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Sample records for heritable epigenetic mutation

  1. Heritable epigenetic mutation of a transposon-flanked Arabidopsis gene due to lack of the chromatin-remodeling factor DDM1.

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    Saze, Hidetoshi; Kakutani, Tetsuji

    2007-08-08

    Epigenetically silent transposons and repeats constitute a substantial proportion of eukaryotic genomes, but their impact on cellular gene function remains largely unexplored. In Arabidopsis, transposons are silenced by DNA methylation, and this methylation is often abolished by mutations in a chromatin-remodeling gene DDM1 (DECREASE IN DNA METHYLATION 1). The ddm1 mutation induces various types of developmental abnormalities through de-repression of transposons and repeats. Here, we report a novel mechanism for a ddm1-induced syndrome, called bonsai (bns). We identified the gene responsible for the bns phenotypes by genetic linkage analysis and subsequent transcriptional analysis. The bns phenotypes are due to silencing of a putative Anaphase-Promoting Complex (APC) 13 gene. The BNS gene silencing was associated with DNA hypermethylation, which is in contrast to the ddm1-induced hypomethylation in the other genomic regions. This paradoxical BNS hypermethylation was reproducibly induced during self-pollination of the ddm1 mutant, and it was mediated by a long interspersed nuclear element (LINE) retrotransposon flanking the BNS gene. We discuss possible molecular mechanisms and the evolutionary implications of transposon-mediated epigenetic changes in the BNS locus.

  2. Strategies To Modulate Heritable Epigenetic Defects in Cellular Machinery: Lessons from Nature

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    Ganesh N. Pandian

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Natural epigenetic processes precisely orchestrate the intricate gene network by expressing and suppressing genes at the right place and time, thereby playing an essential role in maintaining the cellular homeostasis. Environment-mediated alteration of this natural epigenomic pattern causes abnormal cell behavior and shifts the cell from the normal to a diseased state, leading to certain cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Unlike heritable diseases that are caused by the irreversible mutations in DNA, epigenetic errors can be reversed. Inheritance of epigenetic memory is also a major concern in the clinical translation of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of induced pluripotent stem cell technology. Consequently, there is an increasing interest in the development of novel epigenetic switch-based therapeutic strategies that could potentially restore the heritable changes in epigenetically inherited disorders. Here we give a comprehensive overview of epigenetic inheritance and suggest the prospects of therapeutic gene modulation using epigenetic-based drugs, in particular histone deacetylase inhibitors. This review suggests that there is a need to develop therapeutic strategies that effectively mimic the natural environment and include the ways to modulate the gene expression at both the genetic and epigenetic levels. The development of tailor-made small molecules that could epigenetically alter DNA in a sequence-specific manner is a promising approach for restoring defects in an altered epigenome and may offer a sustainable solution to some unresolved clinical issues.

  3. Epigenetic variation, phenotypic heritability, and evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Furrow, Robert E.; Christiansen, Freddy Bugge; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2014-01-01

    Familial aggregation of complex diseases may have many causes in addition to and apart from genetic predisposition due to common ancestry. For example, exposure to an environment that induces susceptibility to a disease may produce similar familial aggregations when the environment is shared...... by family members. In general, according to the principles of (Johannsen 1903), the emergence of a disease phenotype is the result of the combined effects of the genotype of the individual and the environment that it experiences during development. The heritability of a disease is a measure of familial...... of evolution. Darwin’s inspiration originated from the practical use of family resemblance in animal breeding. Animal breeders have long known that a major obstacle to progress in genetic improvement is the interaction between familial aggregation of environments and the effects of similar genetics within...

  4. Small RNAs and heritable epigenetic variation in plants.

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    Bond, Donna M; Baulcombe, David C

    2014-02-01

    Recent studies suggest that inheritance of phenotypes in plants is more likely to involve epigenetics than in mammals. There are two reasons for this difference. First, there is a RNA-based system in plants involving small (s)RNAs that influences de novo establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation at many sites in plant genomes. These regions of methylated DNA are epigenetic marks with the potential to affect gene expression that are transmitted between dividing cells of the same generation. Second, unlike mammals, DNA methyltransferases in plants are active during gametogenesis and embryogenesis so that patterns of DNA methylation can persist from parent to progeny and do not need to be reset. We discuss how the effects of stress and genome interactions in hybrid plants are two systems that illustrate how RNA-based mechanisms can influence heritable phenotypes in plants. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Genome instability and epigenetic modification--heritable responses to environmental stress?

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    Boyko, Alex; Kovalchuk, Igor

    2011-06-01

    As sessile organisms, plants need to continuously adjust their responses to external stimuli to cope with changing growth conditions. Since the seed dispersal range is often rather limited, exposure of progeny to the growth conditions of parents is very probable. The plasticity of plant phenotypes cannot be simply explained by genetic changes such as point mutations, deletions, insertions and gross chromosomal rearrangements. Since many environmental stresses persist for only one or several plant generations, other mechanisms of adaptation must exist. The heritability of reversible epigenetic modifications that regulate gene expression without changing DNA sequence makes them an attractive alternative mechanism. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding how changes in genome stability and epigenetically mediated changes in gene expression could contribute to plant adaptation. We provide examples of environmentally induced transgenerational epigenetic effects that include the appearance of new phenotypes in successive generations of stressed plants. We also describe several cases in which exposure to stress leads to nonrandom heritable but reversible changes in stress tolerance in the progeny of stressed plants. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Epigenetic regulatory mutations and epigenetic therapy for multiple myeloma.

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    Dupéré-Richer, Daphné; Licht, Jonathan D

    2017-07-01

    Next generation sequencing and large-scale analysis of patient specimens has created a more complete picture of multiple myeloma (MM) revealing that epigenetic deregulation is a prominent factor in MM pathogenesis. Over half of MM patients have mutations in genes encoding epigenetic modifier enzymes. The DNA methylation profile of MM is related to the stage of the disease and certain classes of mutations in epigenetic modifiers are more prevalent upon disease relapse, suggesting a role in disease progression. Many small molecules targeting regulators of epigenetic machinery have been developed and clinical trials are underway for some of these in MM. Recent findings suggest that epigenetic targeting drugs could be an important strategy to cure MM. Combining these agents along with other strategies to affect the MM cell such as immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors may enhance efficacy of combination regimens in MM.

  7. [Progress of the SUPERMAN epigenetic mutation in Arabidopsis].

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    Tang, Rong-Hua; Zhang, Jun-Cheng; Zhuang, Wei-Jian; Wu, Wei-Ren

    2003-09-01

    The SUPERMAN gene in Arabidopsis has its epigenetic mutants (the clark kent alleles,clk). The phenotype of clk and its genotype and methylated patterns and the epi-mutation mechanisms of SUPERMAN were summarized in the review. Heritable but unstable sup epi-alleles are associated with nearly identical patterns of excess cytosine methylation within the SUP gene and a decreased level of SUP RNA. The methylation of cytosine at CpG and CPXPG is controlled by METHYLTRANSFERASE1(MET1) and CHROMOMETHYLASE3 (CMT3) which is regulated by KRYPTONITE gene, respectively.

  8. Dominant-lethal mutations and heritable translocations in mice

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    Generoso, W.M.

    1983-01-01

    Chromosome aberrations are a major component of radiation or chemically induced genetic damage in mammalian germ cells. The types of aberration produced are dependent upon the mutagen used and the germ-cell stage treated. For example, in male meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells certain alkylating chemicals induce both dominant-lethal mutations and heritable translocations while others induce primarily dominant-lethal mutations. Production of these two endpoints appears to be determined by the stability of alkylation products with the chromosomes. If the reaction products are intact in the male chromosomes at the time of sperm entry, they may be repaired in fertilized eggs. If repair is not effected and the alkylation products persist to the time of pronuclear chromosome replication, they lead to chromatid-type aberrations and eventually to dominant-lethality. The production of heritable translocations, on the other hand, requires a transformation of unstable alkylation products into suitable intermediate lesions. The process by which these lesions are converted into chromosome exchange within the male genome takes place after sperm enters the egg but prior to the time of pronuclear chromosome replication (i.e., chromosome-type). Thus, dominant-lethal mutations result from both chromatid- and chromosome-type aberrations while heritable translocations result primarily from the latter type. DNA target sites associated with the production of these two endpoints are discussed.

  9. Plastic germline reprogramming of heritable small RNAs enables maintenance or erasure of epigenetic memories.

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    Houri-Ze'evi, Leah; Rechavi, Oded

    2016-12-01

    In Caenorhabditis elegans small RNAs can regulate genes across generations. The mysterious tendency of heritable RNA interference (RNAi) responses to terminate after 3-5 generations has been referred to as "the bottleneck to RNAi inheritance." We have recently shown that the re-setting of epigenetic inheritance after 3-5 generations is not due to passive dilution of the original RNA trigger, but instead results from an active, multigenerational, and small RNA-mediated regulatory pathway. In this "Point of View" manuscript we suggest that the process that leads to the erasure of the ancestral small RNA-encoded memory is a specialized type of germline reprogramming mechanism, analogous to the processes that robustly remove parental DNA methylation and histone modifications early in development in different organisms. Traditionally, germline reprogramming mechanisms that re-set chromatin are thought to stand in the way of inheritance of memories of parental experiences. We found that reprogramming of heritable small RNAs takes multiple generations to complete, enabling long-term inheritance of small RNA responses. Moreover, the duration of this reprogramming process can be prolonged significantly if new heritable RNAi responses are provoked. A dedicated signaling pathway that is responsive to environmental cues can tune the epigenetic state of the RNAi inheritance system, so that inheritance of particular small RNA species can be extended.

  10. Extensive and heritable epigenetic remodeling and genetic stability accompany allohexaploidization of wheat.

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    Zhao, Na; Zhu, Bo; Li, Mingjiu; Wang, Li; Xu, Liying; Zhang, Huakun; Zheng, Shuangshuang; Qi, Bao; Han, Fangpu; Liu, Bao

    2011-07-01

    Allopolyploidy has played a prominent role in organismal evolution, particularly in angiosperms. Allohexaploidization is a critical step leading to the formation of common wheat as a new species, Triticum aestivum, as well as for bestowing its remarkable adaptability. A recent study documented that the initial stages of wheat allohexaploidization was associated with rampant genetic and epigenetic instabilities at genomic regions flanking a retrotransposon family named Veju. Although this finding is in line with the prevailing opinion of rapid genomic instability associated with nascent plant allopolyploidy, its relevance to speciation of T. aestivum remains unclear. Here, we show that genetic instability at genomic regions flanking the Veju, flanking a more abundant retroelement BARE-1, as well as at a large number of randomly sampled genomic loci, is all extremely rare or nonexistent in preselected individuals representing three sets of independently formed nascent allohexaploid wheat lines, which had a transgenerationally stable genomic constitution analogous to that of T. aestivum. In contrast, extensive and transgenerationally heritable repatterning of DNA methylation at all three kinds of genomic loci were reproducibly detected. Thus, our results suggest that rampant genetic instability associated with nascent allohexaploidization in wheat likely represents incidental and anomalous phenomena that are confined to by-product individuals inconsequential to the establishment of the newly formed plants toward speciation of T. aestivum; instead, extensive and heritable epigenetic remodeling coupled with preponderant genetic stability is generally associated with nascent wheat allohexaploidy, and therefore, more likely a contributory factor to the speciation event(s).

  11. Genetic syndromes caused by mutations in epigenetic genes.

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    Berdasco, María; Esteller, Manel

    2013-04-01

    The orchestrated organization of epigenetic factors that control chromatin dynamism, including DNA methylation, histone marks, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and chromatin-remodeling proteins, is essential for the proper function of tissue homeostasis, cell identity and development. Indeed, deregulation of epigenetic profiles has been described in several human pathologies, including complex diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases), metabolic pathologies (type 2 diabetes and obesity) and imprinting disorders. Over the last decade it has become increasingly clear that mutations of genes involved in epigenetic mechanism, such as DNA methyltransferases, methyl-binding domain proteins, histone deacetylases, histone methylases and members of the SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodelers are linked to human disorders, including Immunodeficiency Centromeric instability Facial syndrome 1, Rett syndrome, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, Sotos syndrome or alpha-thalassemia/mental retardation X-linked syndrome, among others. As new members of the epigenetic machinery are described, the number of human syndromes associated with epigenetic alterations increases. As recent examples, mutations of histone demethylases and members of the non-coding RNA machinery have recently been associated with Kabuki syndrome, Claes-Jensen X-linked mental retardation syndrome and Goiter syndrome. In this review, we describe the variety of germline mutations of epigenetic modifiers that are known to be associated with human disorders, and discuss the therapeutic potential of epigenetic drugs as palliative care strategies in the treatment of such disorders.

  12. The role of mutations in epigenetic regulators in myeloid malignancies.

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    Woods, Brittany A; Levine, Ross L

    2015-01-01

    Over the past decade, genomic studies have identified a number of novel and recurrent somatic mutations that affect epigenetic patterning in patients with myeloid malignancies, including myeloproliferative neoplasms, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia. Many of these mutations occur in genes with established roles in the regulation and maintenance of DNA methylation and/or chromatin modifications in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Subsequent genetic and functional studies have revealed that these mutations affect epigenetic patterning in myeloid diseases. In this review, we discuss historical and recent studies implicating epigenetic modifiers in the development and evolution of the various myeloid malignancies and discuss how this knowledge has and will lead to future clinical and biologic insights. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Follicular lymphoma, a B cell malignancy addicted to epigenetic mutations.

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    Korfi, Koorosh; Ali, Sara; Heward, James A; Fitzgibbon, Jude

    2017-05-04

    While follicular lymphoma (FL) is exquisitely responsive to immuno-chemotherapy, many patients follow a relapsing remitting clinical course driven in part by a common precursor cell (CPC) population. Advances in next generation sequencing have provided valuable insights into the genetic landscape of FL and its clonal evolution in response to therapy, implicating perturbations of epigenetic regulators as a hallmark of the disease. Recurrent mutations of histone modifiers KMT2D, CREBBP, EP300, EZH2, ARIDIA, and linker histones are likely early events arising in the CPC pool, rendering epigenetic based therapies conceptually attractive for treatment of indolent and transformed FL. This review provides a synopsis of the main epigenetic aberrations and the current efforts in development and testing of epigenetic therapies in this B cell malignancy.

  14. Natural epigenetic variation contributes to heritable flowering divergence in a widespread asexual dandelion lineage

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    Wilschut, R.A.; Oplaat, C.; Snoek, B.; Kirschner, J.; Verhoeven, K.J.F.

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic variation has been proposed to contribute to the success of asexual plants, either as a contributor to phenotypic plasticity or by enabling transient adaptation via selection on transgenerationally stable, but reversible, epialleles. While recent studies in experimental plant populations

  15. Mutations in Epigenetic Modifiers in Myeloid Malignancies and the Prospect of Novel Epigenetic-Targeted Therapy

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    Amir T. Fathi

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In the recent years, the discovery of a series of mutations in patients with myeloid malignancies has provided insight into the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs, myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML. Among these alterations have been mutations in genes, such as IDH1/2, TET2, DNMT3A, and EZH2, which appear to affect DNA and/or histone lysine methylation. Large clinical correlative studies are beginning to decipher the clinical importance, prevalence, and potential prognostic significance of these mutations. Additionally, burgeoning insight into the role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies has prompted increased interest in development of novel therapies which target DNA and histone posttranslational modifications. DNA demethylating agents have been demonstrated to be clinically active in a subset of patients with MDS and AML and are used extensively. However, newer, more specific agents which alter DNA and histone modification are under preclinical study and development and are likely to expand our therapeutic options for these diseases in the near future. Here, we review the current understanding of the clinical importance of these newly discovered mutations in AML and MDS patients. We also discuss exciting developments in DNA methyltransferase inhibitor strategies and the prospect of novel histone lysine methyltransferase inhibitors.

  16. Heterodimeric TALENs induce targeted heritable mutations in the crustacean Daphnia magna

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    Akiko Naitou

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs are artificial nucleases harboring a customizable DNA-binding domain and a FokI nuclease domain. The high specificity of the DNA-binding domain and the ease of design have enabled researchers to use TALENs for targeted mutagenesis in various organisms. Here, we report the development of TALEN-dependent targeted gene disruption in the crustacean Daphnia magna, the emerging model for ecological and toxicological genomics. First, a reporter transgene DsRed2 (EF1α-1::DsRed2 was targeted. Using the Golden Gate method with a GoldyTALEN scaffold, we constructed homodimeric and heterodimeric TALENs containing wild-type and ELD/KKR FokI domains. mRNAs that coded for either the customized homodimeric or heterodimeric TALENs were injected into one-cell-stage embryos. The high mortality of embryos injected with homodimeric TALEN mRNAs prevented us from detecting mutations. In contrast, embryos injected with heterodimeric TALEN mRNAs survived and 78%–87% of the adults lost DsRed2 fluorescence in a large portion of cells throughout the body. In addition, these adults produced non-fluorescent progenies, all of which carried mutations at the dsRed2 locus. We also tested heterodimeric TALENs targeted for the endogenous eyeless gene and found that biallelic mutations could be transmitted through germ line cells at a rate of up to 22%. Both somatic and heritable mutagenesis efficiencies of TALENs were higher than those of the CRISPR/Cas9 system that we recently developed. These results suggest that the TALEN system may efficiently induce heritable mutations into the target genes, which will further contribute to the progress of functional genomics in D. magna.

  17. Molecular mechanisms of epigenetic variation in plants.

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    Fujimoto, Ryo; Sasaki, Taku; Ishikawa, Ryo; Osabe, Kenji; Kawanabe, Takahiro; Dennis, Elizabeth S

    2012-01-01

    Natural variation is defined as the phenotypic variation caused by spontaneous mutations. In general, mutations are associated with changes of nucleotide sequence, and many mutations in genes that can cause changes in plant development have been identified. Epigenetic change, which does not involve alteration to the nucleotide sequence, can also cause changes in gene activity by changing the structure of chromatin through DNA methylation or histone modifications. Now there is evidence based on induced or spontaneous mutants that epigenetic changes can cause altering plant phenotypes. Epigenetic changes have occurred frequently in plants, and some are heritable or metastable causing variation in epigenetic status within or between species. Therefore, heritable epigenetic variation as well as genetic variation has the potential to drive natural variation.

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

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    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.

  19. Epigenetic Studies Point to DNA Replication/Repair Genes as a Basis for the Heritable Nature of Long Term Complications in Diabetes

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    Alexey A. Leontovich

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Metabolic memory (MM is defined as the persistence of diabetic (DM complications even after glycemic control is pharmacologically achieved. Using a zebrafish diabetic model that induces a MM state, we previously reported that, in this model, tissue dysfunction was of a heritable nature based on cell proliferation studies in limb tissue and this correlated with epigenetic DNA methylation changes that paralleled alterations in gene expression. In the current study, control, DM, and MM excised fin tissues were further analyzed by MeDIP sequencing and microarray techniques. Bioinformatics analysis of the data found that genes of the DNA replication/DNA metabolism process group (with upregulation of the apex1, mcm2, mcm4, orc3, lig1, and dnmt1 genes were altered in the DM state and these molecular changes continued into MM. Interestingly, DNA methylation changes could be found as far as 6–13 kb upstream of the transcription start site for these genes suggesting potential higher levels of epigenetic control. In conclusion, DNA methylation changes in members of the DNA replication/repair process group best explain the heritable nature of cell proliferation impairment found in the zebrafish DM/MM model. These results are consistent with human diabetic epigenetic studies and provide one explanation for the persistence of long term tissue complications as seen in diabetes.

  20. Current and upcoming approaches to exploit the reversibility of epigenetic mutations in breast cancer.

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    Falahi, Fahimeh; van Kruchten, Michel; Martinet, Nadine; Hospers, Geke A P; Rots, Marianne G

    2014-07-29

    DNA methylation and histone modifications are important epigenetic modifications associated with gene (dys)regulation. The epigenetic modifications are balanced by epigenetic enzymes, so-called writers and erasers, such as DNA (de)methylases and histone (de)acetylases. Aberrant epigenetic alterations have been associated with various diseases, including breast cancer. Since aberrant epigenetic modifications are potentially reversible, they might represent targets for breast cancer therapy. Indeed, several drugs have been designed to inhibit epigenetic enzymes (epi-drugs), thereby reversing epigenetic modifications. US Food and Drug Administration approval has been obtained for some epi-drugs for hematological malignancies. However, these drugs have had very modest anti-tumor efficacy in phase I and II clinical trials in breast cancer patients as monotherapy. Therefore, current clinical trials focus on the combination of epi-drugs with other therapies to enhance or restore the sensitivity to such therapies. This approach has yielded some promising results in early phase II trials. The disadvantage of epi-drugs, however, is genome-wide effects, which may cause unwanted upregulation of, for example, pro-metastatic genes. Development of gene-targeted epigenetic modifications (epigenetic editing) in breast cancer can provide a novel approach to prevent such unwanted events. In this context, identification of crucial epigenetic modifications regulating key genes in breast cancer is of critical importance. In this review, we first describe aberrant DNA methylation and histone modifications as two important classes of epigenetic mutations in breast cancer. Then we focus on the preclinical and clinical epigenetic-based therapies currently being explored for breast cancer. Finally, we describe epigenetic editing as a promising new approach for possible applications towards more targeted breast cancer treatment.

  1. Environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of sperm epimutations promote genetic mutations.

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    Skinner, Michael K; Guerrero-Bosagna, Carlos; Haque, M Muksitul

    2015-01-01

    A variety of environmental factors have been shown to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation. This involves the germline transmission of epigenetic information between generations. Exposure specific transgenerational sperm epimutations have been previously observed. The current study was designed to investigate the potential role genetic mutations have in the process, using copy number variations (CNV). In the first (F1) generation following exposure, negligible CNV were identified; however, in the transgenerational F3 generation, a significant increase in CNV was observed in the sperm. The genome-wide locations of differential DNA methylation regions (epimutations) and genetic mutations (CNV) were investigated. Observations suggest the environmental induction of the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of sperm epimutations promote genome instability, such that genetic CNV mutations are acquired in later generations. A combination of epigenetics and genetics is suggested to be involved in the transgenerational phenotypes. The ability of environmental factors to promote epigenetic inheritance that subsequently promotes genetic mutations is a significant advance in our understanding of how the environment impacts disease and evolution.

  2. Heritable epigenetic responses to environmental challenges : Effects on behaviour, gene expression and DNA-methylation in the chicken

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    Nätt, Daniel

    2011-01-01

    Phenotypic variation within populations is a crucial factor in evolution and is mainly thought to be driven by heritable changes in the base sequence of DNA. Among our domesticated species we find some of the most variable species on earth today. This variety of breeds has appeared during a relatively short evolutionary time, and so far genetic studies have been unable to explain but a small portion of this variation, which indicates more novel mechanisms of inheritance and phenotypic plastic...

