira; Akbarian, Schahram

    2012-08-01

    The exploration of brain epigenomes, which consist of various types of DNA methylation and covalent histone modifications, is providing new and unprecedented insights into the mechanisms of neural development, neurological disease and aging. Traditionally, chromatin defects in the brain were considered static lesions of early development that occurred in the context of rare genetic syndromes, but it is now clear that mutations and maladaptations of the epigenetic machinery cover a much wider continuum that includes adult-onset neurodegenerative disease. Here, we describe how recent advances in neuroepigenetics have contributed to an improved mechanistic understanding of developmental and degenerative brain disorders, and we discuss how they could influence the development of future therapies for these conditions.

  8. Erwin Schroedinger, Francis Crick and epigenetic stability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ogryzko Vasily V

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Schroedinger's book 'What is Life?' is widely credited for having played a crucial role in development of molecular and cellular biology. My essay revisits the issues raised by this book from the modern perspective of epigenetics and systems biology. I contrast two classes of potential mechanisms of epigenetic stability: 'epigenetic templating' and 'systems biology' approaches, and consider them from the point of view expressed by Schroedinger. I also discuss how quantum entanglement, a nonclassical feature of quantum mechanics, can help to address the 'problem of small numbers' that led Schroedinger to promote the idea of a molecular code-script for explaining the stability of biological order.

  9. Design of small-molecule epigenetic modulators

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pachaiyappan, Boobalan

    2013-01-01

    The field of epigenetics has expanded rapidly to reveal multiple new targets for drug discovery. The functional elements of the epigenomic machinery can be catagorized as writers, erasers and readers, and together these elements control cellular gene expression and homeostasis. It is increasingly clear that aberrations in the epigenome can underly a variety of diseases, and thus discovery of small molecules that modulate the epigenome in a specific manner is a viable approach to the discovery of new therapeutic agents. In this Digest, the components of epigenetic control of gene expression will be briefly summarized, and efforts to identify small molecules that modulate epigenetic processes will be described. PMID:24300735

  10. Erwin Schroedinger, Francis Crick and epigenetic stability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ogryzko, Vasily V

    2008-04-17

    Schroedinger's book 'What is Life?' is widely credited for having played a crucial role in development of molecular and cellular biology. My essay revisits the issues raised by this book from the modern perspective of epigenetics and systems biology. I contrast two classes of potential mechanisms of epigenetic stability: 'epigenetic templating' and 'systems biology' approaches, and consider them from the point of view expressed by Schroedinger. I also discuss how quantum entanglement, a nonclassical feature of quantum mechanics, can help to address the 'problem of small numbers' that led Schroedinger to promote the idea of a molecular code-script for explaining the stability of biological order.

  11. Epigenetic Modulating Agents as a New Therapeutic Approach in Multiple Myeloma

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Maes, Ken; Menu, Eline; Van Valckenborgh, Els; Van Riet, Ivan; Vanderkerken, Karin; De Bruyne, Elke

    2013-01-01

    Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable B-cell malignancy. Therefore, new targets and drugs are urgently needed to improve patient outcome. Epigenetic aberrations play a crucial role in development and progression in cancer, including MM. To target these aberrations, epigenetic modulating agents, such as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), are under intense investigation in solid and hematological cancers. A clinical benefit of the use of these agents as single agents and in combination regimens has been suggested based on numerous studies in pre-clinical tumor models, including MM models. The mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood but appear to involve a combination of true epigenetic changes and cytotoxic actions. In addition, the interactions with the BM niche are also affected by epigenetic modulating agents that will further determine the in vivo efficacy and thus patient outcome. A better understanding of the molecular events underlying the anti-tumor activity of the epigenetic drugs will lead to more rational drug combinations. This review focuses on the involvement of epigenetic changes in MM pathogenesis and how the use of DNMTi and HDACi affect the myeloma tumor itself and its interactions with the microenvironment

  12. Epigenetics: a link between addiction and social environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ajonijebu, Duyilemi C; Abboussi, Oualid; Russell, Vivienne A; Mabandla, Musa V; Daniels, William M U

    2017-08-01

    The detrimental effects of drug abuse are apparently not limited to individuals but may also impact the vulnerability of their progenies to develop addictive behaviours. Epigenetic signatures, early life experience and environmental factors, converge to influence gene expression patterns in addiction phenotypes and consequently may serve as mediators of behavioural trait transmission between generations. The majority of studies investigating the role of epigenetics in addiction do not consider the influence of social interactions. This shortcoming in current experimental approaches necessitates developing social models that reflect the addictive behaviour in a free-living social environment. Furthermore, this review also reports on the advancement of interventions for drug addiction and takes into account the emerging roles of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in the etiology of drug addiction and that HDAC may be a potential therapeutic target at nucleosomal level to improve treatment outcomes.