  3. Small-molecule Inhibitors of Epigenetic Mutations as Compelling Drugtargets for Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

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    Ganguly, Bani Bandana

    2017-01-01

    Involvement of mutations in epigenetic mechanism in the development of heterogeneous MDS and its evolution to AML has been understood with at least one mutation and median of 2-3 mutations of the landscapes of driver mutations in ~40 genes described in >90% MDS patients. Exclusivity and cooperating effects of mutations have directed therapeutic implementation with hypomethylating agents and identified a number of first-in-class small molecules as inhibitors of mutational expression. Preclinical and clinical trials have already been initiated for some synthetic and natural products and established proof-of-concept for mitigation of mutagenic effects. The present review article entails the mutational signatures in DNA-methylation and hydroxymethylation, histone acetylation and Deacetylation, polycomb repressor complex (PRC2), and small molecule inhibitors of these mutational expressions. Information has been collected from the recently published literature available mainly through Google search in Medline and PubMed database. Special emphasis was paid on the literature available during 2009-2016. The up-to-date information accumulated on signature-mutations and their inhibitors has to integrate the function of clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) and mutational complexities for re-defining MDS-genesis. Nevertheless, molecular understanding of MDS heterogeneity and its transformation to AML is expanding at fast pace with expanding knowledge on abundant non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which forms the basis of targeted drug-tailoring, and will further develop personalized medicines based on individual genetic blue-prints. Mutation-specific targeted epigenetic drugs, which have already sensitized drug-makers and regulators, may promise attestation of 'del5q and lenalidomide'-like specific drugs for every mutational signature independently or in combination with standard therapeutic elements used for MDS-management, and that will add to understand their

  4. The Spectrum and Clinical Impact of Epigenetic Modifier Mutations in Myeloma.

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    Pawlyn, Charlotte; Kaiser, Martin F; Heuck, Christoph; Melchor, Lorenzo; Wardell, Christopher P; Murison, Alex; Chavan, Shweta S; Johnson, David C; Begum, Dil B; Dahir, Nasrin M; Proszek, Paula Z; Cairns, David A; Boyle, Eileen M; Jones, John R; Cook, Gordon; Drayson, Mark T; Owen, Roger G; Gregory, Walter M; Jackson, Graham H; Barlogie, Bart; Davies, Faith E; Walker, Brian A; Morgan, Gareth J

    2016-12-01

    Epigenetic dysregulation is known to be an important contributor to myeloma pathogenesis but, unlike other B-cell malignancies, the full spectrum of somatic mutations in epigenetic modifiers has not been reported previously. We sought to address this using the results from whole-exome sequencing in the context of a large prospective clinical trial of newly diagnosed patients and targeted sequencing in a cohort of previously treated patients for comparison. Whole-exome sequencing analysis of 463 presenting myeloma cases entered in the UK NCRI Myeloma XI study and targeted sequencing analysis of 156 previously treated cases from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, AR). We correlated the presence of mutations with clinical outcome from diagnosis and compared the mutations found at diagnosis with later stages of disease. In diagnostic myeloma patient samples, we identify significant mutations in genes encoding the histone 1 linker protein, previously identified in other B-cell malignancies. Our data suggest an adverse prognostic impact from the presence of lesions in genes encoding DNA methylation modifiers and the histone demethylase KDM6A/UTX The frequency of mutations in epigenetic modifiers appears to increase following treatment most notably in genes encoding histone methyltransferases and DNA methylation modifiers. Numerous mutations identified raise the possibility of targeted treatment strategies for patients either at diagnosis or relapse supporting the use of sequencing-based diagnostics in myeloma to help guide therapy as more epigenetic targeted agents become available. Clin Cancer Res; 22(23); 5783-94. ©2016 AACR. ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.

  5. Epigenetic Identity in AML Depends on Disruption of Nonpromoter Regulatory Elements and Is Affected by Antagonistic Effects of Mutations in Epigenetic Modifiers.

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    Glass, Jacob L; Hassane, Duane; Wouters, Bas J; Kunimoto, Hiroyoshi; Avellino, Roberto; Garrett-Bakelman, Francine E; Guryanova, Olga A; Bowman, Robert; Redlich, Shira; Intlekofer, Andrew M; Meydan, Cem; Qin, Tingting; Fall, Mame; Alonso, Alicia; Guzman, Monica L; Valk, Peter J M; Thompson, Craig B; Levine, Ross; Elemento, Olivier; Delwel, Ruud; Melnick, Ari; Figueroa, Maria E

    2017-08-01

    We performed cytosine methylation sequencing on genetically diverse patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and found leukemic DNA methylation patterning is primarily driven by nonpromoter regulatory elements and CpG shores. Enhancers displayed stronger differential methylation than promoters, consisting predominantly of hypomethylation. AMLs with dominant hypermethylation featured greater epigenetic disruption of promoters, whereas those with dominant hypomethylation displayed greater disruption of distal and intronic regions. Mutations in IDH and DNMT3A had opposing and mutually exclusive effects on the epigenome. Notably, co-occurrence of both mutations resulted in epigenetic antagonism, with most CpGs affected by either mutation alone no longer affected in double-mutant AMLs. Importantly, this epigenetic antagonism precedes malignant transformation and can be observed in preleukemic LSK cells from Idh2(R140Q) or Dnmt3a(R882H) single-mutant and Idh2(R140Q)/Dnmt3a(R882H) double-mutant mice. Notably, IDH/DNMT3A double-mutant AMLs manifested upregulation of a RAS signaling signature and displayed unique sensitivity to MEK inhibition ex vivo as compared with AMLs with either single mutation.Significance: AML is biologically heterogeneous with subtypes characterized by specific genetic and epigenetic abnormalities. Comprehensive DNA methylation profiling revealed that differential methylation of nonpromoter regulatory elements is a driver of epigenetic identity, that gene mutations can be context-dependent, and that co-occurrence of mutations in epigenetic modifiers can result in epigenetic antagonism. Cancer Discov; 7(8); 868-83. ©2017 AACR.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 783. ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.

  6. TALEN-mediated targeted mutagenesis produces a large variety of heritable mutations in rice.

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    Zhang, Hui; Gou, Feng; Zhang, Jinshan; Liu, Wenshan; Li, Qianqian; Mao, Yanfei; Botella, José Ramón; Zhu, Jian-Kang

    2016-01-01

    CRISPR/Cas9 and TALEN are currently the two systems of choice for genome editing. We have studied the efficiency of the TALEN system in rice as well as the nature and inheritability of TALEN-induced mutations and found important features of this technology. The N287C230 TALEN backbone resulted in low mutation rates (0-6.6%), but truncations in its C-terminal domain dramatically increased efficiency to 25%. In most transgenic T0 plants, TALEN produced a single prevalent mutation accompanied by a variety of low-frequency mutations. For each independent T0 plant, the prevalent mutation was present in most tissues within a single tiller as well as in all tillers examined, suggesting that TALEN-induced mutations occurred very early in the development of the shoot apical meristem. Multigenerational analysis showed that TALEN-induced mutations were stably transmitted to the T1 and T2 populations in a normal Mendelian fashion. In our study, the vast majority of TALEN-induced mutations (~81%) affected multiple bases and ~70% of them were deletions. Our results contrast with published reports for the CRISPR/Cas9 system in rice, in which the predominant mutations affected single bases and deletions accounted for only 3.3% of the overall mutations. © 2015 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. Epigenetic reprogramming of fallopian tube fimbriae in BRCA mutation carriers defines early ovarian cancer evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Bartlett, Thomas E.; Chindera, Kantaraja; McDermott, Jacqueline; Breeze, Charles E.; Cooke, William R.; Jones, Allison; Reisel, Daniel; Karegodar, Smita T.; Arora, Rupali; Beck, Stephan; Menon, Usha; Dubeau, Louis; Widschwendter, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The exact timing and contribution of epigenetic reprogramming to carcinogenesis are unclear. Women harbouring BRCA1/2 mutations demonstrate a 30?40-fold increased risk of high-grade serous extra-uterine M?llerian cancers (HGSEMC), otherwise referred to as ?ovarian carcinomas', which frequently develop from fimbrial cells but not from the proximal portion of the fallopian tube. Here we compare the DNA methylome of the fimbrial and proximal ends of the fallopian tube in BRCA1/2 mutation carrier...

  8. Epigenetic reprogramming of fallopian tube fimbriae in BRCA mutation carriers defines early ovarian cancer evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Bartlett, T. E.; Chindera, K.; McDermott, J.; Breeze, C. E.; Cooke, W. R.; Jones, A.; Reisel, D.; Karegodar, S. T.; Arora, R.; Beck, S.; Menon, U.; Dubeau, L.; Widschwendter, M.

    2016-01-01

    The exact timing and contribution of epigenetic reprogramming to carcinogenesis are unclear. Women harbouring BRCA1/2 mutations demonstrate a 30–40-fold increased risk of high-grade serous extra-uterine Müllerian cancers (HGSEMC), otherwise referred to as ‘ovarian carcinomas’, which frequently develop from fimbrial cells but not from the proximal portion of the fallopian tube. Here we compare the DNA methylome of the fimbrial and proximal ends of the fallopian tube in BRCA1/2 mutation carrier...

  9. Epigenetics decouples mutational from environmental robustness. Did it also facilitate multicellularity?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saurabh Gombar

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The evolution of ever increasing complex life forms has required innovations at the molecular level in order to overcome existing barriers. For example, evolving processes for cell differentiation, such as epigenetic mechanisms, facilitated the transition to multicellularity. At the same time, studies using gene regulatory network models, and corroborated in single-celled model organisms, have shown that mutational robustness and environmental robustness are correlated. Such correlation may constitute a barrier to the evolution of multicellularity since cell differentiation requires sensitivity to cues in the internal environment during development. To investigate how this barrier might be overcome, we used a gene regulatory network model which includes epigenetic control based on the mechanism of histone modification via Polycomb Group Proteins, which evolved in tandem with the transition to multicellularity. Incorporating the Polycomb mechanism allowed decoupling of mutational and environmental robustness, thus allowing the system to be simultaneously robust to mutations while increasing sensitivity to the environment. In turn, this decoupling facilitated cell differentiation which we tested by evaluating the capacity of the system for producing novel output states in response to altered initial conditions. In the absence of the Polycomb mechanism, the system was frequently incapable of adding new states, whereas with the Polycomb mechanism successful addition of new states was nearly certain. The Polycomb mechanism, which dynamically reshapes the network structure during development as a function of expression dynamics, decouples mutational and environmental robustness, thus providing a necessary step in the evolution of multicellularity.

  10. Corticosteroid-binding globulin: the clinical significance of altered levels and heritable mutations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gagliardi, Lucia; Ho, Jui T; Torpy, David J

    2010-03-05

    Corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) is the specific high-affinity plasma transport glycoprotein for cortisol. Stress-induced falls in CBG levels may heighten hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses and CBG:tissue interactions may allow targeted cortisol delivery. Three genetic variants of CBG have been identified that reduce cortisol binding affinity and/or CBG levels. These include the Leuven and Lyon mutations which reduce CBG:cortisol binding affinity 3- and 4-fold, respectively, and the null mutation resulting in a 50% (heterozygote) or 100% (homozygote) reduction in CBG levels. The three reported null homozygotes demonstrate that complete CBG deficiency is not lethal, although it may be associated with hypotension and fatigue. The phenotype of a CBG null murine model included fatigue and immune defects. One community-based study revealed that severe CBG mutations are rare in idiopathic fatigue disorders. The mechanisms by which CBG mutations may cause fatigue are unknown. There are preliminary data of altered CBG levels in hypertension and in the metabolic syndrome; however, the nature of these associations is uncertain. Further studies may clarify the functions of CBG, and clinical observations may validate and/or extend the phenotypic features of various CBG mutations. Crown Copyright 2009. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. [An update on epigenetic regulator gene mutations and pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndromes].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jie-Yu; Xiao, Zhi-Jian

    2011-10-01

    The myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a group of heterogeneous clonal disorders. So far, the etiology and pathogenesis of MDS is poorly understood. Recently, more and more epigenetic regulator gene such as TET2, ASXL1, EZH2, DNMT3A and UTX mutations were detected in patients with MDS: TET2 may convert 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC). TET2 is the most frequently mutated gene in MDS known so far and it may act as tumor-suppressor gene. ASXL1 belongs to the enhancer of trithorax and Polycomb (ETP) gene group. MDS phenotypes may be caused not only by loss-of-function of ASXL1 but also by gain-of-function mutations, overexpression of this gene and so on. EZH2 is a kind of histone methyltransferase. EZH2 is frequently over-expressed in a wide variety of cancerous tissue types, which reveals it has oncogenic activity. While, defined mutations resulted in dysfunction of histone methyltransferase activity, suggesting that EZH2 acts as a tumor suppressor for myeloid malignancies. DNMT3A belongs to the DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) gene family. It may be correlated with abnormal methylation status in patients with MDS. UTX coding protein is a histone demethylase, and UTX can affect cell proliferation as well as cell fate decision. Inactivating UTX mutations are found in multiple cancer types recently. These gene mutations may play key roles in the pathogenesis of MDS, which are summarized in this review.

  12. Heritable change caused by transient transcription errors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alasdair J E Gordon

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Transmission of cellular identity relies on the faithful transfer of information from the mother to the daughter cell. This process includes accurate replication of the DNA, but also the correct propagation of regulatory programs responsible for cellular identity. Errors in DNA replication (mutations and protein conformation (prions can trigger stable phenotypic changes and cause human disease, yet the ability of transient transcriptional errors to produce heritable phenotypic change ('epimutations' remains an open question. Here, we demonstrate that transcriptional errors made specifically in the mRNA encoding a transcription factor can promote heritable phenotypic change by reprogramming a transcriptional network, without altering DNA. We have harnessed the classical bistable switch in the lac operon, a memory-module, to capture the consequences of transient transcription errors in living Escherichia coli cells. We engineered an error-prone transcription sequence (A9 run in the gene encoding the lac repressor and show that this 'slippery' sequence directly increases epigenetic switching, not mutation in the cell population. Therefore, one altered transcript within a multi-generational series of many error-free transcripts can cause long-term phenotypic consequences. Thus, like DNA mutations, transcriptional epimutations can instigate heritable changes that increase phenotypic diversity, which drives both evolution and disease.

  13. Human mutations affect the epigenetic/bookmarking function of HNF1B.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lerner, Jonathan; Bagattin, Alessia; Verdeguer, Francisco; Makinistoglu, Munevver P; Garbay, Serge; Felix, Tristan; Heidet, Laurence; Pontoglio, Marco

    2016-09-30

    Bookmarking factors are transcriptional regulators involved in the mitotic transmission of epigenetic information via their ability to remain associated with mitotic chromatin. The mechanisms through which bookmarking factors bind to mitotic chromatin remain poorly understood. HNF1β is a bookmarking transcription factor that is frequently mutated in patients suffering from renal multicystic dysplasia and diabetes. Here, we show that HNF1β bookmarking activity is impaired by naturally occurring mutations found in patients. Interestingly, this defect in HNF1β mitotic chromatin association is rescued by an abrupt decrease in temperature. The rapid relocalization to mitotic chromatin is reversible and driven by a specific switch in DNA-binding ability of HNF1β mutants. Furthermore, we demonstrate that importin-β is involved in the maintenance of the mitotic retention of HNF1β, suggesting a functional link between the nuclear import system and the mitotic localization/translocation of bookmarking factors. Altogether, our studies have disclosed novel aspects on the mechanisms and the genetic programs that account for the mitotic association of HNF1β, a bookmarking factor that plays crucial roles in the epigenetic transmission of information through the cell cycle. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  14. Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation of Aortic Aneurysms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ha Won Kim

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Aneurysms are characterized by structural deterioration of the vascular wall leading to progressive dilatation and, potentially, rupture of the aorta. While aortic aneurysms often remain clinically silent, the morbidity and mortality associated with aneurysm expansion and rupture are considerable. Over 13,000 deaths annually in the United States are attributable to aortic aneurysm rupture with less than 1 in 3 persons with aortic aneurysm rupture surviving to surgical intervention. Environmental and epidemiologic risk factors including smoking, male gender, hypertension, older age, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, and family history are highly associated with abdominal aortic aneurysms, while heritable genetic mutations are commonly associated with aneurysms of the thoracic aorta. Similar to other forms of cardiovascular disease, family history, genetic variation, and heritable mutations modify the risk of aortic aneurysm formation and provide mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of human aortic aneurysms. This review will examine the relationship between heritable genetic and epigenetic influences on thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysm formation and rupture.

  15. Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation of Aortic Aneurysms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Ha Won; Stansfield, Brian K

    2017-01-01

    Aneurysms are characterized by structural deterioration of the vascular wall leading to progressive dilatation and, potentially, rupture of the aorta. While aortic aneurysms often remain clinically silent, the morbidity and mortality associated with aneurysm expansion and rupture are considerable. Over 13,000 deaths annually in the United States are attributable to aortic aneurysm rupture with less than 1 in 3 persons with aortic aneurysm rupture surviving to surgical intervention. Environmental and epidemiologic risk factors including smoking, male gender, hypertension, older age, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, and family history are highly associated with abdominal aortic aneurysms, while heritable genetic mutations are commonly associated with aneurysms of the thoracic aorta. Similar to other forms of cardiovascular disease, family history, genetic variation, and heritable mutations modify the risk of aortic aneurysm formation and provide mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of human aortic aneurysms. This review will examine the relationship between heritable genetic and epigenetic influences on thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysm formation and rupture.

  16. Diet, physical activity, and body size associations with rectal tumor mutations and epigenetic changes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slattery, Martha L; Curtin, Karen; Wolff, Roger K; Herrick, Jennifer S; Caan, Bette J; Samowitz, Wade

    2010-08-01

    Diet and lifestyle factors have been inconsistently associated with rectal tumors. It is possible that evaluation of specific tumor markers with these factors may help clarify these associations. In this study, we examine energy contributing nutrients, dietary fiber, BMI (kg/m2), and long-term physical activity with TP53 mutations, KRAS2 mutations, and CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (CIMP) in 750 population-based cases of rectal cancer compared to healthy controls. We observed that high levels of physical activity reduced the risk of having TP53 and KRAS2 rectal tumor mutations. Dairy products rich in fat were associated with an increased risk of CIMP+ tumors (OR 1.88 95% CI 0.92, 3.84), while low-fat dairy products reduced risk of CIMP+ tumors (OR 0.56 95% CI 0.29, 1.09). Omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a twofold increased risk of a CIMP+ tumor. High levels of vegetable intake reduced risk of both TP53 mutations (OR 0.73 95% CI 0.54, 1.00; p trend 0.02) and KRAS2 mutations (OR 0.60 95% CI 0.40, 0.89; p trend High intake of whole grains reduced the likelihood of a TP53 mutation (OR 0.74 95% CI 0.56, 0.99), while high intake of refined grains increased the likelihood of a TP53 mutation (OR 1.41 95% CI 1.02, 1.96). Dietary fiber also was associated with reduced risk of TP53 and KRAS2 rectal tumor mutations. Overall, a prudent dietary pattern significantly reduced the likelihood of a KRAS2 tumor mutation (OR 0.68 95% CI 0.47, 0.98; p linear trend 0.03). These data suggest that diet and lifestyle factors are associated with specific types of rectal tumor mutations and epigenetic changes. Findings need confirmation in other studies.

  17. Epigenetic regulation by heritable RNA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Reinhard Liebers

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Genomic concepts are based on the assumption that phenotypes arise from the expression of genetic variants. However, the presence of non-Mendelian inheritance patterns provides a direct challenge to this view and suggests an important role for alternative mechanisms of gene regulation and inheritance. Over the past few years, a highly complex and diverse network of noncoding RNAs has been discovered. Research in animal models has shown that RNAs can be inherited and that RNA methyltransferases can be important for the transmission and expression of modified phenotypes in the next generation. We discuss possible mechanisms of RNA-mediated inheritance and the role of these mechanisms for human health and disease.

  18. Epigenetic characterization of the FMR1 promoter in induced pluripotent stem cells from human fibroblasts carrying an unmethylated full mutation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Esch, Celine E F; Ghazvini, Mehrnaz; Loos, Friedemann; Schelling-Kazaryan, Nune; Widagdo, W; Munshi, Shashini T; van der Wal, Erik; Douben, Hannie; Gunhanlar, Nilhan; Kushner, Steven A; Pijnappel, W W M Pim; de Vrij, Femke M S; Geijsen, Niels; Gribnau, Joost; Willemsen, Rob

    2014-01-01

    Silencing of the FMR1 gene leads to fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability. To study the epigenetic modifications of the FMR1 gene during silencing in time, we used fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of an unmethylated full mutation (uFM)

  19. Current and upcoming approaches to exploit the reversibility of epigenetic mutations in breast cancer

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Falahi, Fahimeh; van Kruchten, Michel; Martinet, Nadine; Hospers, Geesiena; Rots, Marianne G.

    2014-01-01

    DNA methylation and histone modifications are important epigenetic modifications associated with gene (dys) regulation. The epigenetic modifications are balanced by epigenetic enzymes, so-called writers and erasers, such as DNA (de)methylases and histone (de)acetylases. Aberrant epigenetic

  20. Genetic Determinants of Epigenetic Patterns: Providing Insight into Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cazaly, Emma; Charlesworth, Jac; Dickinson, Joanne L; Holloway, Adele F

    2015-03-26

    The field of epigenetics and our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the establishment, maintenance and heritability of epigenetic patterns continue to grow at a remarkable rate. This information is providing increased understanding of the role of epigenetic changes in disease, insight into the underlying causes of these epigenetic changes and revealing new avenues for therapeutic intervention. Epigenetic modifiers are increasingly being pursued as therapeutic targets in a range of diseases, with a number of agents targeting epigenetic modifications already proving effective in diseases such as cancer. Although it is well established that DNA mutations and aberrant expression of epigenetic modifiers play a key role in disease, attention is now turning to the interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors in complex disease etiology. The role of genetic variability in determining epigenetic profiles, which can then be modified by environmental and stochastic factors, is becoming more apparent. Understanding the interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors is likely to aid in identifying individuals most likely to benefit from epigenetic therapies. This goal is coming closer to realization because of continual advances in laboratory and statistical tools enabling improvements in the integration of genomic, epigenomic and phenotypic data.

  1. Genetic and epigenetic mutations of tumor suppressive genes in sporadic pituitary adenoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Yunli; Zhang, Xun; Klibanski, Anne

    2013-01-01

    Human pituitary adenomas are the most common intracranial neoplasms. Approximately 5% of them are familial adenomas. Patients with familial tumors carry germline mutations in predisposition genes, including AIP, MEN1 and PRKAR1A. These mutations are extremely rare in sporadic pituitary adenomas, which therefore are caused by different mechanisms. Multiple tumor suppressive genes linked to sporadic tumors have been identified. Their inactivation is caused by epigenetic mechanisms, mainly promoter hypermethylation, and can be placed into two groups based on their functional interaction with tumor suppressors RB or p53. The RB group includes CDKN2A, CDKN2B, CDKN2C, RB1, BMP4, CDH1, CDH13, GADD45B and GADD45G; AIP and MEN1 genes also belong to this group. The p53 group includes MEG3, MGMT, PLAGL1, RASSF1, RASSF3 and SOCS1. We propose that the tumor suppression function of these genes is mainly mediated by the RB and p53 pathways. We also discuss possible tumor suppression mechanisms for individual genes. PMID:24035864

  2. Epigenetic mechanisms of breast cancer: an update of the current knowledge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karsli-Ceppioglu, Seher; Dagdemir, Aslihan; Judes, Gaëlle; Ngollo, Marjolaine; Penault-Llorca, Frédérique; Pajon, Amaury; Bignon, Yves-Jean; Bernard-Gallon, Dominique

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetic alterations are heritable changes in gene expression that occur without causing any change in DNA sequence. They are important key factors for cancer development and prognosis. Breast cancer is induced by the accumulation of altered gene regulation. Besides genetic mutations, epigenetics mechanisms have an important role in breast cancer tumorigenesis. Investigations related with aberrant epigenetic regulations in breast cancer focus on initiating molecular mechanisms in cancer development, identification of new biomarkers to predict breast cancer aggressiveness and the potential of epigenetic therapy. In this review, we will summarize the recent knowledge about the role of epigenetic alterations related with DNA methylation and histone modification in breast cancer. In addition, altered regulation of breast cancer specific genes and the potential of epigenetic therapy will be discussed according to epigenetic mechanisms.

  3. Epigenetics: beyond genes

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Fossey, A

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available 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...

  4. Cancer epigenetics: an introduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanwal, Rajnee; Gupta, Karishma; Gupta, Sanjay

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetic and genetic alterations contribute to cancer initiation and progression. Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression without alterations in DNA sequences. Epigenetic changes are reversible and include key processes of DNA methylation, chromatin modifications, nucleosome positioning, and alterations in noncoding RNA profiles. Disruptions in epigenetic processes can lead to altered gene function and cellular neoplastic transformation. Epigenetic modifications precede genetic changes and usually occur at an early stage in neoplastic development. Recent technological advances offer a better understanding of the underlying epigenetic alterations during carcinogenesis and provide insight into the discovery of putative epigenetic biomarkers for detection, prognosis, risk assessment, and disease monitoring. In this chapter we provide information on various epigenetic mechanisms and their role in carcinogenesis, in particular, epigenetic modifications causing genetic changes and the potential clinical impact of epigenetic research in the future.

  5. The Friedreich ataxia GAA repeat expansion mutation induces comparable epigenetic changes in human and transgenic mouse brain and heart tissues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Mahdawi, Sahar; Pinto, Ricardo Mouro; Ismail, Ozama; Varshney, Dhaval; Lymperi, Stefania; Sandi, Chiranjeevi; Trabzuni, Daniah; Pook, Mark

    2008-03-01

    Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is caused by a homozygous GAA repeat expansion mutation within intron 1 of the FXN gene, leading to reduced expression of frataxin protein. Evidence suggests that the mutation may induce epigenetic changes and heterochromatin formation, thereby impeding gene transcription. In particular, studies using FRDA patient blood and lymphoblastoid cell lines have detected increased DNA methylation of specific CpG sites upstream of the GAA repeat and histone modifications in regions flanking the GAA repeat. In this report we show that such epigenetic changes are also present in FRDA patient brain, cerebellum and heart tissues, the primary affected systems of the disorder. Bisulfite sequence analysis of the FXN flanking GAA regions reveals a shift in the FRDA DNA methylation profile, with upstream CpG sites becoming consistently hypermethylated and downstream CpG sites becoming consistently hypomethylated. We also identify differential DNA methylation at three specific CpG sites within the FXN promoter and one CpG site within exon 1. Furthermore, we show by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis that there is overall decreased histone H3K9 acetylation together with increased H3K9 methylation of FRDA brain tissue. Further studies of brain, cerebellum and heart tissues from our GAA repeat expansion-containing FRDA YAC transgenic mice reveal comparable epigenetic changes to those detected in FRDA patient tissue. We have thus developed a mouse model that will be a valuable resource for future therapeutic studies targeting epigenetic modifications of the FXN gene to increase frataxin expression.

  6. Paramutation: Heritable in trans effects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stam, M.; Louwers, M.; Bennetzen, J.L.; Hake, S.

    2009-01-01

    Paramutation is the heritable transfer of epigenetic information from one allele of a gene to another allele of the same gene. In general, the consequence of this trans-communication is a change in gene expression. Paramutation has been observed in plants, fungi and mammals, but is most extensively

  7. Suppression of STING signaling through epigenetic silencing and missense mutation impedes DNA damage mediated cytokine production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konno, Hiroyasu; Yamauchi, Shota; Berglund, Anders; Putney, Ryan M; Mulé, James J; Barber, Glen N

    2018-01-25

    The production of cytokines in response to DNA-damage events may be an important host defense response to help prevent the escape of pre-cancerous cells. The innate immune pathways involved in these events are known to be regulated by cellular molecules such as stimulator of interferon genes (STING), which controls type I interferon and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to the presence of microbial DNA or cytosolic DNA that has escaped from the nucleus. STING signaling has been shown to be defective in a variety of cancers, such as colon cancer and melanoma, actions that may enable damaged cells to escape the immunosurveillance system. Here, we report through examination of databases that STING signaling may be commonly suppressed in a greater variety of tumors due to loss-of-function mutation or epigenetic silencing of the STING/cGAS promoter regions. In comparison, RNA activated innate immune pathways controlled by RIG-I/MDA5 were significantly less affected. Examination of reported missense STING variants confirmed that many exhibited a loss-of-function phenotype and could not activate cytokine production following exposure to cytosolic DNA or DNA-damage events. Our data imply that the STING signaling pathway may be recurrently suppressed by a number of mechanisms in a considerable variety of malignant disease and be a requirement for cellular transformation.

  8. Development of the adverse outcome pathway "alkylation of DNA in male premeiotic germ cells leading to heritable mutations" using the OECD's users' handbook supplement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yauk, Carole L; Lambert, Iain B; Meek, M E Bette; Douglas, George R; Marchetti, Francesco

    2015-12-01

    The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) programme aims to develop a knowledgebase of all known pathways of toxicity that lead to adverse effects in humans and ecosystems. A Users' Handbook was recently released to provide supplementary guidance on AOP development. This article describes one AOP-alkylation of DNA in male premeiotic germ cells leading to heritable mutations. This outcome is an important regulatory endpoint. The AOP describes the biological plausibility and empirical evidence supporting that compounds capable of alkylating DNA cause germ cell mutations and subsequent mutations in the offspring of exposed males. Alkyl adducts are subject to DNA repair; however, at high doses the repair machinery becomes saturated. Lack of repair leads to replication of alkylated DNA and ensuing mutations in male premeiotic germ cells. Mutations that do not impair spermatogenesis persist and eventually are present in mature sperm. Thus, the mutations are transmitted to the offspring. Although there are some gaps in empirical support and evidence for essentiality of the key events for certain aspects of this AOP, the overall AOP is generally accepted as dogma and applies broadly to any species that produces sperm. The AOP was developed and used in an iterative process to test and refine the Users' Handbook, and is one of the first publicly available AOPs. It is our hope that this AOP will be leveraged to develop other AOPs in this field to advance method development, computational models to predict germ cell effects, and integrated testing strategies. © 2015 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

  9. DNMT3A mutations mediate the epigenetic reactivation of the leukemogenic factor MEIS1 in acute myeloid leukemia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferreira, H J; Heyn, H; Vizoso, M; Moutinho, C; Vidal, E; Gomez, A; Martínez-Cardús, A; Simó-Riudalbas, L; Moran, S; Jost, E; Esteller, M

    2016-06-09

    Close to half of de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases do not exhibit any cytogenetic aberrations. In this regard, distortion of the DNA methylation setting and the presence of mutations in epigenetic modifier genes can also be molecular drivers of the disease. In recent years, somatic missense mutations of the DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) have been reported in ~20% of AML patients; however, no obvious critical downstream gene has been identified that could explain the role of DNMT3A in the natural history of AML. Herein, using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and DNA methylation microarrays, we have identified a key gene undergoing promoter hypomethylation-associated transcriptional reactivation in DNMT3 mutant patients, the leukemogenic HOX cofactor MEIS1. Our results indicate that, in the absence of mixed lineage leukemia fusions, an alternative pathway for engaging an oncogenic MEIS1-dependent transcriptional program can be mediated by DNMT3A mutations.

  10. Exploring patterns of epigenetic information with data mining techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguiar-Pulido, Vanessa; Seoane, José A; Gestal, Marcos; Dorado, Julián

    2013-01-01

    Data mining, a part of the Knowledge Discovery in Databases process (KDD), is the process of extracting patterns from large data sets by combining methods from statistics and artificial intelligence with database management. Analyses of epigenetic data have evolved towards genome-wide and high-throughput approaches, thus generating great amounts of data for which data mining is essential. Part of these data may contain patterns of epigenetic information which are mitotically and/or meiotically heritable determining gene expression and cellular differentiation, as well as cellular fate. Epigenetic lesions and genetic mutations are acquired by individuals during their life and accumulate with ageing. Both defects, either together or individually, can result in losing control over cell growth and, thus, causing cancer development. Data mining techniques could be then used to extract the previous patterns. This work reviews some of the most important applications of data mining to epigenetics.

  11. 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.

  12. Epigenetic Characterization of the FMR1 Promoter in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Human Fibroblasts Carrying an Unmethylated Full Mutation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celine E.F. de Esch

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Silencing of the FMR1 gene leads to fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability. To study the epigenetic modifications of the FMR1 gene during silencing in time, we used fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs of an unmethylated full mutation (uFM individual with normal intelligence. The uFM fibroblast line carried an unmethylated FMR1 promoter region and expressed normal to slightly increased FMR1 mRNA levels. The FMR1 expression in the uFM line corresponds with the increased H3 acetylation and H3K4 methylation in combination with a reduced H3K9 methylation. After reprogramming, the FMR1 promoter region was methylated in all uFM iPSC clones. Two clones were analyzed further and showed a lack of FMR1 expression, whereas the presence of specific histone modifications also indicated a repressed FMR1 promoter. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that the standard reprogramming procedure leads to epigenetic silencing of the fully mutated FMR1 gene.

  13. SRSF2-p95 hotspot mutation is highly associated with advanced forms of mastocytosis and mutations in epigenetic regulator genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanssens, Katia; Brenet, Fabienne; Agopian, Julie; Georgin-Lavialle, Sophie; Damaj, Gandhi; Cabaret, Laure; Chandesris, Maria Olivia; de Sepulveda, Paulo; Hermine, Olivier; Dubreuil, Patrice; Soucie, Erinn

    2014-05-01

    Mastocytosis is a rare and chronic disease with phenotypes ranging from indolent to severe. Prognosis for this disease is variable and very few biomarkers to predict disease evolution or outcome are currently known. We have performed comprehensive screening in our large cohort of mastocytosis patients for mutations previously found in other myeloid diseases and that could serve as prognostic indicators. KIT, SRSF2-P95 and TET2 mutations were by far the most frequent, detected in 81%, 24% and 21% of patients, respectively. Where TET2 and SRSF2-P95 mutation both correlated with advanced disease phenotypes, SRSF2-P95 hotspot mutation was found almost exclusively in patients diagnosed with associated clonal hematologic non-mast cell disease. Statistically, TET2 and SRSF2-P95 mutations were highly associated, suggesting a mechanistic link between these two factors. Finally, analysis of both clonal and sorted cell populations from patients confirms the presence of these mutations in the mast cell component of the disease, suggests an ontological mutation hierarchy and provides evidence for the expansion of multiple clones. This highlights the prognostic potential of such approaches, if applied systematically, for delineating the roles of specific mutations in predisposing and/or driving distinct disease phenotypes.

  14. Epigenetics and primary care.

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    Wright, Robert; Saul, Robert A

    2013-12-01

    Epigenetics, the study of functionally relevant chemical modifications to DNA that do not involve a change in the DNA nucleotide sequence, is at the interface between research and clinical medicine. Research on epigenetic marks, which regulate gene expression independently of the underlying genetic code, has dramatically changed our understanding of the interplay between genes and the environment. This interplay alters human biology and developmental trajectories, and can lead to programmed human disease years after the environmental exposure. In addition, epigenetic marks are potentially heritable. In this article, we discuss the underlying concepts of epigenetics and address its current and potential applicability for primary care providers.

  15. Epigenetic dysregulation of secreted frizzled-related proteins in myeloproliferative neoplasms complements the JAK2V617F-mutation

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    Bennemann Karla

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs are antagonists of the Wnt signaling pathway, which plays a central role in stem cell maintenance and differentiation of stem cells and hematopoietic progenitors. Epigenetic downregulation of SFRPs by promoter hypermethylation has been described to be involved in the pathogenesis of hematopoietic malignancies. There is an association between aberrant Wnt signaling and the established cancer stem cell concept. In contrast to BCR-ABL1-positive chronic myeloid leukemia CML, BCR-ABL1-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (Ph-MPN are characterized by the frequent occurrence of an autoactivating mutation in the JAK2 tyrosine kinase (JAK2V617F or other mutations in the JAK-STAT pathway. However, pathogenetic mechanisms of JAK2 mutated or unmutated Ph-MPN remain not completely understood. We determined the promoter methylation status of SFRP-1, -2, -4, and -5 in 57 MPN patient samples by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR (MSP. JAK2V617F was assessed by allele-specific PCR. Results Aberrant methylation among primary MPN samples was 4% for SFRP-1, 25% for SFRP-2, 2% for SFRP-4, and 0% for SFRP-5. Hypermethylation of SFRP-2, which was the most frequently hypermethylated gene in our study, could not be correlated to any specific MPN subtype. However, we detected a significant correlation between SFRP-2 methylation and presence of a JAK2V617F mutation (P = 0.008. None of the 10 CML samples showed any SFRP-methylation. Conclusions Our data indicate that epigenetic dysregulation of the Wnt signaling pathway is a common event in MPN with aberrant methylation of at least one SFRP being detected in 25% of the primary patient samples and in 30% if only accounting for Ph-MPN. A significant correlation between SFRP-2 methylation and presence of JAK2V617F in our data supports the hypothesis that epigenetic dysregulation may be a complementary mechanism to genetic aberrations. Aberrant

  16. Paths of heritable mitochondrial DNA mutation and heteroplasmy in reference and gas-1 strains of Caenorhabditis elegans

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    Riana eWernick

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Heteroplasmy—the presence of more than one mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA sequence type in a cell, tissue, or individual—impacts human mitochondrial disease and numerous aging-related syndromes. Understanding the trans-generational dynamics of mtDNA is critical to understanding the underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial disease and evolution. We investigated mtDNA mutation and heteroplasmy using a set of wild-type (N2 strain and mitochondrial electron transport chain mutant (gas-1 mutant Caenohabditis elegans mutation-accumulation (MA lines. The N2 MA lines, derived from a previous experiment, were bottlenecked for 250 generations. The gas-1 MA lines were created for this study, and bottlenecked in the laboratory for up to 50 generations. We applied Illumina-MiSeq DNA sequencing to L1 larvae from five gas-1 MA lines and five N2 MA lines to detect and characterize mtDNA mutation and heteroplasmic inheritance patterns evolving under extreme drift. mtDNA copy number increased in both sets of MA lines: 3-fold on average among the gas-1 MA lines and 5-fold on average among N2 MA lines. Eight heteroplasmic single base substitution polymorphisms were detected in the gas-1 MA lines; only one was observed in the N2 MA lines. Heteroplasmy frequencies ranged broadly in the gas-1 MA lines, from as low as 2.3% to complete fixation (homoplasmy. An initially low-frequency (<5% heteroplasmy discovered in the gas-1 progenitor was observed to fix in one gas-1 MA line, achieve higher frequency (37.4% in another, and be lost in the other three lines. A similar low-frequency heteroplasmy was detected in the N2 progenitor, but was lost in all five N2 MA lines. We identified three insertion-deletion (indel heteroplasmies in gas-1 MA lines and six indel variants in the N2 MA lines, most occurring at homopolymeric nucleotide runs. The observed bias toward accumulation of single nucleotide polymorphisms in gas-1 MA lines is consistent with the idea that impaired

  17. Paths of Heritable Mitochondrial DNA Mutation and Heteroplasmy in Reference and gas-1 Strains of Caenorhabditis elegans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wernick, Riana I; Estes, Suzanne; Howe, Dana K; Denver, Dee R

    2016-01-01

    Heteroplasmy-the presence of more than one mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence type in a cell, tissue, or individual-impacts human mitochondrial disease and numerous aging-related syndromes. Understanding the trans-generational dynamics of mtDNA is critical to understanding the underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial disease and evolution. We investigated mtDNA mutation and heteroplasmy using a set of wild-type (N2 strain) and mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) mutant (gas-1) mutant Caenorhabditis elegans mutation-accumulation (MA) lines. The N2 MA lines, derived from a previous experiment, were bottlenecked for 250 generations. The gas-1 MA lines were created for this study, and bottlenecked in the laboratory for up to 50 generations. We applied Illumina-MiSeq DNA sequencing to L1 larvae from five gas-1 MA lines and five N2 MA lines to detect and characterize mtDNA mutation and heteroplasmic inheritance patterns evolving under extreme drift. mtDNA copy number increased in both sets of MA lines: three-fold on average among the gas-1 MA lines and five-fold on average among N2 MA lines. Eight heteroplasmic single base substitution polymorphisms were detected in the gas-1 MA lines; only one was observed in the N2 MA lines. Heteroplasmy frequencies ranged broadly in the gas-1 MA lines, from as low as 2.3% to complete fixation (homoplasmy). An initially low-frequency (gas-1 progenitor was observed to fix in one gas-1 MA line, achieve higher frequency (37.4%) in another, and be lost in the other three lines. A similar low-frequency heteroplasmy was detected in the N2 progenitor, but was lost in all five N2 MA lines. We identified three insertion-deletion (indel) heteroplasmies in gas-1 MA lines and six indel variants in the N2 MA lines, most occurring at homopolymeric nucleotide runs. The observed bias toward accumulation of single nucleotide polymorphisms in gas-1 MA lines is consistent with the idea that impaired mitochondrial activity renders mtDNA more

  18. [Epigenetics of schizophrenia: a review].

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

    2014-10-01

    Schizophrenia is a frequent and disabling disease associated with heterogeneous psychiatric phenotypes. It emerges during childhood, adolescence or young adulthood and has dramatic consequences for the affected individuals, causing considerable familial and social burden, as well as increasing health expenses. Although some progress has been made in the understanding of their physiopathology, many questions remain unsolved, and the disease is still poorly understood. The prevailing hypothesis regarding psychotic disorders proposes that a combination of genetic and/or environmental factors, during critical periods of brain development increases the risk for these illnesses. Epigenetic regulations, such as DNA methylation, can mediate gene x environment interactions at the level of the genome and may provide a potential substrate to explain the variability in symptom severity and family heritability. Initially, epigenetics was used to design mitotic and meiotic changes in gene transcription that could not be attributed to genetic mutations. It referred later to changes in the epigenome not transmitted through the germline. Thus, epigenetics refers to a wide range of molecular mechanisms including DNA methylation of cytosine residues in CpG dinucleotides and post-translational histone modifications. These mechanisms alter the way the transcriptional factors bind the DNA, modulating its expression. Prenatal and postnatal environmental factors may affect these epigenetics factors, having responsability in long-term DNA transcription, and influencing the development of psychiatric disorders. The object of this review is to present the state of knowledge in epigenetics of schizophrenia, outlining the most recent findings in the matter. We did so using Pubmed, researching words such as 'epigenetics', 'epigenetic', 'schizophrenia', 'psychosis', 'psychiatric'. This review summarizes evidences mostly for two epigenetic mechanisms: DNA methylation and post

  19. RAS-pathway mutation patterns define epigenetic subclasses in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.

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    Lipka, Daniel B; Witte, Tania; Toth, Reka; Yang, Jing; Wiesenfarth, Manuel; Nöllke, Peter; Fischer, Alexandra; Brocks, David; Gu, Zuguang; Park, Jeongbin; Strahm, Brigitte; Wlodarski, Marcin; Yoshimi, Ayami; Claus, Rainer; Lübbert, Michael; Busch, Hauke; Boerries, Melanie; Hartmann, Mark; Schönung, Maximilian; Kilik, Umut; Langstein, Jens; Wierzbinska, Justyna A; Pabst, Caroline; Garg, Swati; Catalá, Albert; De Moerloose, Barbara; Dworzak, Michael; Hasle, Henrik; Locatelli, Franco; Masetti, Riccardo; Schmugge, Markus; Smith, Owen; Stary, Jan; Ussowicz, Marek; van den Heuvel-Eibrink, Marry M; Assenov, Yassen; Schlesner, Matthias; Niemeyer, Charlotte; Flotho, Christian; Plass, Christoph

    2017-12-19

    Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is an aggressive myeloproliferative disorder of early childhood characterized by mutations activating RAS signaling. Established clinical and genetic markers fail to fully recapitulate the clinical and biological heterogeneity of this disease. Here we report DNA methylome analysis and mutation profiling of 167 JMML samples. We identify three JMML subgroups with unique molecular and clinical characteristics. The high methylation group (HM) is characterized by somatic PTPN11 mutations and poor clinical outcome. The low methylation group is enriched for somatic NRAS and CBL mutations, as well as for Noonan patients, and has a good prognosis. The intermediate methylation group (IM) shows enrichment for monosomy 7 and somatic KRAS mutations. Hypermethylation is associated with repressed chromatin, genes regulated by RAS signaling, frequent co-occurrence of RAS pathway mutations and upregulation of DNMT1 and DNMT3B, suggesting a link between activation of the DNA methylation machinery and mutational patterns in JMML.

  20. A novel Werner Syndrome mutation: pharmacological treatment by read-through of nonsense mutations and epigenetic therapies.

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    Agrelo, Ruben; Sutz, Miguel Arocena; Setien, Fernando; Aldunate, Fabian; Esteller, Manel; Da Costa, Valeria; Achenbach, Ricardo

    2015-01-01

    Werner Syndrome (WS) is a rare inherited disease characterized by premature aging and increased propensity for cancer. Mutations in the WRN gene can be of several types, including nonsense mutations, leading to a truncated protein form. WRN is a RecQ family member with both helicase and exonuclease activities, and it participates in several cell metabolic pathways, including DNA replication, DNA repair, and telomere maintenance. Here, we reported a novel homozygous WS mutation (c.3767 C > G) in 2 Argentinian brothers, which resulted in a stop codon and a truncated protein (p.S1256X). We also observed increased WRN promoter methylation in the cells of patients and decreased messenger WRN RNA (WRN mRNA) expression. Finally, we showed that the read-through of nonsense mutation pharmacologic treatment with both aminoglycosides (AGs) and ataluren (PTC-124) in these cells restores full-length protein expression and WRN functionality.

  1. Apparent Mineralocorticoid Excess by a Novel Mutation and Epigenetic Modulation by HSD11B2 Promoter Methylation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pizzolo, Francesca; Friso, Simonetta; Morandini, Francesca; Antoniazzi, Franco; Zaltron, Chiara; Udali, Silvia; Gandini, Alberto; Cavarzere, Paolo; Salvagno, Gianluca; Giorgetti, Alejandro; Speziali, Giulia; Choi, Sang-Woon; Olivieri, Oliviero

    2015-09-01

    Apparent mineralocorticoid excess (AME) is a rare autosomal recessive disease resulting from mutations within the hydroxysteroid (11β-dehydrogenase2 [HSD11B2]) gene causing a prominent mineralocorticoid receptor activation by cortisol and hypokalemic low renin hypertension as the main clinical feature. The objective of the study was to characterize AME for possible novel HSD11B2 mutations and to define the role of HSD11B2 promoter methylation in the phenotypic expression of the disease. Two proband brothers and 10 relatives participated in the study. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA was used for HSD11B2 exon sequencing, and a new predicted structure of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 was generated by an in silico three-dimensional modeling. Promoter methylation was determined by bisulfite pyrosequencing. Urinary tetrahydrocortisol plus allotetrahydrocortisol to tetrahydrocortisone ratio, a surrogate marker of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 activity, was measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A novel homozygous variant at HSD11B2 exon 3 site (c.C662G) resulting in an alanine-to-glycine change at position 221 was discovered by sequencing the DNA of the probands. A monoallelic mutation was found in the DNA of the parents and other four relatives. In silico three-dimensional modeling showed that the Ala221Gly substitution could perturb a hydrophobic interaction by reducing the enzymatic affinity for the substrate. The HSD11B2 promoter methylation of normotensive heterozygous relatives was similar to that of wild types, whereas the hypertensive heterozygous subjects showed higher methylation than wild types, consistently with a transcriptional repressive effect of promoter hypermethylation. A novel HSD11B2 functional mutation accounting for an Ala221Gly substitution causes AME. The hypertension phenotype is also epigenetically modulated by HSD11B2 methylation in subjects heterozygous for the mutation.