  13. Mitochondria, Energetics, Epigenetics, and Cellular Responses to Stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    McAllister, Kimberly; Worth, Leroy; Haugen, Astrid C.; Meyer, Joel N.; Domann, Frederick E.; Van Houten, Bennett; Mostoslavsky, Raul; Bultman, Scott J.; Baccarelli, Andrea A.; Begley, Thomas J.; Sobol, Robert W.; Hirschey, Matthew D.; Ideker, Trey; Santos, Janine H.; Copeland, William C.; Tice, Raymond R.; Balshaw, David M.; Tyson, Frederick L.

    2014-01-01

    Background: Cells respond to environmental stressors through several key pathways, including response to reactive oxygen species (ROS), nutrient and ATP sensing, DNA damage response (DDR), and epigenetic alterations. Mitochondria play a central role in these pathways not only through energetics and ATP production but also through metabolites generated in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, as well as mitochondria–nuclear signaling related to mitochondria morphology, biogenesis, fission/fusion, mitophagy, apoptosis, and epigenetic regulation. Objectives: We investigated the concept of bidirectional interactions between mitochondria and cellular pathways in response to environmental stress with a focus on epigenetic regulation, and we examined DNA repair and DDR pathways as examples of biological processes that respond to exogenous insults through changes in homeostasis and altered mitochondrial function. Methods: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences sponsored the Workshop on Mitochondria, Energetics, Epigenetics, Environment, and DNA Damage Response on 25–26 March 2013. Here, we summarize key points and ideas emerging from this meeting. Discussion: A more comprehensive understanding of signaling mechanisms (cross-talk) between the mitochondria and nucleus is central to elucidating the integration of mitochondrial functions with other cellular response pathways in modulating the effects of environmental agents. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of mitochondrial functions in epigenetic regulation and DDR with environmental stress. Development and application of novel technologies, enhanced experimental models, and a systems-type research approach will help to discern how environmentally induced mitochondrial dysfunction affects key mechanistic pathways. Conclusions: Understanding mitochondria–cell signaling will provide insight into individual responses to environmental hazards, improving prediction of hazard and susceptibility to

  14. Meta-Analysis of Transcriptome Data Related to Hippocampus Biopsies and iPSC-Derived Neuronal Cells from Alzheimer's Disease Patients Reveals an Association with FOXA1 and FOXA2 Gene Regulatory Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wruck, Wasco; Schröter, Friederike; Adjaye, James

    2016-01-01

    Although the incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is continuously increasing in the aging population worldwide, effective therapies are not available. The interplay between causative genetic and environmental factors is partially understood. Meta-analyses have been performed on aspects such as polymorphisms, cytokines, and cognitive training. Here, we propose a meta-analysis approach based on hierarchical clustering analysis of a reliable training set of hippocampus biopsies, which is condensed to a gene expression signature. This gene expression signature was applied to various test sets of brain biopsies and iPSC-derived neuronal cell models to demonstrate its ability to distinguish AD samples from control. Thus, our identified AD-gene signature may form the basis for determination of biomarkers that are urgently needed to overcome current diagnostic shortfalls. Intriguingly, the well-described AD-related genes APP and APOE are not within the signature because their gene expression profiles show a lower correlation to the disease phenotype than genes from the signature. This is in line with the differing characteristics of the disease as early-/late-onset or with/without genetic predisposition. To investigate the gene signature's systemic role(s), signaling pathways, gene ontologies, and transcription factors were analyzed which revealed over-representation of response to stress, regulation of cellular metabolic processes, and reactive oxygen species. Additionally, our results clearly point to an important role of FOXA1 and FOXA2 gene regulatory networks in the etiology of AD. This finding is in corroboration with the recently reported major role of the dopaminergic system in the development of AD and its regulation by FOXA1 and FOXA2.

  15. Epigenetics and cerebral organoids: promising directions in autism spectrum disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forsberg, Sheena Louise; Ilieva, Mirolyuba; Maria Michel, Tanja

    2018-01-10

    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 68 children in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is characterized by impairments in social interactions and communication, restrictive and repetitive patterns of behaviors, and interests. Owing to disease complexity, only a limited number of treatment options are available mainly for children that alleviate but do not cure the debilitating symptoms. Studies confirm a genetic link, but environmental factors, such as medications, toxins, and maternal infection during pregnancy, as well as birth complications also play a role. Some studies indicate a set of candidate genes with different DNA methylation profiles in ASD compared to healthy individuals. Thus epigenetic alterations could help bridging the gene-environment gap in deciphering the underlying neurobiology of autism. However, epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) have mainly included a very limited number of postmortem brain samples. Hence, cellular models mimicking brain development in vitro will be of great importance to study the critical epigenetic alterations and when they might happen. This review will give an overview of the state of the art concerning knowledge on epigenetic changes in autism and how new, cutting edge expertise based on three-dimensional (3D) stem cell technology models (brain organoids) can contribute in elucidating the multiple aspects of disease mechanisms.

  16. Epigenetic Mechanisms in Developmental Alcohol-Induced Neurobehavioral Deficits

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Balapal S. Basavarajappa

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and its damaging consequences on the developing infant brain are significant public health, social, and economic issues. The major distinctive features of prenatal alcohol exposure in humans are cognitive and behavioral dysfunction due to damage to the central nervous system (CNS, which results in a continuum of disarray that is collectively called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD. Many rodent models have been developed to understand the mechanisms of and to reproduce the human FASD phenotypes. These animal FASD studies have provided several molecular pathways that are likely responsible for the neurobehavioral abnormalities that are associated with prenatal alcohol exposure of the developing CNS. Recently, many laboratories have identified several immediate, as well as long-lasting, epigenetic modifications of DNA methylation, DNA-associated histone proteins and microRNA (miRNA biogenesis by using a variety of epigenetic approaches in rodent FASD models. Because DNA methylation patterns, DNA-associated histone protein modifications and miRNA-regulated gene expression are crucial for synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, they can therefore offer an answer to many of the neurobehavioral abnormalities that are found in FASD. In this review, we briefly discuss the current literature of DNA methylation, DNA-associated histone proteins modification and miRNA and review recent developments concerning epigenetic changes in FASD.

  17. Epigenetic changes detected in micropropagated hop plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peredo, Elena L; Arroyo-García, Rosa; Revilla, M Angeles

    2009-07-01

    Micropropagation is a widely used technique in hops (Humulus lupulus L.). However, to the best of our knowledge, the genetic and epigenetic stability of the microplants has never been tested before. In the present study, two hop accessions were established in vitro and micropropagated for 2 years. The genetic and epigenetic stability of the in vitro plants was analyzed with several molecular techniques: random amplified DNA polymorphism (RAPD), retrotransposon microsatellite amplified polymorphism (REMAP), and methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP). No genetic variation among control and treated plants was found, even after 12 cycles of micropropagation. Epigenetic variation was detected, first, when field and in vitro samples were compared. Nearly a 30% of the detected fragments presented the same pattern of alterations in all the vitroplants. Second, lower levels of epigenetic variation were detected among plants from the different subcultures. Part of this detected variation seemed to be accumulated along the 12 sequential subcultures tested.

  18. Epigenetics in radiotherapy: Where are we heading?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smits, Kim M.; Melotte, Veerle; Niessen, Hanneke E.C.; Dubois, Ludwig; Oberije, Cary; Troost, Esther G.C.; Starmans, Maud H.W.; Boutros, Paul C.; Vooijs, Marc; Engeland, Manon van; Lambin, Philippe

    2014-01-01

    Radiotherapy is an important component of anti-cancer treatment. However, not all cancer patients respond to radiotherapy, and with current knowledge clinicians are unable to predict which patients are at high risk of recurrence after radiotherapy. There is therefore an urgent need for biomarkers to guide clinical decision-making. Although the importance of epigenetic alterations is widely accepted, their application as biomarkers in radiotherapy has not been studied extensively. In addition, it has been suggested that radiotherapy itself introduces epigenetic alterations. As epigenetic alterations can potentially be reversed by drug treatment, they are interesting candidate targets for anticancer therapy or radiotherapy sensitizers. The application of demethylating drugs or histone deacetylase inhibitors to sensitize patients for radiotherapy has been studied in vitro, in vivo as well as in clinical trials with promising results. This review describes the current knowledge on epigenetics in radiotherapy

  19. Epigenetic variation, phenotypic heritability, and evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Furrow, Robert E.; Christiansen, Freddy Bugge; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2014-01-01

    families. The potential importance of this interaction, recognized in classical studies of the genetic epidemiology of complex diseases and other quantitative characters, has reemerged in studies of the effects of epigenetic modifications, their variation, and their transmission between generations....