  2. PIK3CA Mutation in Colorectal Cancer: Relationship with Genetic and Epigenetic Alterations

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    Katsuhiko Nosho

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Somatic PIK3CA mutations are often present in colorectal cancer. Mutant PIK3CA activates AKT signaling, which up-regulates fatty acid synthase (FASN. Microsatellite instability (MSI and CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP are important molecular classifiers in colorectal cancer. However, the relationship between PIK3CA mutation, MSI and CIMP remains uncertain. Using Pyrosequencing technology, we detected PIK3CA mutations in 91 (15% of 590 population-based colorectal cancers. To determine CIMP status, we quantified DNA methylation in eight CIMP-specific promoters [CACNA1G, CDKN2A (p16, CRABP1, IGF2, MLH1, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1] by real-time polymerase chain reaction (MethyLight. PIK3CA mutation was significantly associated with mucinous tumors [P = .0002; odds ratio (OR = 2.44], KRAS mutation (P < .0001; OR = 2.68, CIMP-high (P = .03; OR = 2.08, phospho–ribosomal protein S6 expression (P = .002; OR = 2.19, and FASN expression (P = .02; OR = 1.85 and inversely with p53 expression (P = .01; OR = 0.54 and β-catenin (CTNNB1 alteration (P = .004; OR = 0.43. In addition, PIK3CA G-to-A mutations were associated with MGMT loss (P = .001; OR = 3.24 but not with MGMT promoter methylation. In conclusion, PIK3CA mutation is significantly associated with other key molecular events in colorectal cancer, and MGMT loss likely contributes to the development of PIK3CA G>A mutation. In addition, Pyrosequencing is useful in detecting PIK3CA mutation in archival paraffin tumor tissue. PIK3CA mutational data further emphasize heterogeneity of colorectal cancer at the molecular level.

  3. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

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    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.

  4. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

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    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. Genetic Mutations and Epigenetic Modifications: Driving Cancer and Informing Precision Medicine

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    Krysta Mila Coyle

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Cancer treatment is undergoing a significant revolution from “one-size-fits-all” cytotoxic therapies to tailored approaches that precisely target molecular alterations. Precision strategies for drug development and patient stratification, based on the molecular features of tumors, are the next logical step in a long history of approaches to cancer therapy. In this review, we discuss the history of cancer treatment from generic natural extracts and radical surgical procedures to site-specific and combinatorial treatment regimens, which have incrementally improved patient outcomes. We discuss the related contributions of genetics and epigenetics to cancer progression and the response to targeted therapies and identify challenges and opportunities for the success of precision medicine. The identification of patients who will benefit from targeted therapies is more complex than simply identifying patients whose tumors harbour the targeted aberration, and intratumoral heterogeneity makes it difficult to determine if a precision therapy is successful during treatment. This heterogeneity enables tumors to develop resistance to targeted approaches; therefore, the rational combination of therapeutic agents will limit the threat of acquired resistance to therapeutic success. By incorporating the view of malignant transformation modulated by networks of genetic and epigenetic interactions, molecular strategies will enable precision medicine for effective treatment across cancer subtypes.

  6. Restoration of native folding of single-stranded DNA sequences through reverse mutations: an indication of a new epigenetic mechanism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shepherd, Dionne N; Martin, Darren P; Varsani, Arvind; Thomson, Jennifer A; Rybicki, Edward P; Klump, Horst H

    2006-09-01

    We used in vivo (biological), in silico (computational structure prediction), and in vitro (model sequence folding) analyses of single-stranded DNA sequences to show that nucleic acid folding conservation is the selective principle behind a high-frequency single-nucleotide reversion observed in a three-nucleotide mutated motif of the Maize streak virus replication associated protein (Rep) gene. In silico and in vitro studies showed that the three-nucleotide mutation adversely affected Rep nucleic acid folding, and that the single-nucleotide reversion [C(601)A] restored wild-type-like folding. In vivo support came from infecting maize with mutant viruses: those with Rep genes containing nucleotide changes predicted to restore a wild-type-like fold [A(601)/G(601)] preferentially accumulated over those predicted to fold differently [C(601)/T(601)], which frequently reverted to A(601) and displaced the original population. We propose that the selection of native nucleic acid folding is an epigenetic effect, which might have broad implications in the evolution of plants and their viruses.

  7. Interaction of Prions Causes Heritable Traits in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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    Anton A Nizhnikov

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The concept of "protein-based inheritance" defines prions as epigenetic determinants that cause several heritable traits in eukaryotic microorganisms, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Podospora anserina. Previously, we discovered a non-chromosomal factor, [NSI+], which possesses the main features of yeast prions, including cytoplasmic infectivity, reversible curability, dominance, and non-Mendelian inheritance in meiosis. This factor causes omnipotent suppression of nonsense mutations in strains of S. cerevisiae bearing a deleted or modified Sup35 N-terminal domain. In this work, we identified protein determinants of [NSI+] using an original method of proteomic screening for prions. The suppression of nonsense mutations in [NSI+] strains is determined by the interaction between [SWI+] and [PIN+] prions. Using genetic and biochemical methods, we showed that [SWI+] is the key determinant of this nonsense suppression, whereas [PIN+] does not cause nonsense suppression by itself but strongly enhances the effect of [SWI+]. We demonstrated that interaction of [SWI+] and [PIN+] causes inactivation of SUP45 gene that leads to nonsense suppression. Our data show that prion interactions may cause heritable traits in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

  8. The Key Role of Epigenetics in the Persistence of Asexual Lineages

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    Emilie Castonguay

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Asexual organisms, often perceived as evolutionary dead ends, can be long-lived and geographically widespread. We propose that epigenetic mechanisms could play a crucial role in the evolutionary persistence of these lineages. Genetically identical organisms could rely on phenotypic plasticity to face environmental variation. Epigenetic modifications could be the molecular mechanism enabling such phenotypic plasticity; they can be influenced by the environment and act at shorter timescales than mutation. Recent work on the asexual vertebrate Chrosomus eos-neogaeus (Pisces: Cyprinidae provides broad insights into the contribution of epigenetics in genetically identical individuals. We discuss the extension of these results to other asexual organisms, in particular those resulting from interspecific hybridizations. We finally develop on the evolutionary relevance of epigenetic variation in the context of heritability.

  9. [Fundamentals of epigenetics].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourc'his, Déborah

    2010-02-01

    The genetic code cannot alone explain the diversity of cellular and individual phenotypes. Epigenetics provides an additional level of information that is not encoded in the DNA molecule but nonetheless influences its activity in a stable and heritable manner through cell divisions. This effect on gene expression results from variations in chromatin states and is induced by biochemical modifications targeting the DNA molecule or associated histone proteins. Epigenetic regulation can convert a developmental or transient environmental signal into a stable transcriptional response, which will then be perpetuated even in the absence of the original stimulus. Epigenetic regulation explains how, starting from a unique genome, the pluripotent embryo can generate a variety of tissues and maintain their identity throughout development. Epigenetics has a broad impact on development, by controlling pluripotent and differentiated states. An increasing number of pathological situations are being attributed to abnormal establishment or maintenance of epigenetic patterns. Given the mitotic heritability of epigenetic states, a key question is whether epigenetic information can also be transmitted through generations.

  10. Genetic and Epigenetic Tumor Suppressor Gene Silencing Are Distinct Molecular Phenotypes Driven by Growth Promoting Mutations in Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer

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    Carmen J. Marsit

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Both genetic and epigenetic alterations characterize human nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC, but the biological processes that create or select these alterations remain incompletely investigated. Our hypothesis posits that a roughly reciprocal relationship between the propensity for promoter hypermethylation and a propensity for genetic deletion leads to distinct molecular phenotypes of lung cancer. To test this hypothesis, we examined promoter hypermethylation of 17 tumor suppressor genes, as a marker of epigenetic alteration propensity, and deletion events at the 3p21 region, as a marker of genetic alteration. To model the complex biology between these somatic alterations, we utilized an item response theory model. We demonstrated that tumors exhibiting LOH at greater than 30% of informative alleles in the 3p21 region have a significantly reduced propensity for hypermethylation. At the same time, tumors with activating KRAS mutations showed a significantly increased propensity for hypermethylation of the loci examined, a result similar to what has been observed in colon cancer. These data suggest that NSCLCs have distinct epigenetic or genetic alteration phenotypes acting upon tumor suppressor genes and that mutation of oncogenic growth promoting genes, such as KRAS, is associated with the epigenetic phenotype.

  11. Epigenetics and epilepsy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pulido Fontes, L; Quesada Jimenez, P; Mendioroz Iriarte, M

    2015-03-01

    Epigenetics is the study of heritable modifications in gene expression that do not change the DNA nucleotide sequence. Some of the most thoroughly studied epigenetic mechanisms at present are DNA methylation, post-transcriptional modifications of histones, and the effect of non-coding RNA molecules. Gene expression is regulated by means of these mechanisms and disruption of these molecular pathways may elicit development of diseases. We describe the main epigenetic regulatory mechanisms and review the most recent literature about epigenetic mechanisms and how those mechanisms are involved in different epileptic syndromes. Identifying the epigenetic mechanisms involved in epilepsy is a promising line of research that will deliver more in-depth knowledge of epilepsy pathophysiology and treatments. Copyright © 2014 Sociedad Española de Neurología. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.

  12. Epigenetics in liver disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, Derek A

    2014-10-01

    Epigenetics is a term that encompasses a variety of regulatory processes that are able to crosstalk in order to influence gene expression and cell phenotype in response to environmental cues. A deep understanding of epigenetics offers the potential for fresh insights into the basis for complex chronic diseases and improved diagnostic and prognostic tools. Moreover, as epigenetic modifications are highly plastic and responsive to the environment, there is much excitement around the theme of epigenetic therapeutics, including not only new drugs but also more informed patient advice on lifestyle choices and their impact on pathology. This review briefly explains the molecular nature of the individual regulatory process that constitute epigenetics, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin remodeling, transcriptional control, and noncoding RNAs. The ways in which these epigenetic mechanisms influence liver physiology and disease will be considered in detail, particularly in the context of cancer, fibrosis, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The current limitations associated with epigenetic profiling and therapeutics in liver disease are discussed, as is the intriguing possibility that environmental-induced epigenetic changes may become stable and heritable. The aim of the review is to inform hepatologists of the emerging key epigenetic ideas of relevance to liver diseases that are highly likely to form a component of patient management and care in the next decade. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Hepatology published by Wiley on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

  13. Premalignant Genetic and Epigenetic Alterations in Tubal Epithelium from Women with BRCA1 Mutations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-01

    cancer risk due to inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. Science 302, 643–646. [9] Finch A, Shaw P, Rosen B, Murphy J, Narod SA, and Colgan TJ (2006...NHLRC1 and IGF2BP1) to search lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) derived from a pedigree from the Center d’Etude du Polymorphisme Humaine (CEPH) for SNPs...Seattle, WA 98109, USA. 2Department of Genome Sciences , University of Washington, 3720 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. 3National Centre for

  14. Epigenetic mechanisms in neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

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    Jorge eLandgrave-Gómez

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available The role of epigenetic mechanisms in the function and homeostasis of the central nervous system (CNS and its regulation in diseases is one of the most interesting processes of contemporary neuroscience. In the last decade, a growing body of literature suggests that long-term changes in gene transcription associated with CNS´s regulation and neurological disorders are mediated via modulation of chromatin structure.Epigenetics, introduced for the first time by Waddington in the early 1940s, has been traditionally referred to a variety of mechanisms that allow heritable changes in gene expression even in the absence of DNA mutation. However, new definitions acknowledge that many of these mechanisms used to perpetuate epigenetic traits in dividing cells are used by neurons to control a variety of functions dependent on gene expression. Indeed, in the recent years these mechanisms have shown their importance in the maintenance of a healthy CNS. Moreover, environmental inputs that have shown effects in CNS diseases, such as nutrition, that can modulate the concentration of a variety of metabolites such as acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-coA, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+ and beta hydroxybutyrate (β-HB, regulates some of these epigenetic modifications, linking in a precise way environment with gene expression.This manuscript will portray what is currently understood about the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the function and homeostasis of the CNS and their participation in a variety of neurological disorders. We will discuss how the machinery that controls these modifications plays an important role in processes involved in neurological disorders such as neurogenesis and cell growth. Moreover, we will discuss how environmental inputs modulate these modifications producing metabolic and physiological alterations that could exert beneficial effects on neurological diseases. Finally, we will highlight possible future directions in the field of

  15. Epigenetics and environmental chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baccarelli, Andrea; Bollati, Valentina

    2009-04-01

    Epigenetics investigates heritable changes in gene expression occurring without changes in DNA sequence. Several epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNA expression, can change genome function under exogenous influence. Here, we review current evidence indicating that epigenetic alterations mediate toxicity from environmental chemicals. In-vitro, animal, and human investigations have identified several classes of environmental chemicals that modify epigenetic marks, including metals (cadmium, arsenic, nickel, chromium, and methylmercury), peroxisome proliferators (trichloroethylene, dichloroacetic acid, and TCA), air pollutants (particulate matter, black carbon, and benzene), and endocrine-disrupting/reproductive toxicants (diethylstilbestrol, bisphenol A, persistent organic pollutants, and dioxin). Most studies conducted so far have been centered on DNA methylation, whereas only a few investigations have studied environmental chemicals in relation to histone modifications and microRNA. For several exposures, it has been proved that chemicals can alter epigenetic marks, and that the same or similar epigenetic alterations can be found in patients with the disease of concern or in diseased tissues. Future prospective investigations are needed to determine whether exposed individuals develop epigenetic alterations over time and, in turn, which such alterations increase the risk of disease. Also, further research is needed to determine whether environmental epigenetic changes are transmitted transgenerationally.

  16. The epigenetics of nuclear envelope organization and disease

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schirmer, Eric C. [Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, Michael Swann Building, Room 5.22, Edinburgh EH9 3JR (United Kingdom)], E-mail: e.schirmer@ed.ac.uk

    2008-12-01

    Mammalian chromosomes and some specific genes have non-random positions within the nucleus that are tissue-specific and heritable. Work in many organisms has shown that genes at the nuclear periphery tend to be inactive and altering their partitioning to the interior results in their activation. Proteins of the nuclear envelope can recruit chromatin with specific epigenetic marks and can also recruit silencing factors that add new epigenetic modifications to chromatin sequestered at the periphery. Together these findings indicate that the nuclear envelope is a significant epigenetic regulator. The importance of this function is emphasized by observations of aberrant distribution of peripheral heterochromatin in several human diseases linked to mutations in NE proteins. These debilitating inherited diseases range from muscular dystrophies to the premature aging progeroid syndromes and the heterochromatin changes are just one early clue for understanding the molecular details of how they work. The architecture of the nuclear envelope provides a unique environment for epigenetic regulation and as such a great deal of research will be required before we can ascertain the full range of its contributions to epigenetics.

  17. Environmental epigenetics in metal exposure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez-Zamudio, Ricardo

    2011-01-01

    Although it is widely accepted that chronic exposure to arsenite, nickel, chromium and cadmium increases cancer incidence in individuals, the molecular mechanisms underlying their ability to transform cells remain largely unknown. Carcinogenic metals are typically weak mutagens, suggesting that genetic-based mechanisms may not be primarily responsible for metal-induced carcinogenesis. Growing evidence shows that environmental metal exposure involves changes in epigenetic marks, which may lead to a possible link between heritable changes in gene expression and disease susceptibility and development. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of metal exposure affecting epigenetic marks and discuss establishment of heritable gene expression in metal-induced carcinogenesis. PMID:21610324

  18. Targeted sequencing identifies associations between IL7R-JAK mutations and epigenetic modulators in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vicente, Carmen; Schwab, Claire; Broux, Michaël; Geerdens, Ellen; Degryse, Sandrine; Demeyer, Sofie; Lahortiga, Idoya; Elliott, Alannah; Chilton, Lucy; La Starza, Roberta; Mecucci, Cristina; Vandenberghe, Peter; Goulden, Nicholas; Vora, Ajay; Moorman, Anthony V.; Soulier, Jean; Harrison, Christine J.; Clappier, Emmanuelle; Cools, Jan

    2015-01-01

    T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is caused by the accumulation of multiple oncogenic lesions, including chromosomal rearrangements and mutations. To determine the frequency and co-occurrence of mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, we performed targeted re-sequencing of 115 genes across 155 diagnostic samples (44 adult and 111 childhood cases). NOTCH1 and CDKN2A/B were mutated/deleted in more than half of the cases, while an additional 37 genes were mutated/deleted in 4% to 20% of cases. We found that IL7R-JAK pathway genes were mutated in 27.7% of cases, with JAK3 mutations being the most frequent event in this group. Copy number variations were also detected, including deletions of CREBBP or CTCF and duplication of MYB. FLT3 mutations were rare, but a novel extracellular mutation in FLT3 was detected and confirmed to be transforming. Furthermore, we identified complex patterns of pairwise associations, including a significant association between mutations in IL7R-JAK genes and epigenetic regulators (WT1, PRC2, PHF6). Our analyses showed that IL7R-JAK genetic lesions did not confer adverse prognosis in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cases enrolled in the UK ALL2003 trial. Overall, these results identify interconnections between the T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia genome and disease biology, and suggest a potential clinical application for JAK inhibitors in a significant proportion of patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. PMID:26206799

  19. Positive selection for new disease mutations in the human germline: evidence from the heritable cancer syndrome multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Soo-Kyung Choi

    Full Text Available Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B is a highly aggressive thyroid cancer syndrome. Since almost all sporadic cases are caused by the same nucleotide substitution in the RET proto-oncogene, the calculated disease incidence is 100-200 times greater than would be expected based on the genome average mutation frequency. In order to determine whether this increased incidence is due to an elevated mutation rate at this position (true mutation hot spot or a selective advantage conferred on mutated spermatogonial stem cells, we studied the spatial distribution of the mutation in 14 human testes. In donors aged 36-68, mutations were clustered with small regions of each testis having mutation frequencies several orders of magnitude greater than the rest of the testis. In donors aged 19-23 mutations were almost non-existent, demonstrating that clusters in middle-aged donors grew during adulthood. Computational analysis showed that germline selection is the only plausible explanation. Testes of men aged 75-80 were heterogeneous with some like middle-aged and others like younger testes. Incorporating data on age-dependent death of spermatogonial stem cells explains the results from all age groups. Germline selection also explains MEN2B's male mutation bias and paternal age effect. Our discovery focuses attention on MEN2B as a model for understanding the genetic and biochemical basis of germline selection. Since RET function in mouse spermatogonial stem cells has been extensively studied, we are able to suggest that the MEN2B mutation provides a selective advantage by altering the PI3K/AKT and SFK signaling pathways. Mutations that are preferred in the germline but reduce the fitness of offspring increase the population's mutational load. Our approach is useful for studying other disease mutations with similar characteristics and could uncover additional germline selection pathways or identify true mutation hot spots.

  20. Epigenetic ON/OFF Switches for Obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quarta, Carmelo; Schneider, Robert; Tschöp, Matthias H

    2016-01-28

    Heritable epigenetic mechanisms might contribute to the worldwide increase in the prevalence of obesity. Dalgaard et al. identify an epigenetic molecular switch that controls body weight control. The discovery suggests the existence of mammalian polyphenism in energy metabolism and might have implications for strategies to limit the obesity epidemic. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Epigenetics and pesticides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collotta, M; Bertazzi, P A; Bollati, V

    2013-05-10

    Pesticides, a wide class of environmental contaminants, may cause both acute and delayed health effects in exposed subjects. These effects can range from simple irritation of the skin and eyes to more severe effects such as affecting the nervous system, the reproductive system and cancer. The molecular mechanisms underlying such effects are still under investigation. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the DNA sequence. Several epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNA expression, can be triggered by environmental factors. We review current evidences indicating that epigenetic modifications may mediate pesticide effects on human health. In vitro, animal, and human investigations have identified several classes of pesticides that modify epigenetic marks, including endocrine disruptors, persistent organic pollutants, arsenic, several herbicides and insecticides. Several investigations have examined the effects of environmental exposures and epigenetic markers, and identified toxicants that modify epigenetic states. These modifications are similar to the ones found in pathological tissue samples. In spite of the current limitations, available evidence supports the concept that epigenetics holds substantial potential for furthering our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pesticides health effects, as well as for predicting health-related risks due to conditions of environmental exposure and individual susceptibility. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. Genetic and Epigenetic Effects of Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Pulliero, Alessandra; Cao, Jia; Vasques, Luciana dos Reis; Pacchierotti, Francesca

    2015-01-01

    ...]. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without changes in DNA sequence [3]. This is particularly fascinating because epigenetics involves factors that cause chemical changes to occur in our genomes. Epigenetic mechanisms, with particular reference to microRNA alterations, DNA methylation, and histone modific...

  4. The epigenetic footprint of poleward range-expanding plants in apomictic dandelions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Preite, V.; Snoek, L.B.; Oplaat, C.; Biere, A.; Van der Putten, W. H; Verhoeven, K.J.F.

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation variation, can generate heritable phenotypic variation independent of the underlying genetic code. However, epigenetic variation in natural plant populations is poorly documented and little understood. Here, we test if northward range expansion of

  5. Neuroendocrine Merkel cell carcinoma is associated with mutations in key DNA repair, epigenetic and apoptosis pathways: a case-based study using targeted massively parallel sequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graves, Christian A; Jones, Ashley; Reynolds, Justin; Stuart, Jeremy; Pirisi, Lucia; Botrous, Peter; Wells, James

    2015-01-01

    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine carcinoma with a poorly understood molecular etiology. We implemented a comprehensive deep sequencing approach to identify mutations in the tumor DNA from a cohort of patients treated at our institution over the past 15 years. Our results indicate mutations that may constitute therapeutic targets in MCC. Five patients were treated for MCC within the study interval. Patients with adequate tissue (n = 4), positive neuroendocrine differentiation (chromogranin, synaptophysin, and cytokeratin 20), and histopathological confirmation of MCC were included in the study. DNA was extracted from archival tumor tissue samples and analyzed by massively parallel sequencing using a targeted, multiplex PCR approach followed by semiconductor sequencing. We demonstrate high-penetrance nonsense mutations in PDE4DIP (n = 4) as well as various missense mutations in the DNA damage response (PRKDC, AURKB, ERCC5, ATR, and ATRX) and epigenetic modulating enzymes (MLL3). We describe several mutations in potential disease-relevant genes and pathways. These targets should be evaluated in a larger cohort to determine their role in the molecular pathogenesis of MCC. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  6. Mutations and epimutations in the origin of cancer

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peltomaeki, Paeivi, E-mail: Paivi.Peltomaki@Helsinki.Fi

    2012-02-15

    Cancer is traditionally viewed as a disease of abnormal cell proliferation controlled by a series of mutations. Mutations typically affect oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes thereby conferring growth advantage. Genomic instability facilitates mutation accumulation. Recent findings demonstrate that activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes, as well as genomic instability, can be achieved by epigenetic mechanisms as well. Unlike genetic mutations, epimutations do not change the base sequence of DNA and are potentially reversible. Similar to genetic mutations, epimutations are associated with specific patterns of gene expression that are heritable through cell divisions. Knudson's hypothesis postulates that inactivation of tumor suppressor genes requires two hits, with the first hit occurring either in somatic cells (sporadic cancer) or in the germline (hereditary cancer) and the second one always being somatic. Studies on hereditary and sporadic forms of colorectal carcinoma have made it evident that, apart from genetic mutations, epimutations may serve as either hit or both. Furthermore, recent next-generation sequencing studies show that epigenetic genes, such as those encoding histone modifying enzymes and subunits for chromatin remodeling systems, are themselves frequent targets of somatic mutations in cancer and can act like tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes. This review discusses genetic vs. epigenetic origin of cancer, including cancer susceptibility, in light of recent discoveries. Situations in which mutations and epimutations occur to serve analogous purposes are highlighted.