  20. Epigenetic Regulation in Prostate Cancer Progression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruggero, Katia; Farran-Matas, Sonia; Martinez-Tebar, Adrian; Aytes, Alvaro

    2018-01-01

    An important number of newly identified molecular alterations in prostate cancer affect gene encoding master regulators of chromatin biology epigenetic regulation. This review will provide an updated view of the key epigenetic mechanisms underlying prostate cancer progression, therapy resistance, and potential actionable mechanisms and biomarkers. Key players in chromatin biology and epigenetic master regulators has been recently described to be crucially altered in metastatic CRPC and tumors that progress to AR independency. As such, epigenetic dysregulation represents a driving mechanism in the reprograming of prostate cancer cells as they lose AR-imposed identity. Chromatin integrity and accessibility for transcriptional regulation are key features altered in cancer progression, and particularly relevant in nuclear hormone receptor-driven tumors like prostate cancer. Understanding how chromatin remodeling dictates prostate development and how its deregulation contributes to prostate cancer onset and progression may improve risk stratification and treatment selection for prostate cancer patients.

  1. Epigenetic Regulation of Monocyte and Macrophage Function

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, Marten A.; de Winther, Menno P. J.

    2016-01-01

    Monocytes and macrophages are key players in tissue homeostasis and immune responses. Epigenetic processes tightly regulate cellular functioning in health and disease. Recent Advances: Recent technical developments have allowed detailed characterizations of the transcriptional circuitry underlying

  2. Epigenetics of dominance for enzyme activity

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Unknown

    dimer over a wide range of H+ concentrations accounts for the epigenetics of dominance for enzyme activity. [Trehan K S ... The present study has been carried on acid phosphatase .... enzyme activity over mid parent value (table 3, col. 13),.

  3. Dubbing SAGA unveils new epigenetic crosstalk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pijnappel, W W M Pim; Timmers, H Th Marc

    2008-02-01

    In a recent issue of Molecular Cell, two independent studies (Zhang et al., 2008; Zhao et al., 2008) provide compelling evidence that targeted deubiquitylation of histones is intimately linked to transcription activation, epigenetic regulation, and cancer progression.

  4. Epigenetics Research on the International Space Station

    Science.gov (United States)

    Love, John; Cooley, Vic

    2016-01-01

    The International Space Station (ISS) is a state-of-the orbiting laboratory focused on advancing science and technology research. Experiments being conducted on the ISS include investigations in the emerging field of Epigenetics. Epigenetics refers to stably heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype (the transcriptional potential of a cell) resulting from changes in a chromosome without alterations to the underlying DNA nucleotide sequence (the genetic code), which are caused by external or environmental factors, such as spaceflight microgravity. Molecular mechanisms associated with epigenetic alterations regulating gene expression patterns include covalent chemical modifications of DNA (e.g., methylation) or histone proteins (e.g., acetylation, phorphorylation, or ubiquitination). For example, Epigenetics ("Epigenetics in Spaceflown C. elegans") is a recent JAXA investigation examining whether adaptations to microgravity transmit from one cell generation to another without changing the basic DNA of the organism. Mouse Epigenetics ("Transcriptome Analysis and Germ-Cell Development Analysis of Mice in Space") investigates molecular alterations in organ-specific gene expression patterns and epigenetic modifications, and analyzes murine germ cell development during long term spaceflight, as well as assessing changes in offspring DNA. NASA's first foray into human Omics research, the Twins Study ("Differential effects of homozygous twin astronauts associated with differences in exposure to spaceflight factors"), includes investigations evaluating differential epigenetic effects via comprehensive whole genome analysis, the landscape of DNA and RNA methylation, and biomolecular changes by means of longitudinal integrated multi-omics research. And the inaugural Genes in Space student challenge experiment (Genes in Space-1) is aimed at understanding how epigenetics plays a role in immune system dysregulation by assaying DNA methylation in immune cells

  5. Dynamic epigenetic responses to muscle contraction

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rasmussen, Morten; Zierath, Juleen R; Barrès, Romain

    2014-01-01

    Skeletal muscle is a malleable organ that responds to a single acute exercise bout by inducing the expression of genes involved in structural, metabolic and functional adaptations. Several epigenetic mechanisms including histone H4 deacetylation and loss of promoter methylation have been implicated...... in modifying exercise-responsive gene expression. These transient changes suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are not restricted to early stages of human development but are broad dynamic controllers of genomic plasticity in response to environmental factors....