  7. Epigenetics: a molecular link between environmental factors and type 2 diabetes

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ling, Charlotte; Groop, Leif

    2009-01-01

    ... some insights into epigenetic mechanisms associated with type 2 diabetes. An overview of epigenetic regulation. Although there is no uniform definition of epigenetics, it has been described as heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in the nucleotide sequence (6). Epigenetic modifications can be passed from one cell generation to...

  8. The physics of epigenetics

    CERN Document Server

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

    2015-01-01

    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 multi-scale physical mechanisms that govern the biological processes behind the initiation, spreading and inheritance of epigenetic states. These include not only the change in the molecular properties associated with the chemical modifications of DNA and histone proteins - such as methylation and acetylation - but also less conventional ones, such as 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 m...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Epigenetics in Cystic Fibrosis: Epigenetic Targeting of a Genetic Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirinupong, Nualpun; Yang, Zhe

    2015-01-01

    Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a deadly genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. A mutation in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene is the cause of the disease. How epigenetics contributes to CFTR expression is still poorly understood. Epigenetics is a mechanism that alters gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation and histone modification. Both mechanisms have been implicated in CFTR gene regulation. Here we review epigenetic regulation of CFTR transcription while discussing potential epigenetic targeting strategies including DNA methyltransferase, histone deacetylase, and histone methyltransferase and demethylase inhibition. Because of the reversibility of epigenetics, targeting epigenetic mechanisms has been an attractive therapeutic approach. However, epigenetic targeting of CF disease is still at its infant stage.

  12. Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation Exposure, Oxidative Stress and Epigenetic Programing of Health and Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tharmalingam, Sujeenthar; Sreetharan, Shayenthiran; Kulesza, Adomas V; Boreham, Douglas R; Tai, T C

    2017-10-01

    Ionizing radiation exposure from medical diagnostic imaging has greatly increased over the last few decades. Approximately 80% of patients who undergo medical imaging are exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation (LDIR). Although there is widespread consensus regarding the harmful effects of high doses of radiation, the biological effects of low-linear energy transfer (LET) LDIR is not well understood. LDIR is known to promote oxidative stress, however, these levels may not be large enough to result in genomic mutations. There is emerging evidence that oxidative stress causes heritable modifications via epigenetic mechanisms (DNA methylation, histone modification, noncoding RNA regulation). These epigenetic modifications result in permanent cellular transformations without altering the underlying DNA nucleotide sequence. This review summarizes the major concepts in the field of epigenetics with a focus on the effects of low-LET LDIR (stress on epigenetic gene modification. In this review, we show evidence that suggests that LDIR-induced oxidative stress provides a mechanistic link between LDIR and epigenetic gene regulation. We also discuss the potential implication of LDIR exposure during pregnancy where intrauterine fetal development is highly susceptible to oxidative stress-induced epigenetic programing.

  13. Epigenetic characterization of the FMR1 promoter in induced pluripotent stem cells from human fibroblasts carrying an unmethylated full mutation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    C. de Esch (Celine); M. Ghazvini (Mehrnaz); F. Loos (Friedemann); N. Schelling-Kazaryan (Nune); W. Widagdo; S.T. Munshi (Shashini T.); E. van der Wal (Erik); H. Douben (Hannie); N. Gunhanlar (Nilhan); S.A. Kushner (Steven); W.W.M.P. Pijnappel (Pim); F.M.S. Vrij (Femke); N. Geijsen (Niels); J.H. Gribnau (Joost); R. Willemsen (Rob)

    2014-01-01

    textabstractSilencing of the FMR1 gene leads to fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability. To study the epigenetic modifications of the FMR1 gene during silencing in time, we used fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of an unmethylated full

  14. Abiotic stress leads to somatic and heritable changes in homologous recombination frequency, point mutation frequency and microsatellite stability in Arabidopsis plants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yao Youli, E-mail: youli.yao@uleth.ca [Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, T1K 3M4 Alberta (Canada); Kovalchuk, Igor, E-mail: igor.kovalchuk@uleth.ca [Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, T1K 3M4 Alberta (Canada)

    2011-02-10

    In earlier studies, we showed that abiotic stresses, such as ionizing radiation, heavy metals, temperature and water, trigger an increase in homologous recombination frequency (HRF). We also demonstrated that many of these stresses led to inheritance of high-frequency homologous recombination, HRF. Although an increase in recombination frequency is an important indicator of genome rearrangements, it only represents a minor portion of possible stress-induced mutations. Here, we analyzed the influence of heat, cold, drought, flood and UVC abiotic stresses on two major types of mutations in the genome, point mutations and small deletions/insertions. We used two transgenic lines of Arabidopsis thaliana, one allowing an analysis of reversions in a stop codon-containing inactivated {beta}-glucuronidase transgene and another one allowing an analysis of repeat stability in a microsatellite-interrupted {beta}-glucuronidase transgene. The transgenic Arabidopsis line carrying the {beta}-glucuronidase-based homologous recombination substrate was used as a positive control. We showed that the majority of stresses increased the frequency of point mutations, homologous recombination and microsatellite instability in somatic cells, with the frequency of homologous recombination being affected the most. The analysis of transgenerational changes showed an increase in HRF to be the most prominent effect observed in progeny. Significant changes in recombination frequency were observed upon exposure to all types of stress except drought, whereas changes in microsatellite instability were observed upon exposure to UVC, heat and cold. The frequency of point mutations in the progeny of stress-exposed plants was the least affected; an increase in mutation frequency was observed only in the progeny of plants exposed to UVC. We thus conclude that transgenerational changes in genome stability in response to stress primarily involve an increase in recombination frequency.

  15. An ADAMTSL2 founder mutation causes Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, a heritable disorder of beagle dogs, featuring stiff skin and joint contractures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hannah L Bader

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS is a hereditary disorder affecting Beagle dogs that manifests with extensive fibrosis of the skin and joints. In this respect, it resembles human stiff skin syndrome and the Tight skin mouse, each of which is caused by gene defects affecting fibrillin-1, a major component of tissue microfibrils. The objective of this work was to determine the genetic basis of MLS and the molecular consequence of the identified mutation.We mapped the locus for MLS by genome-wide association to a 3.05 Mb haplotype on canine chromosome 9 (CFA9 (50.11-54.26; p(raw T; p.R221C perfectly associated with MLS (p-value=10(-12. Murine ADAMTSL2 containing the p.R221C mutation formed anomalous disulfide-bonded dimers when transiently expressed in COS-1, HEK293F and CHO cells, and was present in the medium of these cells at lower levels than wild-type ADAMTSL2 expressed in parallel.The genetic basis of MLS is a founder mutation in ADAMTSL2, previously shown to interact with latent TGF-β binding protein, which binds fibrillin-1. The molecular effect of the founder mutation on ADAMTSL2 is formation of disulfide-bonded dimers. Although caused by a distinct mutation, and having a milder phenotype than human GD, MLS nevertheless offers a new animal model for study of GD, and for prospective insights on mechanisms and pathways of skin fibrosis and joint contractures.

  16. The complexity of epigenetic diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brazel, Ailbhe Jane; Vernimmen, Douglas

    2016-01-01

    Over the past 30 years, a plethora of pathogenic mutations affecting enhancer regions and epigenetic regulators have been identified. Coupled with more recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) implicating major roles for regulatory mutations in disease, it is clear that epigenetic mechanisms represent important biomarkers for disease development and perhaps even therapeutic targets. Here, we discuss the diversity of disease-causing mutations in enhancers and epigenetic regulators, with a particular focus on cancer. © 2015 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

  17. 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.

  18. Hotspot Mutations in H3F3A and IDH1 Define Distinct Epigenetic and Biological Subgroups of Glioblastoma

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sturm, Dominik; Witt, Hendrik; Hovestadt, Volker; Khuong-Quang, Dong-Anh; Jones, David T. W.; Konermann, Carolin; Pfaff, Elke; Tönjes, Martje; Sill, Martin; Bender, Sebastian; Kool, Marcel; Zapatka, Marc; Becker, Natalia; Zucknick, Manuela; Hielscher, Thomas; Liu, Xiao-Yang; Fontebasso, Adam M.; Ryzhova, Marina; Albrecht, Steffen; Jacob, Karine; Wolter, Marietta; Ebinger, Martin; Schuhmann, Martin U.; van Meter, Timothy; Frühwald, Michael C.; Hauch, Holger; Pekrun, Arnulf; Radlwimmer, Bernhard; Niehues, Tim; von Komorowski, Gregor; Dürken, Matthias; Kulozik, Andreas E.; Madden, Jenny; Donson, Andrew; Foreman, Nicholas K.; Drissi, Rachid; Fouladi, Maryam; Scheurlen, Wolfram; von Deimling, Andreas; Monoranu, Camelia; Roggendorf, Wolfgang; Herold-Mende, Christel; Unterberg, Andreas; Kramm, Christof M.; Felsberg, Jörg; Hartmann, Christian; Wiestler, Benedikt; Wick, Wolfgang; Milde, Till; Witt, Olaf; Lindroth, Anders M.; Schwartzentruber, Jeremy; Faury, Damien; Fleming, Adam; Zakrzewska, Magdalena; Liberski, Pawel P.; Zakrzewski, Krzysztof; Hauser, Peter; Garami, Miklos; Klekner, Almos; Bognar, Laszlo; Morrissy, Sorana; Cavalli, Florence; Taylor, Michael D.; van Sluis, Peter; Koster, Jan; Versteeg, Rogier; Volckmann, Richard; Mikkelsen, Tom; Aldape, Kenneth; Reifenberger, Guido; Collins, V. Peter; Majewski, Jacek; Korshunov, Andrey; Lichter, Peter; Plass, Christoph; Jabado, Nada; Pfister, Stefan M.

    2012-01-01

    Glioblastoma (GBM) is a brain tumor that carries a dismal prognosis and displays considerable heterogeneity. We have recently identified recurrent H3F3A mutations affecting two critical amino acids (K27 and G34) of histone H3.3 in one-third of pediatric GBM. Here, we show that each H3F3A mutation

  19. Molecular genetics and epigenetics of CACTA elements

    KAUST Repository

    Fedoroff, Nina V.

    2013-08-21

    The CACTA transposons, so named for a highly conserved motif at element ends, comprise one of the most abundant superfamilies of Class 2 (cut-and-paste) plant transposons. CACTA transposons characteristically include subterminal sequences of several hundred nucleotides containing closely spaced direct and inverted repeats of a short, conserved sequence of 14-15 bp. The Supressor-mutator (Spm) transposon, identified and subjected to detailed genetic analysis by Barbara McClintock, remains the paradigmatic element of the CACTA family. The Spm transposon encodes two proteins required for transposition, the transposase (TnpD) and a regulatory protein (TnpA) that binds to the subterminal repeats. Spm expression is subject to both genetic and epigenetic regulation. The Spm-encoded TnpA serves as an activator of the epigenetically inactivated, methylated Spm, stimulating both transient and heritable activation of the transposon. TnpA also serves as a negative regulator of the demethylated active element promoter and is required, in addition to the TnpD, for transposition. © Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013.

  20. Hairpatches, a single gene mutation characterized by progressive renal disease and alopecia in the mouse. A potential model for a newly described heritable human disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shultz, L D; Lane, P W; Coman, D R; Taylor, S; Hall, E; Lyons, B; Wood, B G; Schlager, G

    1991-11-01

    A new murine mutation, hairpatches (Hpt), is on chromosome 4, 18.1 recombination units distal to brown near the interferon alpha and beta chain structural gene complex. On the inbred HPT/Le strain background, Hpt is semi-dominant, and Hpt/Hpt mice die in utero by 6 to 8 days of gestation. Such death in utero is associated with abnormalities of embryonic ectodermal derivatives. However on the (C57BL/6J x C3HeB/FeJ-a/a) segregating hybrid background, Hpt is a fully dominant mutation. HPT/Le Hpt/+ mice can be recognized by 3 to 4 days of age by patches of lightly pigmented skin. These mice show reduced numbers of hair follicles, abnormalities in hair follicle structure, and patchy absence of hair throughout life. By 2 weeks of age, abnormal hair follicle development is accompanied by thickening of the epidermis, reduction in levels of subcutaneous fat, and dermal inflammation. Progressive glomerulosclerosis, resulting in chronic kidney failure, is accompanied by increases in glomerular mesangial matrix, deposition of immune complexes, and glomerular enlargement. Scanning electron microscopic studies revealed abnormalities of podocytes including disorganization, swelling, and fusion of the foot processes. Increase in serum blood urea nitrogen levels accompanies conspicuous renal histopathologic changes. Cardiovascular changes in Hpt/+ mice are evidenced by hypertrophy of the left heart ventricle. Increased systolic blood pressure in these animals was found by 3 months of age. Anemia occurs in Hpt/+ mice by 40 weeks. The Hpt/+ mutation provides a valuable new animal model for chronic kidney disease accompanied by skin abnormalities and ventricular hypertrophy. The pathologic changes caused by this mutation are similar to those reported in affected family members with a newly described autosomal dominant human disease.

  1. Heritability of antisocial behaviour

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kretschmer, Tina; DeLisi, Matt

    2016-01-01

    This chapter reviews important strands of research on the heritability of antisocial behavior and crime, including both quantitative genetic studies using twin or adoption designs as well as molecular genetic approaches. Study designs are introduced and findings discussed. Contemporary avenues

  2. Epigenetics in sports.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehlert, Tobias; Simon, Perikles; Moser, Dirk A

    2013-02-01

    The heritability of specific phenotypical traits relevant for physical performance has been extensively investigated and discussed by experts from various research fields. By deciphering the complete human DNA sequence, the human genome project has provided impressive insights into the genomic landscape. The hope that this information would reveal the origin of phenotypical traits relevant for physical performance or disease risks has proven overly optimistic, and it is still premature to refer to a 'post-genomic' era of biological science. Linking genomic regions with functions, phenotypical traits and variation in disease risk is now a major experimental bottleneck. The recent deluge of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) generates extensive lists of sequence variants and genes potentially linked to phenotypical traits, but functional insight is at best sparse. The focus of this review is on the complex mechanisms that modulate gene expression. A large fraction of these mechanisms is integrated into the field of epigenetics, mainly DNA methylation and histone modifications, which lead to persistent effects on the availability of DNA for transcription. With the exceptions of genomic imprinting and very rare cases of epigenetic inheritance, epigenetic modifications are not inherited transgenerationally. Along with their susceptibility to external influences, epigenetic patterns are highly specific to the individual and may represent pivotal control centers predisposing towards higher or lower physical performance capacities. In that context, we specifically review how epigenetics combined with classical genetics could broaden our knowledge of genotype-phenotype interactions. We discuss some of the shortcomings of GWAS and explain how epigenetic influences can mask the outcome of quantitative genetic studies. We consider epigenetic influences, such as genomic imprinting and epigenetic inheritance, as well as the life-long variability of epigenetic modification

  3. Integrated genetic and epigenetic analysis of bladder cancer reveals an additive diagnostic value of FGFR3 mutations and hypermethylation events

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Serizawa, Reza R; Ralfkiaer, Ulrik; Steven, Kenneth

    2011-01-01

    .0001). FGFR3 mutation in combination with three methylation markers (APC, RASSF1A and SFRP2) provided a sensitivity of 90% in tumors and 62% in urine with 100% specificity. These results suggest an inverse correlation between FGFR3 mutations and hypermethylation events, which may be used to improve......The bladder cancer genome harbors numerous oncogenic mutations and aberrantly methylated gene promoters. The aim of our study was to generate a profile of these alterations and investigate their use as biomarkers in urine sediments for noninvasive detection of bladder cancer. We systematically...... screened FGFR3, PIK3CA, TP53, HRAS, NRAS and KRAS for mutations and quantitatively assessed the methylation status of APC, ARF, DBC1, INK4A, RARB, RASSF1A, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, SFRP5 and WIF1 in a prospective series of tumor biopsies (N = 105) and urine samples (N = 113) from 118 bladder tumor patients. We...

  4. Integrated genetic and epigenetic analysis of bladder cancer reveals an additive diagnostic value of FGFR3 mutations and hypermethylation events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serizawa, Reza R; Ralfkiaer, Ulrik; Steven, Kenneth; Lam, Gitte W; Schmiedel, Sven; Schüz, Joachim; Hansen, Alastair B; Horn, Thomas; Guldberg, Per

    2011-07-01

    The bladder cancer genome harbors numerous oncogenic mutations and aberrantly methylated gene promoters. The aim of our study was to generate a profile of these alterations and investigate their use as biomarkers in urine sediments for noninvasive detection of bladder cancer. We systematically screened FGFR3, PIK3CA, TP53, HRAS, NRAS and KRAS for mutations and quantitatively assessed the methylation status of APC, ARF, DBC1, INK4A, RARB, RASSF1A, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, SFRP5 and WIF1 in a prospective series of tumor biopsies (N = 105) and urine samples (N = 113) from 118 bladder tumor patients. We also analyzed urine samples from 33 patients with noncancerous urinary lesions. A total of 95 oncogenic mutations and 189 hypermethylation events were detected in the 105 tumor biopsies. The total panel of markers provided a sensitivity of 93%, whereas mutation and methylation markers alone provided sensitivities of 72% and 70%, respectively. In urine samples, the sensitivity was 70% for all markers, 50% for mutation markers and 52% for methylation markers. FGFR3 mutations occurred more frequently in tumors with no methylation events than in tumors with one or more methylation events (78% vs. 33%; p FGFR3 mutation in combination with three methylation markers (APC, RASSF1A and SFRP2) provided a sensitivity of 90% in tumors and 62% in urine with 100% specificity. These results suggest an inverse correlation between FGFR3 mutations and hypermethylation events, which may be used to improve noninvasive, DNA-based detection of bladder cancer. Copyright © 2010 UICC.

  5. Epigenetics in Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition: Present Trends and Future Perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zilbauer, Matthias; Zellos, Aglaia; Heuschkel, Robert; Gasparetto, Marco; Kraiczy, Judith; Postberg, Jan; Greco, Luigi; Auricchio, Renata; Galatola, Martina; Embleton, Nicholas; Wirth, Stefan; Jenke, Andreas

    2016-04-01

    Epigenetics can be defined as stable, potentially heritable changes in the cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than alterations to the underlying DNA sequence. As such, any observed phenotypic changes including organ development, aging, and the occurrence of disease could be driven by epigenetic mechanisms in the presence of stable cellular DNA sequences. Indeed, with the exception of rare mutations, the human genome-sequence has remained remarkably stable over the past centuries. In contrast, substantial changes to our environment as part of our modern life style have not only led to a significant reduction of certain infectious diseases but also seen the exponential increase in complex traits including obesity and multifactorial diseases such as autoimmune disorders. It is becoming increasingly clear that epigenetic mechanisms operate at the interface between the genetic code and our environment, and a large body of existing evidence supports the importance of environmental factors such as diet and nutrition, infections, and exposure to toxins on human health. This seems to be particularly the case during vulnerable periods of human development such as pregnancy and early life. Importantly, as the first point of contact for many of such environmental factors including nutrition, the digestive system is being increasingly linked to a number of "modern" pathologies. In this review article, we aim to give a brief introduction to the basic molecular principals of epigenetics and provide a concise summary of the existing evidence for the role of epigenetic mechanisms in gastrointestinal health and disease, hepatology, and nutrition.

  6. Paternal allelic mutation at the Kcnq1 locus reduces pancreatic β-cell mass by epigenetic modification of Cdkn1c.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asahara, Shun-ichiro; Etoh, Hiroaki; Inoue, Hiroyuki; Teruyama, Kyoko; Shibutani, Yuki; Ihara, Yuka; Kawada, Yukina; Bartolome, Alberto; Hashimoto, Naoko; Matsuda, Tomokazu; Koyanagi-Kimura, Maki; Kanno, Ayumi; Hirota, Yushi; Hosooka, Tetsuya; Nagashima, Kazuaki; Nishimura, Wataru; Inoue, Hiroshi; Matsumoto, Michihiro; Higgins, Michael J; Yasuda, Kazuki; Inagaki, Nobuya; Seino, Susumu; Kasuga, Masato; Kido, Yoshiaki

    2015-07-07

    Genetic factors are important determinants of the onset and progression of diabetes mellitus. Numerous susceptibility genes for type 2 diabetes, including potassium voltage-gated channel, KQT-like subfamily Q, member1 (KCNQ1), have been identified in humans by genome-wide analyses and other studies. Experiments with genetically modified mice have also implicated various genes in the pathogenesis of diabetes. However, the possible effects of the parent of origin for diabetes susceptibility alleles on disease onset have remained unclear. Here, we show that a mutation at the Kcnq1 locus reduces pancreatic β-cell mass in mice by epigenetic modulation only when it is inherited from the father. The noncoding RNA KCNQ1 overlapping transcript1 (Kcnq1ot1) is expressed from the Kcnq1 locus and regulates the expression of neighboring genes on the paternal allele. We found that disruption of Kcnq1 results in reduced Kcnq1ot1 expression as well as the increased expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1C (Cdkn1c), an imprinted gene that encodes a cell cycle inhibitor, only when the mutation is on the paternal allele. Furthermore, histone modification at the Cdkn1c promoter region in pancreatic islets was found to contribute to this phenomenon. Our observations suggest that the Kcnq1 genomic region directly regulates pancreatic β-cell mass and that genomic imprinting may be a determinant of the onset of diabetes mellitus.

  7. Epigenetic inheritance, genetic assimilation and speciation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pál, C; Miklós, I

    1999-09-07

    Epigenetic inheritance systems enable the environmentally induced phenotypes to be transmitted between generations. Jablonka and Lamb (1991, 1995) proposed that these systems have a substantial role during speciation. They argued that divergence of isolated populations may be first triggered by the accumulation of (heritable) phenotypic differences that are later followed and strengthened by genetic changes. The plausibility of this idea is examined in this paper. At first, we discuss the "exploratory" behaviour of an epigenetic inheritance system on a one peak adaptive landscape. If a quantitative trait is far from the optimum, then it is advantageous to induce heritable phenotypic variation. Conversely, if the genotypes get closer to the peak, it is more favorable to canalize the phenotypic expression of the character. This process would lead to genetic assimilation. Next we show that the divergence of heritable epigenetic marks acts to reduce or to eliminate the genetic barrier between two adaptive peaks. Therefore, an epigenetic inheritance system can increase the probability of transition from one adaptive state to another. Peak shift might be initiated by (i) slight changes in the inducing environment or by (ii) genetic drift of the genes controlling epigenetic variability. Remarkably, drift-induced transition is facilitated even if phenotypic variation is not heritable. A corollary of our thesis is that evolution can proceed through suboptimal phenotypic states, without passing through a deep adaptive valley of the genotype. We also consider the consequences of this finding on the dynamics and mode of reproductive isolation. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

  8. Induced mutation and epigenetics modification in plants for crop improvement by targeting CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Muhammad Hafeez Ullah; Khan, Shahid U; Muhammad, Ali; Hu, Limin; Yang, Yang; Fan, Chuchuan

    2018-06-01

    Clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats associated protein Cas9 (CRISPR-Cas9), originally an adaptive immunity system of prokaryotes, is revolutionizing genome editing technologies with minimal off-targets in the present era. The CRISPR/Cas9 is now highly emergent, advanced, and highly specific tool for genome engineering. The technology is widely used to animal and plant genomes to achieve desirable results. The present review will encompass how CRISPR-Cas9 is revealing its beneficial role in characterizing plant genetic functions, genomic rearrangement, how it advances the site-specific mutagenesis, and epigenetics modification in plants to improve the yield of field crops with minimal side-effects. The possible pitfalls of using and designing CRISPR-Cas9 for plant genome editing are also discussed for its more appropriate applications in plant biology. Therefore, CRISPR/Cas9 system has multiple benefits that mostly scientists select for genome editing in several biological systems. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Epigenetics modifications and therapeutic prospects in human thyroid cancer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Graziella eCatalano

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available At present no successful treatment is available for advanced thyroid cancer, which comprises poorly differentiated, anaplastic, and metastatic or recurrent differentiated thyroid cancer not responding to radioiodine. In the last few years, biologically targeted therapies for advanced thyroid carcinomas have been proposed on the basis of the recognition of key oncogenic mutations. Although the results of several phase II trials look promising, none of the patients treated had a complete response, and only a minority of them had a partial response, suggesting that the treatment is, at best, effective in stabilizing patients with progressive disease. Epigenetic refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without any alteration in the primary DNA sequence. The epigenetic processes establish and maintain the global and local chroma¬tin states that determine gene expression. Epigenetic abnormalities are present in almost all cancers and, together with genetic changes, drive tumour progression. Various genes involved in the control of cell proliferation and invasion (p16INK4A, RASSF1A,PTEN, Rap1GAP, TIMP3, DAPK, RARβ2, E-cadherin, and CITED1 as well as genes specific of thyroid differentiation (Na+/I- symport, TSH receptor, pendrin, SL5A8, and TTF-1 present aberrant methylation in thyroid cancer.This review deals with the most frequent epigenetic alterations in thyroid cancer and focuses on epigenetic therapy, whose goal is to target the chromatin in rapidly dividing tumour cells and potentially restore normal cell functions. Experimental data and clinical trials, especially using deacetylase inhibitors and demethylating agents, are discussed.

  10. Human somatic, germinal and heritable mutagenicity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mendelsohn, M.L.

    1987-05-01

    This report deals with the general process of variant formation rather than with the consequences of a specific variant being present. It focusses on mutational mechanisms, mutagens, and the method for detecting de novo mutants and estimating mutation rate. It is to human genetics much like disease causation and prevention medicine are to medicine as a whole. The word ''mutagenicity'' is used in the title and throughout the text to connote the causation of all classes of genetic damage. Mutagenicity and the corresponding words mutation, mutagen and mutagenesis can have multiple meaning, sometimes relating to gene mutation, sometimes to heritable mutation, and somtimes to all types of genetic damage. 38 refs., 1 tab.

  11. Decoding the Epigenetic Language of Plant Development

    OpenAIRE

    Ahmad, Ayaz; Zhang, Yong; Cao, Xiao-Feng

    2010-01-01

    Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype without changes in DNA sequence. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is accomplished by DNA methylation, histone modifications, histone variants, chromatin remodeling, and may involve small RNAs. DNA methylation at cytosine is carried out by enzymes called DNA Methyltransferases and is involved in many cellular processes, such as silencing of transposable elements and pericentromeric repeats, X-...

  12. Epigenetics of drug abuse: predisposition or response

    OpenAIRE

    Nielsen, David A.; Utrankar, Amol; Reyes, Jennifer A.; Simons, Daniel D; Kosten, Thomas R.

    2012-01-01

    Drug addiction continues to be a serious medical and social problem. Vulnerability to develop an addiction to drugs is dependent on genetic, environmental, social and biological factors. In particular, the interactions of environmental and genetic factors indicate the significance of epigenetic mechanisms, which have been found to occur in response to illicit drug use or as underlying factors in chronic substance abuse and relapse. Epigenetics is defined as the heritable and possibly reversib...

  13. 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...

  14. Genetic and epigenetic alterations of the LKB1 gene and their associations with mutations in TP53 and EGFR pathway genes in Korean non-small cell lung cancers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Su Man; Choi, Jin Eun; Na, Yeon Kyung; Lee, Eun Jin; Lee, Won Kee; Choi, Yi Young; Yoon, Ghil Suk; Jeon, Hyo-Sung; Kim, Dong Sun; Park, Jae Yong

    2013-08-01

    Liver kinase 1 (LKB1) plays a critical barrier role in lung tumorigenesis by controlling initiation, differentiation and metastasis. We searched for genetic and epigenetic alterations of the LKB1 gene in Korean non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) and correlated the results with clinicopathological features. We also investigated the relationship between genetic and epigenetic alterations of LKB1 and mutations in the TP53 gene and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway genes. A total of 159 NSCLCs were analyzed for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at microsatellite loci D19S886, and D19S878. Mutations and methylation status of LKB1 were examined by direct sequencing and a methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction, respectively. A somatic mutation was found in one of the 159 tumors. LOH and promoter methylation was detected in 19.5% (31/159) and 13.2% (21/159) of the tumors, respectively. Four of the 159 tumors had concomitant LOH and methylation of LKB1. In total, 30.2% of the 159 NSCLCs harbored LKB1 LOH or promoter methylation, which were correlated with down-regulation of gene expression. LKB1 LOH was more frequent in males, smokers, and tumors with a TP53 mutation than in females, never-smokers, and tumors without a TP53 mutation, respectively. However, no significant correlation between LKB1 alterations and mutations in EGFR pathway genes was found. These results suggest that the prevalence of LKB1 genetic and epigenetic alterations in NSCLCs vary depending on patient ethnicity. Our results show that LKB1 alterations often occur simultaneously with mutations in EGFR pathway genes. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Epigenetic variation in plant responses to defence hormones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Latzel, Vít; Zhang, Yuanye; Karlsson Moritz, Kim; Fischer, Markus; Bossdorf, Oliver

    2012-11-01

    There is currently much speculation about the role of epigenetic variation as a determinant of heritable variation in ecologically important plant traits. However, we still know very little about the phenotypic consequences of epigenetic variation, in particular with regard to more complex traits related to biotic interactions. Here, a test was carried out to determine whether variation in DNA methylation alone can cause heritable variation in plant growth responses to jasmonic acid and salicylic acid, two key hormones involved in induction of plant defences against herbivores and pathogens. In order to be able to ascribe phenotypic differences to epigenetic variation, the hormone responses were studied of epigenetic recombinant inbred lines (epiRILs) of Arabidopsis thaliana - lines that are highly variable at the level of DNA methylation but nearly identical at the level of DNA sequence. Significant heritable variation was found among epiRILs both in the means of phenotypic traits, including growth rate, and in the degree to which these responded to treatment with jasmonic acid and salicylic acid. Moreover, there was a positive epigenetic correlation between the responses of different epiRILs to the two hormones, suggesting that plant responses to herbivore and pathogen attack may have a similar molecular epigenetic basis. This study demonstrates that epigenetic variation alone can cause heritable variation in, and thus potentially microevolution of, plant responses to defence hormones. This suggests that part of the variation of plant defences observed in natural populations may be due to underlying epigenetic, rather than entirely genetic, variation.

  16. Nutritional influences on epigenetics and age-related disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nutritional epigenetics has emerged as a novel mechanism underlying gene–diet interactions, further elucidating the modulatory role of nutrition in aging and age-related disease development. Epigenetics is defined as a heritable modification to the DNA that regulates chromosome architecture and modu...

  17. Recent advances in the epigenetics and genomics of asthma

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koppelman, Gerard H.; Nawijn, Martijn C.

    2011-01-01

    Purpose of review Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without direct changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms may explain important observations in asthma, such as the effect of the environment during certain periods in life, transgenerational, and

  18. Heritability of caffeine metabolism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Matthaei, Johannes; Tzvetkov, Mladen V; Strube, Jakob

    2016-01-01

    Heritability of caffeine pharmacokinetics and CYP1A2 activity is controversial. Here we analyzed the pharmacokinetics of caffeine, an in vivo probe drug for CYP1A2 and arylamine N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) activity, in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. In the entire group, common and unique envir...

  19. CTCF cis-regulates trinucleotide repeat instability in an epigenetic manner: a novel basis for mutational hot spot determination.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Randell T Libby

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available At least 25 inherited disorders in humans result from microsatellite repeat expansion. Dramatic variation in repeat instability occurs at different disease loci and between different tissues; however, cis-elements and trans-factors regulating the instability process remain undefined. Genomic fragments from the human spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7 locus, containing a highly unstable CAG tract, were previously introduced into mice to localize cis-acting "instability elements," and revealed that genomic context is required for repeat instability. The critical instability-inducing region contained binding sites for CTCF -- a regulatory factor implicated in genomic imprinting, chromatin remodeling, and DNA conformation change. To evaluate the role of CTCF in repeat instability, we derived transgenic mice carrying SCA7 genomic fragments with CTCF binding-site mutations. We found that CTCF binding-site mutation promotes triplet repeat instability both in the germ line and in somatic tissues, and that CpG methylation of CTCF binding sites can further destabilize triplet repeat expansions. As CTCF binding sites are associated with a number of highly unstable repeat loci, our findings suggest a novel basis for demarcation and regulation of mutational hot spots and implicate CTCF in the modulation of genetic repeat instability.

  20. AB021. Epigenetics and disease—lessons from imprinting disorders

    OpenAIRE

    Baple, Emma

    2015-01-01

    Different cells in the body are characterised by different functions and different levels of gene expression despite each sharing the same genetic code. This variation in gene activity from cell to cell is achieved by mechanisms and processes that are collectively termed epigenetics. These epigenetic changes alter gene expression without altering the DNA sequence. One epigenetic mechanism that is readily measured is DNA methylation. It is potentially reversible and heritable over rounds of ce...

  1. The heritability of perceived stress.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Federenko, I.S.; Schlotz, W.; Kirschbaum, C.; Bartels, M.; Hellhammer, D.H.; Wüst, S.

    2006-01-01

    Background. Exploration of the degree to which perceived chronic stress is heritable is important as these self-reports have been linked to stress-related health outcomes. The aims of this study were to estimate whether perceived stress is a heritable condition and to assess whether heritability

  2. 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.

  3. Epigenetic contribution to stress adaptation in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mirouze, Marie; Paszkowski, Jerzy

    2011-06-01

    Plant epigenetics has recently gained unprecedented interest, not only as a subject of basic research but also as a possible new source of beneficial traits for plant breeding. We discuss here mechanisms of epigenetic regulation that should be considered when undertaking the latter. Since these mechanisms are responsible for the formation of heritable epigenetic gene variants (epialleles) and also regulate transposons mobility, both aspects could be exploited to broaden plant phenotypic and genetic variation, which could improve long-term plant adaptation to environmental challenges and, thus, increase productivity. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Mapping the Epigenetic Basis of Complex Traits

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cortijo, Sandra; Wardenaar, Rene; Colome-Tatche, Maria; Gilly, Arthur; Etcheverry, Mathilde; Labadie, Karine; Caillieux, Erwann; Hospital, Frederic; Aury, Jean-Marc; Wincker, Patrick; Roudier, Francois; Jansen, Ritsert C.; Colot, Vincent; Johannes, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Quantifying the impact of heritable epigenetic variation on complex traits is an emerging challenge in population genetics. Here, we analyze a population of isogenic Arabidopsis lines that segregate experimentally induced DNA methylation changes at hundreds of regions across the genome. We

  5. 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

  6. Is Glioblastoma an Epigenetic Malignancy?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Maleszewska, Marta; Kaminska, Bozena, E-mail: B.Kaminska@nencki.gov.pl [Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Neurobiology Center, The Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur Str., Warsaw 02-093 (Poland)

    2013-09-03

    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.

  7. Epigenetic Mechanisms of Serotonin Signaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holloway, Terrell; González-Maeso, Javier

    2015-07-15

    Histone modifications and DNA methylation represent central dynamic and reversible processes that regulate gene expression and contribute to cellular phenotypes. These epigenetic marks have been shown to play fundamental roles in a diverse set of signaling and behavioral outcomes. Serotonin is a monoamine that regulates numerous physiological responses including those in the central nervous system. The cardinal signal transduction mechanisms via serotonin and its receptors are well established, but fundamental questions regarding complex interactions between the serotonin system and heritable epigenetic modifications that exert control on gene function remain a topic of intense research and debate. This review focuses on recent advances and contributions to our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms of serotonin receptor-dependent signaling, with focus on psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.

  8. Genetic and epigenetic mutations affect the DNA binding capability of human ZFP57 in transient neonatal diabetes type 1.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baglivo, Ilaria; Esposito, Sabrina; De Cesare, Lucia; Sparago, Angela; Anvar, Zahra; Riso, Vincenzo; Cammisa, Marco; Fattorusso, Roberto; Grimaldi, Giovanna; Riccio, Andrea; Pedone, Paolo V

    2013-05-21

    In the mouse, ZFP57 contains three classical Cys2His2 zinc finger domains (ZF) and recognizes the methylated TGC(met)CGC target sequence using the first and the second ZFs. In this study, we demonstrate that the human ZFP57 (hZFP57) containing six Cys2His2 ZFs, binds the same methylated sequence through the third and the fourth ZFs, and identify the aminoacids critical for DNA interaction. In addition, we present evidences indicating that hZFP57 mutations and hypomethylation of the TNDM1 ICR both associated with Transient Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus type 1 result in loss of hZFP57 binding to the TNDM1 locus, likely causing PLAGL1 activation. Copyright © 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. [Epigenetics, environment and asthma].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rico-Rosillo, Guadalupe; Vega-Robledo, Gloria Bertha; Silva-García, Raúl; Oliva-Rico, Diego

    2014-01-01

    Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract with a complex genetic background influenced by the exposition to a series of environmental factors. Genetic studies can only elucidate part of the heritability and susceptibility of asthma and even though several diseases have an evident genetic etiology, only a fraction of the genes involved in their pathogenicity have been identified. The epigenetic regulation of the latter is a fact one should bear in mind in order to explain the major triggers of diseases whose understanding is complicated, such as allergies and asthma. External stimulus such as nourishment, stress, physical activity, atmospheric pollution, tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking can induce either gene silencing or gene expression. In this regard, epigenetics can explain how these environmental factors influence our genetic inheritance. There is growing evidence that backs-up the fact that DNA methylation, histone post-translational modification and microRNA expression are influenced by the environment. This helps explaining how several of the risk factors mentioned contribute to the development and inheritance of asthma. In this review, different environmental factors and their relation with the main epigenetic regulatory mechanisms will be analyzed, as well as their possible role in the development of asthma.

  10. The role of epigenetics in social psychiatry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peedicayil, Jacob

    2017-02-01

    Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression not involving changes in DNA sequence and is presently an active area of research in biology and medicine. There is increasing evidence that epigenetics is involved in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders. Several studies conducted to date have suggested that psychosocial factors act by modifying epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression in the brain in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders. Such studies have been conducted both on brain tissues and also using peripheral tissues as substitutes for brain tissues. This article reviews such studies. Epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression in the brain appear to link one individual with another in the context of social psychiatry. Epigenetics appears to be of major importance to the field of social psychiatry.

  11. 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.

  12. Novel Molecular Therapies for Heritable Skin Disorders

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uitto, Jouni; Christiano, Angela M.; Irwin McLean, W. H.; McGrath, John A.

    2013-01-01

    Tremendous progress has been made in the past two decades in molecular genetics of heritable skin diseases, and pathogenic mutations have been identified in as many as 500 distinct human genes. This progress has resulted in improved diagnosis with prognostic implications, refined genetic counseling, and has formed the basis for prenatal and presymptomatic testing as well as preimplantation genetic diagnosis. However, there has been relatively little progress in developing effective and specific treatments for these often devastating diseases. Very recently, however, a number of novel molecular strategies, including gene therapy, cell-based approaches, and protein replacement therapy have been explored for treatment of these conditions. This overview will focus on the prototypic heritable blistering disorders, epidermolysis bullosa and related keratinopathies, in which significant progress has been recently made towards treatment, and illustrate how some of the translational research therapies have already entered the clinical arena. PMID:22158553

  13. Cancer epigenetics

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Taby, Rodolphe; Issa, Jean-Pierre J

    2010-01-01

    Epigenetics refers to stable alterations in gene expression with no underlying modifications in the genetic sequence and is best exemplified by differentiation, in which multiple cell types diverge...

  14. Epigenetic regulation in plant responses to the environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baulcombe, David C; Dean, Caroline

    2014-09-02

    In this article, we review environmentally mediated epigenetic regulation in plants using two case histories. One of these, vernalization, mediates adaptation of plants to different environments and it exemplifies processes that are reset in each generation. The other, virus-induced silencing, involves transgenerationally inherited epigenetic modifications. Heritable epigenetic marks may result in heritable phenotypic variation, influencing fitness, and so be subject to natural selection. However, unlike genetic inheritance, the epigenetic modifications show instability and are influenced by the environment. These two case histories are then compared with other phenomena in plant biology that are likely to represent epigenetic regulation in response to the environment. Copyright © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  15. Epigenetics and the environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutherland, Jessica E; Costa, Max

    2003-03-01

    DNA methylation and histone modification promote changes in chromatin structure that may affect gene expression in a heritable manner without directly altering the genome. As such, these phenomena are considered to be epigenetic in nature and are believed to contribute to the normal processes of human development but also to aberrant disease states such as cancer. Epigenetic processes probably contribute mechanistically to toxicant-induced changes in gene expression and cancer. Nickel is a potent human carcinogen that has been shown to alter DNA methylation patterns and affect histone acetylation status. Both of these changes are associated with the proximity of the affected regions to heterochromatin. The two processes probably occur in concert in mammalian cells. However, in yeast cells, DNA methylation is absent, and nickel is capable of regulating gene expression through changes in acetylation of the lysine residues in the N terminal tail of histone H4. Arsenic is another important environmental carcinogen, and it is methylated during its metabolism. Hence, it has been proposed that arsenic metabolism may deplete intracellular methyl group stores and thereby lead to changes in DNA methylation that may be involved in carcinogenesis. However, the data concerning DNA methylation changes following arsenic exposure are equivocal, leading researchers to propose that DNA hypo- and hypermethylation are both important in the development of arsenic-induced cancers. Heightened awareness by toxicologists of the importance of epigenetics in normal human development and in carcinogenesis should lead to the identification of other toxicants that manifest their effects, at least in part, via epigenetic mechanisms.

  16. 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...

  17. Epigenetic regulation of human retinoblastoma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Usha; Malik, Manzoor Ahmad; Goswami, Sandeep; Shukla, Swati; Kaur, Jasbir

    2016-11-01

    Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer of the retina that commonly occurs in early childhood and mostly affects the children before the age of 5. It occurs due to the mutations in the retinoblastoma gene (RB1) which inactivates both alleles of the RB1. RB1 was first identified as a tumor suppressor gene, which regulates cell cycle components and associated with retinoblastoma. Previously, genetic alteration was known as the major cause of its occurrence, but later, it is revealed that besides genetic changes, epigenetic changes also play a significant role in the disease. Initiation and progression of retinoblastoma could be due to independent or combined genetic and epigenetic events. Remarkable work has been done in understanding retinoblastoma pathogenesis in terms of genetic alterations, but not much in the context of epigenetic modification. Epigenetic modifications that silence tumor suppressor genes and activate oncogenes include DNA methylation, chromatin remodeling, histone modification and noncoding RNA-mediated gene silencing. Epigenetic changes can lead to altered gene function and transform normal cell into tumor cells. This review focuses on important epigenetic alteration which occurs in retinoblastoma and its current state of knowledge. The critical role of epigenetic regulation in retinoblastoma is now an emerging area, and better understanding of epigenetic changes in retinoblastoma will open the door for future therapy and diagnosis.

  18. 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.

  19. 8Wambi heritability.pmd

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ACSS

    as a percentage of the mean (GAM) and heritability were estimated using variance components. Phenotypic. Coefficient of Variation ... exhibited moderate GCV values. Broad and narrow sense heritability estimates for GRD disease score ..... in some faba bean genotypes (Vicia faba L.) grown in Northwestern Ethiopia.

  20. Heritability of neck pain

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fejer, R; Hartvigsen, J; Kyvik, K O

    2006-01-01

    OBJECTIVES: To determine the heritability of neck pain in a large population-based study of twins. METHODS: Data on lifetime prevalence of neck pain from a population-based cross-sectional survey of Danish twins were used. To assess twin similarity, the probandwise concordance rates, zygosity......-specific odds ratios and tetrachoric correlations were calculated and compared for monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Using biometric modelling (structural equation modelling), the genetic and environmental contributions of the liability to neck pain were estimated. RESULTS: A total of 33,794 twins (response rate...... 73%) answered the questions regarding neck pain. Probandwise concordance rates, zygosity-specific odds ratios and tetrachoric correlations showed a significant genetic effect on neck pain. An overall additive genetic component of 44% was found. The genetic effect decreased with age, accounting...

  1. Behavioral epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lester, Barry M.; Tronick, Edward; Nestler, Eric; Abel, Ted; Kosofsky, Barry; Kuzawa, Christopher W.; Marsit, Carmen J.; Maze, Ian; Meaney, Michael J.; Monteggia, Lisa M.; Reul, Johannes M. H. M.; Skuse, David H.; Sweatt, J. David; Wood, Marcelo A.

    2013-01-01

    Sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the University of Massachusetts Boston, “Behavioral Epigenetics” was held on October 29–30, 2010 at the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center, Boston, Massachusetts. This meeting featured speakers and panel discussions exploring the emerging field of behavioral epigenetics, from basic biochemical and cellular mechanisms to the epigenetic modulation of normative development, developmental disorders, and psychopathology. This report provides an overview of the research presented by leading scientists and lively discussion about the future of investigation at the behavioral epigenetic level. PMID:21615751

  2. Exploiting epigenetic vulnerabilities for cancer therapeutics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mair, Barbara; Kubicek, Stefan; Nijman, Sebastian M B

    2014-03-01

    Epigenetic deregulation is a hallmark of cancer, and there has been increasing interest in therapeutics that target chromatin-modifying enzymes and other epigenetic regulators. The rationale for applying epigenetic drugs to treat cancer is twofold. First, epigenetic changes are reversible, and drugs could therefore be used to restore the normal (healthy) epigenetic landscape. However, it is unclear whether drugs can faithfully restore the precancerous epigenetic state. Second, chromatin regulators are often mutated in cancer, making them attractive drug targets. However, in most instances it is unknown whether cancer cells are addicted to these mutated chromatin proteins, or whether their mutation merely results in epigenetic instability conducive to the selection of secondary aberrations. An alternative incentive for targeting chromatin regulators is the exploitation of cancer-specific vulnerabilities, including synthetic lethality, caused by epigenetic deregulation. We review evidence for the hypothesis that mechanisms other than oncogene addiction are a basis for the application of epigenetic drugs, and propose future research directions. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Epigenetics and its implications for ecotoxicology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vandegehuchte, Michiel B; Janssen, Colin R

    2011-05-01

    Epigenetics is the study of mitotically or meiotically heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in the DNA sequence. Interestingly, epigenetic changes can be triggered by environmental factors. Environmental exposure to e.g. metals, persistent organic pollutants or endocrine disrupting chemicals has been shown to modulate epigenetic marks, not only in mammalian cells or rodents, but also in environmentally relevant species such as fish or water fleas. The associated changes in gene expression often lead to modifications in the affected organism's phenotype. Epigenetic changes can in some cases be transferred to subsequent generations, even when these generations are no longer exposed to the external factor which induced the epigenetic change, as observed in a study with fungicide exposed rats. The possibility of this phenomenon in other species was demonstrated in water fleas exposed to the epigenetic drug 5-azacytidine. This way, populations can experience the effects of their ancestors' exposure to chemicals, which has implications for environmental risk assessment. More basic research is needed to assess the potential phenotypic and population-level effects of epigenetic modifications in different species and to evaluate the persistence of chemical exposure-induced epigenetic effects in multiple subsequent generations. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

  4. MicroRNAs, epigenetics and disease

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Silahtaroglu, Asli; Stenvang, Jan

    2010-01-01

    Epigenetics is defined as the heritable chances that affect gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression can be through different mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and nucleosome positioning. MicroRNAs are short RNA molecules...... which do not code for a protein but have a role in post-transcriptional silencing of multiple target genes by binding to their 3' UTRs (untranslated regions). Both epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, and the microRNAs are crucial for normal differentiation......, development and maintenance of tissue-specific gene expression. These mechanisms also explain how cells with the same DNA content can differentiate into cells with different functions. Changes in epigenetic processes can lead to changes in gene function, cancer formation and progression, as well as other...