  6. Boolean modelling reveals new regulatory connections between transcription factors orchestrating the development of the ventral spinal cord.

    KAUST Repository

    Lovrics, Anna; Gao, Yu; Juhá sz, Bianka; Bock, Istvá n; Byrne, Helen M; Dinnyé s, Andrá s; Ková cs, Krisztiá n A

    2014-01-01

    with the five known progenitor cell types located in the ventral spinal cord. The revised gene regulatory network reproduced previously observed cell state switches between progenitor cells observed in knock-out animal models or in experiments where

  7. Epigenetic patterns newly established after interspecific hybridization in natural populations of Solanum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cara, Nicolás; Marfil, Carlos F; Masuelli, Ricardo W

    2013-01-01

    Interspecific hybridization is known for triggering genetic and epigenetic changes, such as modifications on DNA methylation patterns and impact on phenotypic plasticity and ecological adaptation. Wild potatoes (Solanum, section Petota) are adapted to multiple habitats along the Andes, and natural hybridizations have proven to be a common feature among species of this group. Solanum × rechei, a recently formed hybrid that grows sympatrically with the parental species S. kurtzianum and S. microdontum, represents an ideal model for studying the ecologically and evolutionary importance of hybridization in generating of epigenetic variability. Genetic and epigenetic variability and their correlation with morphological variation were investigated in wild and ex situ conserved populations of these three wild potato species using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (MSAP) techniques. We observed that novel methylation patterns doubled the number of novel genetic patterns in the hybrid and that the morphological variability measured on 30 characters had a higher correlation with the epigenetic than with the genetic variability. Statistical comparison of methylation levels suggested that the interspecific hybridization induces genome demethylation in the hybrids. A Bayesian analysis of the genetic data reveled the hybrid nature of S. × rechei, with genotypes displaying high levels of admixture with the parental species, while the epigenetic information assigned S. × rechei to its own cluster with low admixture. These findings suggested that after the hybridization event, a novel epigenetic pattern was rapidly established, which might influence the phenotypic plasticity and adaptation of the hybrid to new environments. PMID:24198938

  8. Huntington's disease accelerates epigenetic aging of human brain and disrupts DNA methylation levels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horvath, Steve; Langfelder, Peter; Kwak, Seung; Aaronson, Jeff; Rosinski, Jim; Vogt, Thomas F; Eszes, Marika; Faull, Richard L M; Curtis, Maurice A; Waldvogel, Henry J; Choi, Oi-Wa; Tung, Spencer; Vinters, Harry V; Coppola, Giovanni; Yang, X William

    2016-07-01

    Age of Huntington's disease (HD) motoric onset is strongly related to the number of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the huntingtin gene, suggesting that biological tissue age plays an important role in disease etiology. Recently, a DNA methylation based biomarker of tissue age has been advanced as an epigenetic aging clock. We sought to inquire if HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age. DNA methylation data was generated for 475 brain samples from various brain regions of 26 HD cases and 39 controls. Overall, brain regions from HD cases exhibit a significant epigenetic age acceleration effect (p=0.0012). A multivariate model analysis suggests that HD status increases biological age by 3.2 years. Accelerated epigenetic age can be observed in specific brain regions (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and cingulate gyrus). After excluding controls, we observe a negative correlation (r=-0.41, p=5.5×10-8) between HD gene CAG repeat length and the epigenetic age of HD brain samples. Using correlation network analysis, we identify 11 co-methylation modules with a significant association with HD status across 3 broad cortical regions. In conclusion, HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age of specific brain regions and more broadly with substantial changes in brain methylation levels.