  5. Epigenetics of drug abuse: predisposition or response.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, David A; Utrankar, Amol; Reyes, Jennifer A; Simons, Daniel D; Kosten, Thomas R

    2012-07-01

    Drug addiction continues to be a serious medical and social problem. Vulnerability to develop an addiction to drugs is dependent on genetic, environmental, social and biological factors. In particular, the interactions of environmental and genetic factors indicate the significance of epigenetic mechanisms, which have been found to occur in response to illicit drug use or as underlying factors in chronic substance abuse and relapse. Epigenetics is defined as the heritable and possibly reversible modifications in gene expression that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. This review discusses the various types of epigenetic modifications and their relevance to drug addiction to elucidate whether epigenetics is a predisposing factor, or a response to, developing an addiction to drugs of abuse.

  6. Transcriptional Infidelity Promotes Heritable Phenotypic Change in a Bistable Gene Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Alasdair J. E; Halliday, Jennifer A; Blankschien, Matthew D; Burns, Philip A; Yatagai, Fumio; Herman, Christophe

    2009-01-01

    Bistable epigenetic switches are fundamental for cell fate determination in unicellular and multicellular organisms. Regulatory proteins associated with bistable switches are often present in low numbers and subject to molecular noise. It is becoming clear that noise in gene expression can influence cell fate. Although the origins and consequences of noise have been studied, the stochastic and transient nature of RNA errors during transcription has not been considered in the origin or modeling of noise nor has the capacity for such transient errors in information transfer to generate heritable phenotypic change been discussed. We used a classic bistable memory module to monitor and capture transient RNA errors: the lac operon of Escherichia coli comprises an autocatalytic positive feedback loop producing a heritable all-or-none epigenetic switch that is sensitive to molecular noise. Using single-cell analysis, we show that the frequency of epigenetic switching from one expression state to the other is increased when the fidelity of RNA transcription is decreased due to error-prone RNA polymerases or to the absence of auxiliary RNA fidelity factors GreA and GreB (functional analogues of eukaryotic TFIIS). Therefore, transcription infidelity contributes to molecular noise and can effect heritable phenotypic change in genetically identical cells in the same environment. Whereas DNA errors allow genetic space to be explored, RNA errors may allow epigenetic or expression space to be sampled. Thus, RNA infidelity should also be considered in the heritable origin of altered or aberrant cell behaviour. PMID:19243224

  7. Viral epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milavetz, Barry I; Balakrishnan, Lata

    2015-01-01

    DNA tumor viruses including members of the polyomavirus, adenovirus, papillomavirus, and herpes virus families are presently the subject of intense interest with respect to the role that epigenetics plays in control of the virus life cycle and the transformation of a normal cell to a cancer cell. To date, these studies have primarily focused on the role of histone modification, nucleosome location, and DNA methylation in regulating the biological consequences of infection. Using a wide variety of strategies and techniques ranging from simple ChIP to ChIP-chip and ChIP-seq to identify histone modifications, nuclease digestion to genome wide next generation sequencing to identify nucleosome location, and bisulfite treatment to MeDIP to identify DNA methylation sites, the epigenetic regulation of these viruses is slowly becoming better understood. While the viruses may differ in significant ways from each other and cellular chromatin, the role of epigenetics appears to be relatively similar. Within the viral genome nucleosomes are organized for the expression of appropriate genes with relevant histone modifications particularly histone acetylation. DNA methylation occurs as part of the typical gene silencing during latent infection by herpesviruses. In the simple tumor viruses like the polyomaviruses, adenoviruses, and papillomaviruses, transformation of the cell occurs via integration of the virus genome such that the virus's normal regulation is disrupted. This results in the unregulated expression of critical viral genes capable of redirecting cellular gene expression. The redirected cellular expression is a consequence of either indirect epigenetic regulation where cellular signaling or transcriptional dysregulation occurs or direct epigenetic regulation where epigenetic cofactors such as histone deacetylases are targeted. In the more complex herpersviruses transformation is a consequence of the expression of the viral latency proteins and RNAs which again can

  8. Epigenetic regulation of neuroblastoma development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durinck, Kaat; Speleman, Frank

    2018-01-19

    In recent years, technological advances have enabled a detailed landscaping of the epigenome and the mechanisms of epigenetic regulation that drive normal cell function, development and cancer. Rather than merely a structural entity to support genome compaction, we now look at chromatin as a very dynamic and essential constellation that is actively participating in the tight orchestration of transcriptional regulation as well as DNA replication and repair. The unique feature of chromatin flexibility enabling fast switches towards more or less restricted epigenetic cellular states is, not surprisingly, intimately connected to cancer development and treatment resistance, and the central role of epigenetic alterations in cancer is illustrated by the finding that up to 50% of all mutations across cancer entities affect proteins controlling the chromatin status. We summarize recent insights into epigenetic rewiring underlying neuroblastoma (NB) tumor formation ranging from changes in DNA methylation patterns and mutations in epigenetic regulators to global effects on transcriptional regulatory circuits that involve key players in NB oncogenesis. Insights into the disruption of the homeostatic epigenetic balance contributing to developmental arrest of sympathetic progenitor cells and subsequent NB oncogenesis are rapidly growing and will be exploited towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies to increase current survival rates of patients with high-risk NB.

  9. 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

  10. Epigenetics and colorectal cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lao, Victoria Valinluck; Grady, William M

    2011-10-18

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. It results from an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes in colon epithelial cells, which transforms them into adenocarcinomas. Over the past decade, major advances have been made in understanding cancer epigenetics, particularly regarding aberrant DNA methylation. Assessment of the colon cancer epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC 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 have a functional role in CRC. The assessment of methylated genes in CRCs has also revealed a unique molecular subgroup of CRCs called CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) cancers; these tumors have a particularly high frequency of methylated genes. These advances in our understanding of aberrant methylation in CRC have led to epigenetic alterations being developed as clinical biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic applications. Progress in this field suggests that these epigenetic alterations will be commonly used in the near future to direct the prevention and treatment of CRC.

  11. Effect of ATM heterozygosity on heritable DNA damage in mice following paternal F{sub 0} germline irradiation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baulch, Janet E. [University of Maryland, Baltimore, Radiation Oncology Research Laboratory, BRB 7-002, 655 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 (United States)]. E-mail: jbaulch@som.umaryland.edu; Li, M.-W. [Center for Health and the Environment, University of California Davis, CA 95616 (United States); Raabe, Otto G. [Center for Health and the Environment, University of California Davis, CA 95616 (United States)

    2007-03-01

    The ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene product maintains genome integrity and initiates cellular DNA repair pathways following exposures to genotoxic agents. ATM also plays a significant role in meiotic recombination during spermatogenesis. Fertilization with sperm carrying damaged DNA could lead to adverse effects in offspring including developmental defects or increased cancer susceptibility. Currently, there is little information regarding the effect of ATM heterozygosity on germline DNA repair and heritable effects of paternal germline-ionizing irradiation. We used neutral pH comet assays to evaluate spermatozoa 45 days after acute whole-body irradiation of male mice (0.1 Gy, attenuated {sup 137}Cs {gamma} rays) to determine the effect of ATM heterozygosity on delayed DNA damage effects of Type A/B spermatogonial irradiation. Using the neutral pH sperm comet assay, significant irradiation-related differences were found in comet tail length, percent tail DNA and tail extent moment, but there were no observed differences in effect between wild-type and ATM +/- mice. However, evaluation of spermatozoa from third generation descendants of irradiated male mice for heritable chromatin effects revealed significant differences in DNA electrophoretic mobility in the F{sub 3} descendants that were based upon the irradiated F{sub 0} sire's genotype. In this study, radiation-induced chromatin alterations to Type A/B spermatogonia, detected in mature sperm 45 days post-irradiation, led to chromatin effects in mature sperm three generations later. The early cellular response to and repair of DNA damage is critical and appears to be affected by ATM zygosity. Our results indicate that there is potential for heritable genetic or epigenetic changes following Type A/B spermatogonial irradiation and that ATM heterozygosity increases this effect00.

  12. Heritable rather than age-related environmental and stochastic factors dominate variation in DNA methylation of the human IGF2/H19 locus.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heijmans, B.T.; Kremer, D.; Tobi, E.W.; Boomsma, D.I.; Slagboom, P.E.

    2007-01-01

    Epigenetic variation may significantly contribute to the risk of common disease. Currently, little is known about the extent and causes of epigenetic variation. Here, we investigated the contribution of heritable influences and the combined effect of environmental and stochastic factors to variation

  13. Epigenetics and inheritance of phenotype variation in livestock.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Triantaphyllopoulos, Kostas A; Ikonomopoulos, Ioannis; Bannister, Andrew J

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic inheritance plays a crucial role in many biological processes, such as gene expression in early embryo development, imprinting and the silencing of transposons. It has recently been established that epigenetic effects can be inherited from one generation to the next. Here, we review examples of epigenetic mechanisms governing animal phenotype and behaviour, and we discuss the importance of these findings in respect to animal studies, and livestock in general. Epigenetic parameters orchestrating transgenerational effects, as well as heritable disorders, and the often-overlooked areas of livestock immunity and stress, are also discussed. We highlight the importance of nutrition and how it is linked to epigenetic alteration. Finally, we describe how our understanding of epigenetics is underpinning the latest cancer research and how this can be translated into directed efforts to improve animal health and welfare.

  14. Transgenerational Epigenetic Contributions to Stress Responses: Fact or Fiction?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric J Nestler

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available There has been increasing interest in the possibility that behavioral experience--in particular, exposure to stress--can be passed on to subsequent generations through heritable epigenetic modifications. The possibility remains highly controversial, however, reflecting the lack of standardized definitions of epigenetics and the limited empirical support for potential mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Nonetheless, growing evidence supports a role for epigenetic regulation as a key mechanism underlying lifelong regulation of gene expression that mediates stress vulnerability. This Perspective provides an overview of the multiple meanings of the term epigenetic, discusses the challenges of studying epigenetic contributions to stress susceptibility--and the experimental evidence for and against the existence of such mechanisms--and outlines steps required for future investigations.

  15. Epigenetic alterations in hematopoietic malignancies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chung, Young Rock; Schatoff, Emma; Abdel-Wahab, Omar

    2012-10-01

    Gene discovery efforts in patients with hematopoietic malignancies have brought to the forefront a series of mutations in genes thought to be involved in the epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. These mutations occur in genes known, or suspected, to play a role in modifying cytosine nucleotides on DNA and/or altering the state of histone modifications. Genes such as ASXL1, DNMT3A, EZH2, IDH1/2, MLL1, and TET2 all have been shown to be mutated and/or translocated in patients with myeloid malignancies. Intriguingly, many of the alterations affecting DNA cytosine modifications in myeloid malignancies (mutations in DNMT3A, IDH1/2, and TET2) have also been found in patients with T-cell lymphomas, and EZH2 mutations appear to be critical in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia development as well. In addition, the discovery of frequent mutations in CREBBP, EP300, EZH2, and MLL2 in B-cell lymphomas suggests that epigenetic alterations play a critical role in lymphomagenesis. The purpose of this review is to present functional evidence of how alterations in these epigenetic modifiers promote hematopoietic transformation. The conclusions drawn from these data are valuable in understanding biological mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets.

  16. Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... rare. Common heritable disorders of connective tissue include: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome mostly affects the skin and joints. Connective ... of America, Inc. Website: https://www.debra.org Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation Website: https://www.ednf.org/ National ...

  17. Pregnancy failure and heritable thrombophilia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middeldorp, Saskia

    2007-01-01

    Heritable thrombophilia is associated with an increased risk for pregnancy failure, defined as sporadic and recurrent miscarriage, late fetal loss, and other vascular pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation. The pathogenesis is likely to include effects on

  18. Epigenetic-based therapies for Friedreich ataxia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiranjeevi eSandi

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Friedreich ataxia (FRDA is a lethal autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused primarily by a homozygous GAA repeat expansion mutation within the first intron of the FXN gene, leading to inhibition of FXN transcription and thus reduced frataxin protein expression. Recent studies have shown that epigenetic marks, comprising chemical modifications of DNA and histones, are associated with FXN gene silencing. Such epigenetic marks can be reversed, making them suitable targets for epigenetic-based therapy. Furthermore, since FRDA is caused by insufficient, but functional, frataxin protein, epigenetic-based transcriptional re-activation of the FXN gene is an attractive therapeutic option. In this review we summarise our current understanding of the epigenetic basis of FXN gene silencing and we discuss current epigenetic-based FRDA therapeutic strategies.

  19. 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.

  20. Physical activity in the prevention of human diseases: role of epigenetic modifications

    OpenAIRE

    Grazioli, Elisa; Dimauro, Ivan; Mercatelli, Neri; Wang, Guan; Pitsiladis, Yannis; Di Luigi, Luigi; Caporossi, Daniela

    2017-01-01

    Epigenetic modification refers to heritable changes in gene function that cannot be explained by alterations in the DNA sequence. The current literature clearly demonstrates that the epigenetic response is highly dynamic and influenced by different biological and environmental factors such as aging, nutrient availability and physical exercise. As such, it is well accepted that physical activity and exercise can modulate gene expression through epigenetic alternations although the type and dur...

  1. 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.

  2. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in plants☆

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauser, Marie-Theres; Aufsatz, Werner; Jonak, Claudia; Luschnig, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Interest in transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has intensified with the boosting of knowledge on epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression during development and in response to internal and external signals such as biotic and abiotic stresses. Starting with an historical background of scantily documented anecdotes and their consequences, we recapitulate the information gathered during the last 60 years on naturally occurring and induced epialleles and paramutations in plants. We present the major players of epigenetic regulation and their importance in controlling stress responses. The effect of diverse stressors on the epigenetic status and its transgenerational inheritance is summarized from a mechanistic viewpoint. The consequences of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance are presented, focusing on the knowledge about its stability, and in relation to genetically fixed mutations, recombination, and genomic rearrangement. We conclude with an outlook on the importance of transgenerational inheritance for adaptation to changing environments and for practical applications. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled “Epigenetic control of cellular and developmental processes in plants”. PMID:21515434

  3. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauser, Marie-Theres; Aufsatz, Werner; Jonak, Claudia; Luschnig, Christian

    2011-08-01

    Interest in transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has intensified with the boosting of knowledge on epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression during development and in response to internal and external signals such as biotic and abiotic stresses. Starting with an historical background of scantily documented anecdotes and their consequences, we recapitulate the information gathered during the last 60 years on naturally occurring and induced epialleles and paramutations in plants. We present the major players of epigenetic regulation and their importance in controlling stress responses. The effect of diverse stressors on the epigenetic status and its transgenerational inheritance is summarized from a mechanistic viewpoint. The consequences of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance are presented, focusing on the knowledge about its stability, and in relation to genetically fixed mutations, recombination, and genomic rearrangement. We conclude with an outlook on the importance of transgenerational inheritance for adaptation to changing environments and for practical applications. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Epigenetic control of cellular and developmental processes in plants". Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Epigenetics in hepatocellular carcinoma: an update and future therapy perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, Li; Chua, Mei-Sze; Andrisani, Ourania; So, Samuel

    2014-01-14

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the predominant form of adult liver malignancies, is a global health concern. Its dismal prognosis has prompted recent significant advances in the understanding of its etiology and pathogenesis. The deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms, which maintain heritable gene expression changes and chromatin organization, is implicated in the development of multiple cancers, including HCC. This review summarizes the current knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of HCC, with an emphasis on HCC mediated by chronic hepatitis B virus infection. This review also discusses the encouraging outcomes and lessons learnt from epigenetic therapies for hematological and other solid cancers, and highlights the future potential of similar therapies in the treatment of HCC.

  5. Using an Active-Learning Approach to Teach Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colon-Berlingeri, Migdalisel

    2010-01-01

    Epigenetics involves heritable changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. I developed an active-learning approach to convey this topic to students in a college genetics course. I posted a brief summary of the topic before class to stimulate exchange in cooperative groups. During class, we discussed the…

  6. 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 ...

  7. Epigenetics: the link between nature and nurture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tammen, Stephanie A; Friso, Simonetta; Choi, Sang-Woon

    2013-01-01

    While the eukaryotic genome is the same throughout all somatic cells in an organism, there are specific structures and functions that discern one type of cell from another. These differences are due to the cell's unique gene expression patterns that are determined during cellular differentiation. Interestingly, these cell-specific gene expression patterns can be affected by an organism's environment throughout its lifetime leading to phenotypical changes that have the potential of altering risk of some diseases. Both cell-specific gene expression signatures and environment mediated changes in expression patterns can be explained by a complex network of modifications to the DNA, histone proteins and degree of DNA packaging called epigenetic marks. Several areas of research have formed to study these epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin remodeling and microRNA (miRNA). The original definition of epigenetics incorporates inheritable but reversible phenomena that affect gene expression without altering base pairs. Even though not all of the above listed epigenetic traits have demonstrated heritability, they can all alter gene transcription without modification to the underlying genetic sequence. Because these epigenetic patterns can also be affected by an organism's environment, they serve as an important bridge between life experiences and phenotypes. Epigenetic patterns may change throughout one's lifespan, by an early life experience, environmental exposure or nutritional status. Epigenetic signatures influenced by the environment may determine our appearance, behavior, stress response, disease susceptibility, and even longevity. The interaction between types of epigenetic modifications in response to environmental factors and how environmental cues affect epigenetic patterns will further elucidate how gene transcription can be affectively altered. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115 (United States); Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children' s Hospital, MA 02116 (United States); Rossi, Derrick J. [Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115 (United States); Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children' s Hospital, MA 02116 (United States)

    2014-12-10

    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. Epigenetics in head and neck cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bakhtiar, Syeda Marriam; Ali, Amjad; Barh, Debmalya

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Research has shown that epigenetic mechanisms provide an "extra" layer of transcriptional control that regulates how genes are expressed. These mechanisms are critical components in the normal development and growth of cells. Epigenetic abnormalities have been found to be causative factors in cancer, genetic disorders, and pediatric syndromes. Head and neck cancers are a group of malignancies with diverse biological behaviors and a strong, well-established association with environmental effects. Although the hunt for genetic alterations in head and neck cancer has continued in the past two decades, with unequivocal proof of a genetic role in multistage head and neck carcinogenesis, epigenetic alteration in association with promoter CpG islands hypermethylation has emerged in the past few years as one of the most active areas of cancer research. Silencing of the genes by hypermethylation or induction of oncogenes by promoter hypomethylation is a frequent mechanism in head and neck cancer and achieves increasing diagnostic and therapeutic importance. In this context it is important for clinicians to understand the principles of epigenetic mechanisms and how these principles relate to human health and disease. It is important to address the use of epigenetic pathways in new approaches to molecular diagnosis and novel targeted treatments across the clinical spectrum.

  12. Heritability in inflammatory bowel disease

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gordon, Hannah; Trier Moller, Frederik; Andersen, Vibeke

    2015-01-01

    estimation regard genetic and environmental variance as separate entities, although it is now understood that there is a complex multidirectional interplay between genetic are environmental factors mediated by the microbiota, the epigenome, and the innate and acquired immune systems. Due to the limitations...... of heritability estimates, it is unlikely that a true value for heritability will be reached. Further work aimed at quantifying the variance explained across GWAS, epigenome-wide, and microbiota-wide association studies will help to define factors leading to inflammatory bowel disease....

  13. Derangement of a factor upstream of RARalpha triggers the repression of a pleiotropic epigenetic network.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francesca Corlazzoli

    Full Text Available Chromatin adapts and responds to extrinsic and intrinsic cues. We hypothesize that inheritable aberrant chromatin states in cancer and aging are caused by genetic/environmental factors. In previous studies we demonstrated that either genetic mutations, or loss, of retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARalpha, can impair the integration of the retinoic acid (RA signal at the chromatin of RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha, and can lead to aberrant repressive chromatin states marked by epigenetic modifications. In this study we tested whether the mere interference with the availability of RA signal at RARalpha, in cells with an otherwise functional RARalpha, can also induce epigenetic repression at RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha.To hamper the availability of RA at RARalpha in untransformed human mammary epithelial cells, we targeted the cellular RA-binding protein 2 (CRABP2, which transports RA from the cytoplasm onto the nuclear RARs. Stable ectopic expression of a CRABP2 mutant unable to enter the nucleus, as well as stable knock down of endogenous CRABP2, led to the coordinated transcriptional repression of a few RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha. The chromatin at these genes acquired an exacerbated repressed state, or state "of no return". This aberrant state is unresponsive to RA, and therefore differs from the physiologically repressed, yet "poised" state, which is responsive to RA. Consistent with development of homozygosis for epigenetically repressed loci, a significant proportion of cells with a defective CRABP2-mediated RA transport developed heritable phenotypes indicative of loss of function.Derangement/lack of a critical factor necessary for RARalpha function induces epigenetic repression of a RA-regulated gene network downstream of RARalpha, with major pleiotropic biological outcomes.

  14. Heritability and familial aggregation of diverticular disease

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strate, Lisa L; Erichsen, Rune; Baron, John A

    2013-01-01

    Little is known about the role of heritable factors in diverticular disease. We evaluated the contribution of heritable factors to the development of diverticular disease diagnosed at a hospitalization or outpatient visit.......Little is known about the role of heritable factors in diverticular disease. We evaluated the contribution of heritable factors to the development of diverticular disease diagnosed at a hospitalization or outpatient visit....

  15. The contribution of additive genetic variation to personality variation: heritability of personality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dochtermann, Ned A; Schwab, Tori; Sih, Andrew

    2015-01-07

    Individual animals frequently exhibit repeatable differences from other members of their population, differences now commonly referred to as 'animal personality'. Personality differences can arise, for example, from differences in permanent environmental effects--including parental and epigenetic contributors--and the effect of additive genetic variation. Although several studies have evaluated the heritability of behaviour, less is known about general patterns of heritability and additive genetic variation in animal personality. As overall variation in behaviour includes both the among-individual differences that reflect different personalities and temporary environmental effects, it is possible for personality to be largely genetically influenced even when heritability of behaviour per se is quite low. The relative contribution of additive genetic variation to personality variation can be estimated whenever both repeatability and heritability are estimated for the same data. Using published estimates to address this issue, we found that approximately 52% of animal personality variation was attributable to additive genetic variation. Thus, while the heritability of behaviour is often moderate or low, the heritability of personality is much higher. Our results therefore (i) demonstrate that genetic differences are likely to be a major contributor to variation in animal personality and (ii) support the phenotypic gambit: that evolutionary inferences drawn from repeatability estimates may often be justified. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  16. 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine correlates with epigenetic regulatory mutations, but may not have prognostic value in predicting survival in normal karyotype acute myeloid leukemia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahn, Jae-Sook; Kim, Hyeoung-Joon; Kim, Yeo-Kyeoung; Lee, Seung-Shin; Ahn, Seo-Yeon; Jung, Sung-Hoon; Yang, Deok-Hwan; Lee, Je-Jung; Park, Hee Jeong; Choi, Seung Hyun; Jung, Chul Won; Jang, Jun-Ho; Kim, Hee Je; Moon, Joon Ho; Sohn, Sang Kyun; Won, Jong-Ho; Kim, Sung-Hyun; Michael, Szardenings; Minden, Mark D; Kim, Dennis Dong Hwan

    2017-01-31

    Stem cells display remarkably high levels of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC). Both TET2 and IDH1/2 mutations can impair the production of 5hmC, thus decreasing 5hmC levels. TET2 or IDH1/2 mutations are commonly observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the implications of 5hmC on survival in normal karyotype AML patients have not been fully evaluated. The 5hmC levels were analyzed in 375 patients using ELISA. The levels of 5hmC in DNA samples were converted to a log scale for the analysis and correlations with TET2 and/or IDH1/2 mutations were evaluated. The median 5hmC level was 0.065% (range 0.001-0.999). Mutation rates were 13.1% for TET2mut, 6.7% for IDH1mut, and 13.9% for IDH2mut. The prevalence of TET2 and/or IDH1/2 was 33.1% (124/375). TET2 and IDH1/2 mutated patients had significantly lower levels of log(5hmC) compared with patients without TET2 or IDH1/2 mutations (p0.05). To identify its prognostic value, we sub-classified the levels of 5hmC into tertiles for 5hmC values. However, there was no significant association between the categories of 5hmC levels and survival or relapse risk (all p>0.05). Patients with TET2 or IDH1/2 mutations had lower levels of 5hmC. The 5hmC levels may not be predictive of survival in patients with normal karyotype AML.