  9. Epigenetic information in gametes: Gaming from before fertilization. Comment on ;Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition; by Qian Wang et al.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shi, Junchao; Zhang, Xudong; Liu, Ying; Chen, Qi

    2017-03-01

    In their interesting article [1] Wang et al. proposed a mathematical model based on evolutionary game theory [2] to tackle the fundamental question in embryo development, that how sperm and egg interact with each other, through epigenetic processes, to form a zygote and direct successful embryo development. This work is based on the premise that epigenetic reprogramming (referring to the erasure and reconstruction of epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications) after fertilization might be of paramount importance to maintain the normal development of embryos, a premise we fully agree, given the compelling experimental evidence reported [3]. Wang et al. have specifically chosen to employ the well-studied DNA methylation reprogramming process during mammalian early embryo development, as a basis to develop their mathematical model, namely epigenetic game theory (epiGame). They concluded that the DNA methylation pattern in mammalian early embryo could be formulated and quantified, and their model can be further used to quantify the interactions, such as competition and/or cooperation of expressed genes that maximize the fitness of embryos. The efforts by Wang et al. in quantitatively and systematically analyzing the beginning of life apparently hold value and represent a novel direction for future embryo development research from both theoretical and experimental biologists. On the other hand, we see their theory still at its infancy, because there are plenty more parameters to consider and there are spaces for debates, such as the cases of haploid embryo development [4]. Here, we briefly comment on the dynamic process of epigenetic reprogramming that goes beyond DNA methylation, a dynamic interplay that involves histone modifications, non-coding RNAs, transposable elements et al., as well as the potential input of the various types of 'hereditary' epigenetic information in the gametes - a game that has started before the fertilization.

  10. Epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell aging

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Beerman, Isabel; Rossi, Derrick J.

    2014-01-01

    Aging is invariably associated with alterations of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) compartment, including loss of functional capacity, altered clonal composition, and changes in lineage contribution. Although accumulation of DNA damage occurs during HSC aging, it is unlikely such consistent aging phenotypes could be solely attributed to changes in DNA integrity. Another mechanism by which heritable traits could contribute to the changes in the functional potential of aged HSCs is through alterations in the epigenetic landscape of adult stem cells. Indeed, recent studies on hematopoietic stem cells have suggested that altered epigenetic profiles are associated with HSC aging and play a key role in modulating the functional potential of HSCs at different stages during ontogeny. Even small changes of the epigenetic landscape can lead to robustly altered expression patterns, either directly by loss of regulatory control or through indirect, additive effects, ultimately leading to transcriptional changes of the stem cells. Potential drivers of such changes in the epigenetic landscape of aged HSCs include proliferative history, DNA damage, and deregulation of key epigenetic enzymes and complexes. This review will focus largely on the two most characterized epigenetic marks – DNA methylation and histone modifications – but will also discuss the potential role of non-coding RNAs in regulating HSC function during aging

  11. Conference scene: Select Biosciences Epigenetics Europe 2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Razvi, Enal S

    2011-02-01

    The field of epigenetics is now on a geometric rise, driven in a large part by the realization that modifiers of chromatin are key regulators of biological processes in vivo. The three major classes of epigenetic effectors are DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications (such as acetylation, methylation or phosphorylation) and small noncoding RNAs (most notably microRNAs). In this article, I report from Select Biosciences Epigenetics Europe 2010 industry conference held on 14-15 September 2010 at The Burlington Hotel, Dublin, Ireland. This industry conference was extremely well attended with a global pool of delegates representing the academic research community, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the technology/tool developers. This conference represented the current state of the epigenetics community with cancer/oncology as a key driver. In fact, it has been estimated that approximately 45% of epigenetic researchers today identify cancer/oncology as their main area of focus vis-à-vis their epigenetic research efforts.

  12. Transgenerational epigenetic effects on animal behaviour.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen, Per

    2013-12-01

    Over the last decade a shift in paradigm has occurred with respect to the interaction between environment and genes. It is now clear that animal genomes are regulated to a large extent as a result of input from environmental events and experiences, which cause short- and long-term modifications in epigenetic markings of DNA and histones. In this review, the evidence that such epigenetic modifications can affect the behaviour of animals is explored, and whether such acquired behaviour alterations can transfer across generation borders. First, the mechanisms by which experiences cause epigenetic modifications are examined. This includes, for example, methylation of cytosine in CpG positions and acetylation of histones, and studies showing that this can be modified by early experiences. Secondly, the evidence that specific modifications in the epigenome can be the cause of behaviour variation is reviewed. Thirdly, the extent to which this phenotypically active epigenetic variants can be inherited either through the germline or through reoccurring environmental conditions is examined. A particularly interesting observation is that epigenetic modifications are often linked to stress, and may possibly be mediated by steroid effects. Finally, the idea that transgenerationally stable epigenetic variants may serve as substrates for natural selection is explored, and it is speculated that they may even predispose for directed, non-random mutations. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell aging

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Beerman, Isabel, E-mail: isabel.beerman@childrens.harvard.edu [Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Department of Pe