  17. The role of diet and exercise in the transgenerational epigenetic landscape of T2DM

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Barrès, Romain; Zierath, Juleen R

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic changes are caused by biochemical regulators of gene expression that can be transferred across generations or through cell division. Epigenetic modifications can arise from a variety of environmental exposures including undernutrition, obesity, physical activity, stress and toxins. Tra...... of mechanisms by which lifestyle factors affect the epigenetic landscape in type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. Evidence from the past few years about the potential mechanisms by which diet and exercise affect the epigenome over several generations is discussed.......Epigenetic changes are caused by biochemical regulators of gene expression that can be transferred across generations or through cell division. Epigenetic modifications can arise from a variety of environmental exposures including undernutrition, obesity, physical activity, stress and toxins....... Transient epigenetic changes across the entire genome can influence metabolic outcomes and might or might not be heritable. These modifications direct and maintain the cell-type specific gene expression state. Transient epigenetic changes can be driven by DNA methylation and histone modification in response...

  18. Clinical applications of epigenetic markers and epigenetic profiling in myeloid malignancies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDevitt, Michael A

    2012-02-01

    Aberrant DNA methylation is frequent in the myeloid malignancies, particularly myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Promoter CpG methylation is correlated with silencing of tumor-suppressor genes (TSGs) in specific pathways that are also targets of mutation or other mechanisms of inactivation, and is thought to contribute to disease progression and poor prognosis. Epigenetic contributions to myeloid pathogenesis are more complex. Examples include TSG inactivation and oncogenic activation associated with formation of altered chromatin separate from CpG methylation. Epigenetic dysregulation occurs at multiple disease stages and at non-CpG island genomic sites, and also includes genomic hypomethylation and small RNA mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. Identification of recurrent mutations in potential epigenetic regulators, including TET2, IDH1, IDH2, DNMT3A, UTX, and ASXL1, were recently described. Accordingly, therapeutics directed towards epigenetic mechanisms including methylation inhibitors and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have had some clinical success when applied to MDS and AML. However, identification of the underlying mechanisms associated with clinical responses and drug resistance remain enigmatic. Remarkably, in spite of significant molecular and translational progress, there are currently no epigenetic biomarkers in widespread clinical use. In this review, we explore the potential applications of epigenetic biomarker discovery, including epigenetic profiling for myeloid malignancy pathogenesis understanding, diagnostic classification, and development of effective treatment paradigms for these generally considered poor prognosis disorders. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  19. Epigenetic mechanisms underlying nervous system diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qureshi, Irfan A; Mehler, Mark F

    2018-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms act as control systems for modulating genomic structure and activity in response to evolving profiles of cell-extrinsic, cell-cell, and cell-intrinsic signals. These dynamic processes are responsible for mediating cell- and tissue-specific gene expression and function and gene-gene and gene-environmental interactions. The major epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation; histone protein posttranslational modifications, nucleosome remodeling/repositioning, and higher-order chromatin reorganization; noncoding RNA regulation; and RNA editing. These mechanisms are intimately involved in executing fundamental genomic programs, including gene transcription, posttranscriptional RNA processing and transport, translation, X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, retrotransposon regulation, DNA replication, and DNA repair and the maintenance of genomic stability. For the nervous system, epigenetics offers a novel and robust framework for explaining how brain development and aging occur, neural cellular diversity is generated, synaptic and neural network connectivity and plasticity are mediated, and complex cognitive and behavioral phenotypes are inherited transgenerationally. Epigenetic factors and processes are, not surprisingly, implicated in nervous system disease pathophysiology through several emerging paradigms - mutations and genetic variation in genes encoding epigenetic factors; impairments in epigenetic factor expression, localization, and function; epigenetic mechanisms modulating disease-associated factors and pathways; and the presence of deregulated epigenetic profiles in central and peripheral tissues. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Epigenetic Control of Stem Cell Potential During Homeostasis, Aging, and Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beerman, Isabel; Rossi, Derrick J.

    2015-01-01

    Stem cell decline is an important cellular driver of aging-associated pathophysiology in multiple tissues. Epigenetic regulation is central to establishing and maintaining stem cell function, and emerging evidence indicates that epigenetic dysregulation contributes to the altered potential of stem cells during aging. Unlike terminally differentiated cells, the impact of epigenetic dysregulation in stem cells is propagated beyond self; alterations can be heritably transmitted to differentiated progeny, in addition to being perpetuated and amplified within the stem cell pool through self-renewal divisions. This review focuses on recent studies examining epigenetic regulation of tissue-specific stem cells in homeostasis, aging, and aging-related disease. PMID:26046761

  1. Epigenetic codes programming class switch recombination

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bharat eVaidyanathan

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Class switch recombination imparts B cells with a fitness-associated adaptive advantage during a humoral immune response by using a precision-tailored DNA excision and ligation process to swap the default constant region gene of the antibody with a new one that has unique effector functions. This secondary diversification of the antibody repertoire is a hallmark of the adaptability of B cells when confronted with environmental and pathogenic challenges. Given that the nucleotide sequence of genes during class switching remains unchanged (genetic constraints, it is logical and necessary therefore, to integrate the adaptability of B cells to an epigenetic state, which is dynamic and can be heritably modulated before, after or even during an antibody-dependent immune response. Epigenetic regulation encompasses heritable changes that affect function (phenotype without altering the sequence information embedded in a gene, and include histone, DNA and RNA modifications. Here, we review current literature on how B cells use an epigenetic code language as a means to ensure antibody plasticity in light of pathogenic insults.

  2. Heritability of chronic venous disease

    OpenAIRE

    Fiebig, Andreas; Krusche, Petra; De Wolf, Andreas; Krawczak, Michael; Timm, Birgitt; Nikolaus, Susanna; Frings, Norbert; Schreiber, Stefan

    2010-01-01

    Varicose veins without skin changes have a prevalence of approximately 20% in Northern and Western Europe whereas advanced chronic venous insufficiency affects about 3% of the population. Genetic risk factors are thought to play an important role in the aetiology of both these chronic venous diseases (CVD). We evaluated the relative genetic and environmental impact upon CVD risk by estimating the heritability of the disease in 4,033 nuclear families, comprising 16,434 individuals from all ove...

  3. Heritability of chronic venous disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krusche, Petra; Wolf, Andreas; Krawczak, Michael; Timm, Birgitt; Nikolaus, Susanna; Frings, Norbert; Schreiber, Stefan

    2010-01-01

    Varicose veins without skin changes have a prevalence of approximately 20% in Northern and Western Europe whereas advanced chronic venous insufficiency affects about 3% of the population. Genetic risk factors are thought to play an important role in the aetiology of both these chronic venous diseases (CVD). We evaluated the relative genetic and environmental impact upon CVD risk by estimating the heritability of the disease in 4,033 nuclear families, comprising 16,434 individuals from all over Germany. Upon clinical examination, patients were classified according to the CEAP guidelines as either C2 (simple varicose veins), C3 (oedema), C4 (skin changes without ulceration), C5 (healed ulceration), or C6 (active ulcers). The narrow-sense heritability (h2) of CVD equals 17.3% (standard error 2.5%, likelihood ratio test P = 1.4 × 10−13). The proportion of disease risk attributable to age (at ascertainment) and sex, the two main risk factors for CVD, was estimated as 10.7% (Kullback–Leibler deviance R2). The heritability of CVD is high, thereby suggesting a notable genetic component in the aetiology of the disease. Systematic population-based searches for CVD susceptibility genes are therefore warranted. PMID:20354728

  4. Heritable alteration of DNA methylation induced by whole-chromosome aneuploidy in wheat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Lihong; Diarso, Moussa; Zhang, Ai; Zhang, Huakun; Dong, Yuzhu; Liu, Lixia; Lv, Zhenling; Liu, Bao

    2016-01-01

    Aneuploidy causes changes in gene expression and phenotypes in all organisms studied. A previous study in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana showed that aneuploidy-generated phenotypic changes can be inherited to euploid progenies and implicated an epigenetic underpinning of the heritable variations. Based on an analysis by amplified fragment length polymorphism and methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism markers, we found that although genetic changes at the nucleotide sequence level were negligible, extensive changes in cytosine DNA methylation patterns occurred in all studied homeologous group 1 whole-chromosome aneuploid lines of common wheat (Triticum aestivum), with monosomic 1A showing the greatest amount of methylation changes. The changed methylation patterns were inherited by euploid progenies derived from the aneuploid parents. The aneuploidy-induced DNA methylation alterations and their heritability were verified at selected loci by bisulfite sequencing. Our data have provided empirical evidence supporting earlier suggestions that heritability of aneuploidy-generated, but aneuploidy-independent, phenotypic variations may have an epigenetic basis. That at least one type of aneuploidy - monosomic 1A - was able to cause significant epigenetic divergence of the aneuploid plants and their euploid progenies also lends support to recent suggestions that aneuploidy may have played an important and protracted role in polyploid genome evolution. © 2015 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.

  5. Stress-induced DNA methylation changes and their heritability in asexual dandelions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verhoeven, Koen J F; Jansen, Jeroen J; van Dijk, Peter J; Biere, Arjen

    2010-03-01

    *DNA methylation can cause heritable phenotypic modifications in the absence of changes in DNA sequence. Environmental stresses can trigger methylation changes and this may have evolutionary consequences, even in the absence of sequence variation. However, it remains largely unknown to what extent environmentally induced methylation changes are transmitted to offspring, and whether observed methylation variation is truly independent or a downstream consequence of genetic variation between individuals. *Genetically identical apomictic dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) plants were exposed to different ecological stresses, and apomictic offspring were raised in a common unstressed environment. We used methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism markers to screen genome-wide methylation alterations triggered by stress treatments and to assess the heritability of induced changes. *Various stresses, most notably chemical induction of herbivore and pathogen defenses, triggered considerable methylation variation throughout the genome. Many modifications were faithfully transmitted to offspring. Stresses caused some epigenetic divergence between treatment and controls, but also increased epigenetic variation among plants within treatments. *These results show the following. First, stress-induced methylation changes are common and are mostly heritable. Second, sequence-independent, autonomous methylation variation is readily generated. This highlights the potential of epigenetic inheritance to play an independent role in evolutionary processes, which is superimposed on the system of genetic inheritance.

  6. 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

  7. Epigenetic changes in myelofibrosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

    This is the first study to compare genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of sorted blood cells from myelofibrosis (MF) patients and healthy controls. We found that differentially methylated CpG sites located to genes involved in 'cancer' and 'embryonic development' in MF CD34+ cells, in 'inflammat......This is the first study to compare genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of sorted blood cells from myelofibrosis (MF) patients and healthy controls. We found that differentially methylated CpG sites located to genes involved in 'cancer' and 'embryonic development' in MF CD34+ cells......, 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...

  8. Molecular Pathways: At the Crossroads of Cancer Epigenetics and Immunotherapy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maio, Michele; Covre, Alessia; Fratta, Elisabetta; Di Giacomo, Anna Maria; Taverna, Pietro; Natali, Pier Giorgio; Coral, Sandra; Sigalotti, Luca

    2015-09-15

    Epigenetic regulation allows heritably modulating gene expression profiles without modifying the primary sequence of gDNA. Under physiologic conditions, epigenetic patterns determine tissue-specific gene expression landscapes, gene imprinting, inactivation of chromosome X, and preservation of genomic stability. The most characterized mediators of epigenetic inheritance are gDNA methylation and histone posttranslational modifications that cooperate to alter chromatin state and genome transcription. According to these notions, it is not surprising that cancer cells invariantly deploy epigenetic alterations to achieve gene expression patterns required for neoplastic transformation and tumor progression. In this context, the recently uncovered use of epigenetic alterations by cancer cells to become stealth from the host's immune recognition has significant immunobiologic relevance in tumor progression, and it appears to have potential clinical usefulness. Indeed, immune evasion is among the major obstacles to further improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies and to increase long-lasting disease control. Luckily, different "epigenetic drugs" able to revert these "epimutations" are available, some of which have already been approved for clinical use. Here, we summarize the immunomodulatory activities of epigenetic drugs that lead to improved immune recognition of cancer cells and focus on the potential of this class of agents in improving the anticancer activity of novel immunotherapies through combinatorial epigenetic immunotherapy approaches. ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.

  9. Understanding epigenetic architecture of suicide neurobiology: A critical perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, Bhaskar; Dwivedi, Yogesh

    2017-01-01

    Current understanding of environmental cross-talk with genetic makeup is found to be mediated through an epigenetic interface which is associated with prominent reversible and heritable changes at gene expression level. Recent emergence of epigenetic modulation in shaping the genetic information has become a key regulatory factor in answering the underlying complexities associated with several mental disorders. A comprehensive understanding of the pertinent changes in the epigenetic makeup of suicide phenotype exhibits a characteristic signature with the possibility of using it as a biomarker to help predict the risk factors associated with suicide. Within the scope of this current review, the most sought after epigenetic changes of DNA methylation and histone modification are thoroughly scrutinized to understand their close functional association with the broad spectrum of suicide phenotype. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Role of epigenetic modifications in luminal breast cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdel-Hafiz, Hany A; Horwitz, Kathryn B

    2015-08-01

    Luminal breast cancers represent approximately 75% of cases. Explanations into the causes of endocrine resistance are complex and are generally ascribed to genomic mechanisms. Recently, attention has been drawn to the role of epigenetic modifications in hormone resistance. We review these here. Epigenetic modifications are reversible, heritable and include changes in DNA methylation patterns, modification of histones and altered microRNA expression levels that target the receptors or their signaling pathways. Large-scale analyses indicate distinct epigenomic profiles that distinguish breast cancers from normal and benign tissues. Taking advantage of the reversibility of epigenetic modifications, drugs that target epigenetic modifiers, given in combination with chemotherapies or endocrine therapies, may represent promising approaches to restoration of therapy responsiveness in these cases.

  11. Role of epigenetic modifications in luminal breast cancer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdel-Hafiz, Hany A; Horwitz, Kathryn B

    2015-01-01

    Luminal breast cancers represent approximately 75% of cases. Explanations into the causes of endocrine resistance are complex and are generally ascribed to genomic mechanisms. Recently, attention has been drawn to the role of epigenetic modifications in hormone resistance. We review these here. Epigenetic modifications are reversible, heritable and include changes in DNA methylation patterns, modification of histones and altered microRNA expression levels that target the receptors or their signaling pathways. Large-scale analyses indicate distinct epigenomic profiles that distinguish breast cancers from normal and benign tissues. Taking advantage of the reversibility of epigenetic modifications, drugs that target epigenetic modifiers, given in combination with chemotherapies or endocrine therapies, may represent promising approaches to restoration of therapy responsiveness in these cases. PMID:25689414

  12. 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

  13. Carcinogen-specific mutational and epigenetic alterations in INK4A, INK4B and p53 tumour-suppressor genes drive induced senescence bypass in normal diploid mammalian cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasaei, H; Gilham, E; Pickles, J C; Roberts, T P; O'Donovan, M; Newbold, R F

    2013-01-10

    Immortalization (senescence bypass) is a critical rate-limiting step in the malignant transformation of mammalian somatic cells. Human cells must breach at least two distinct senescence barriers to permit unfettered clonal evolution during cancer development: (1) stress- or oncogene-induced premature senescence (SIPS/OIS), mediated via the p16-Rb and/or ARF-p53-p21 tumour-suppressive pathways, and (2) replicative senescence triggered by telomere shortening. In contrast, because their telomerase is constitutively active, cells from small rodents possess only the SIPS/OIS barrier, and are therefore useful for studying SIPS/OIS bypass in isolation. Dermal fibroblasts from the Syrian hamster (SHD cells) are exceptionally resistant to spontaneous SIPS bypass, but it can be readily induced following exposure to a wide range of chemical and physical carcinogens. Here we show that a spectrum of carcinogen-specific mutational and epigenetic alterations involving the INK4A (p16), p53 and INK4B (p15) genes are associated with induced SIPS bypass. With ionizing radiation, immortalization is invariably accompanied by efficient biallelic deletion of the complete INK4/CDKN2 locus. In comparison, SHD cells immortalized by the powerful polycyclic hydrocarbon carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene display transversion point mutations in the DNA-binding domain of p53 coupled with INK4 alterations such as loss of expression of p15. Epimutational silencing of p16 is the primary event associated with immortalization by nickel, a human non-genotoxic carcinogen. As SIPS/OIS bypass is a prerequisite for the immortalization of normal diploid human epithelial cells, our results with the SHD model will provide a basis for delineating combinations of key molecular changes underpinning this important event in human carcinogenesis.

  14. The heritability of blood donation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Ole Birger; Axel, Skytthe; Rostgaard, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Voluntary blood donation is believed to be mostly motivated by altruism. Because studies have suggested that altruistic personality is determined by both genetic and environmental factors, we speculated that willingness to donate blood could also be governed by constitutional factors...... active Danish blood donors from 2002 to 2012, to establish blood donor status for Danish twins, who at age 17 years became eligible for donation in 2002 or later. Casewise concordance in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins were presented and heritability was estimated in Mx by variance component...... to donate blood, respectively. CONCLUSION: Becoming a volunteer blood donor is determined by both genetic and environmental factors shared within families....

  15. A mutation in the SUV39H2 gene in Labrador Retrievers with hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK provides insights into the epigenetics of keratinocyte differentiation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vidhya Jagannathan

    Full Text Available Hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK, an inherited monogenic autosomal recessive skin disorder, leads to crusts and fissures on the nasal planum of Labrador Retrievers. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS using 13 HNPK cases and 23 controls. We obtained a single strong association signal on chromosome 2 (p(raw = 4.4×10⁻¹⁴. The analysis of shared haplotypes among the 13 cases defined a critical interval of 1.6 Mb with 25 predicted genes. We re-sequenced the genome of one case at 38× coverage and detected 3 non-synonymous variants in the critical interval with respect to the reference genome assembly. We genotyped these variants in larger cohorts of dogs and only one was perfectly associated with the HNPK phenotype in a cohort of more than 500 dogs. This candidate causative variant is a missense variant in the SUV39H2 gene encoding a histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9 methyltransferase, which mediates chromatin silencing. The variant c.972T>G is predicted to change an evolutionary conserved asparagine into a lysine in the catalytically active domain of the enzyme (p.N324K. We further studied the histopathological alterations in the epidermis in vivo. Our data suggest that the HNPK phenotype is not caused by hyperproliferation, but rather delayed terminal differentiation of keratinocytes. Thus, our data provide evidence that SUV39H2 is involved in the epigenetic regulation of keratinocyte differentiation ensuring proper stratification and tight sealing of the mammalian epidermis.

  16. DNA methylation, heterochromatin and epigenetic carcinogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, C B; Costa, M

    1997-04-01

    This paper will explore emerging concepts related to alternative carcinogenic mechanisms of 'non-mutagenic,' and hence epigenetic, carcinogens that may heritably alter DNA methylation without changing the underlying DNA sequence. In this review, we will touch on the basic concepts of DNA methylation, and will elaborate in greater detail on related topics including chromatin condensation, and heterochromatin spreading that is well known to induce gene silencing by position effect variegation in Drosophila and other species. Data from our model transgenic G12 cell system will be presented to support our hypothesis that certain carcinogens, such as nickel, may be carcinogenic not primarily because of their overt mutability, but rather as the result of their ability to promote DNA hypermethylation of important cancer-related genes. We will conclude with a discussion of the broader relevance of our findings and its application to other so-called 'epigenetic' carcinogens.

  17. Genetic and epigenetic regulation of intestinal fibrosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Chao; Kuemmerle, John F

    2016-08-01

    Crohn's disease affects those individuals with polygenic risk factors. The identified risk loci indicate that the genetic architecture of Crohn's disease involves both innate and adaptive immunity and the response to the intestinal environment including the microbiome. Genetic risk alone, however, predicts only 25% of disease, indicating that other factors, including the intestinal environment, can shape the epigenome and also confer heritable risk to patients. Patients with Crohn's disease can have purely inflammatory disease, penetrating disease or fibrostenosis. Analysis of the genetic risk combined with epigenetic marks of Crohn's disease and other disease associated with organ fibrosis reveals common events are affecting the genes and pathways key to development of fibrosis. This review will focus on what is known about the mechanisms by which genetic and epigenetic risk factors determine development of fibrosis in Crohn's disease and contrast that with other fibrotic conditions.

  18. [Application of Epigenetics in Perinatal Nursing Care].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chou, Hsueh-Fen; Kao, Chien-Huei; Gau, Meei-Ling

    2017-04-01

    Epigenetics is a field of biomedicine that expanded tremendously during the 1980s. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression independent of underlying DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) sequence, which not only affect this generation but will be passed to subsequent generations. Although conception is the critical moment for making decisions regarding gene mapping and fetal health, studies have shown that perinatal nursing care practices also affect the genetic remodeling processes and the subsequent health of the mother and her offspring. To optimize maternal-infant and the offspring health, it is important to ensure that the new mother get adequate nutrition, reduce stress levels, adopt gentle birth practices, facilitate exclusive breastfeeding, and avoid contacting toxic substances.

  19. Mechanisms of Epigenetic Regulation of Leukemia Onset and Progression

    OpenAIRE

    Ntziachristos, Panagiotis; Mullenders, Jasper; Trimarchi, Thomas; Aifantis, Iannis

    2013-01-01

    Over the past decade, it has become clear that both genetics and epigenetics play pivotal roles in cancer onset and progression. The importance of epigenetic regulation in proper maintenance of cellular state is highlighted by the frequent mutation of chromatin modulating factors across cancer subtypes. Identification of these mutations has created an interest in designing drugs that target enzymes involved in DNA methylation and posttranslational modification of histones. In this review, we ...

  20. Targeting deregulated epigenetic control in cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaidi, Sayyed K; Van Wijnen, Andre J; Lian, Jane B; Stein, Janet L; Stein, Gary S

    2013-11-01

    Cancer is a multifaceted disease that involves acquisition of genetic mutations, deletions, and amplifications as well as deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms that fine-tune gene regulation. Key epigenetic mechanisms that include histone modifications, DNA methylation, and non-coding RNA-mediated gene silencing are often deregulated in a variety of cancers. Subnuclear localization of key proteins in the interphase nucleus and bookmarking of genes by lineage commitment factors in mitosis-a new dimension to epigenetic control of fundamental biological processes-is also modified in cancer. In this review, we discuss the various aspects of epigenetic control that are operative in a variety of cancers and their potential for risk assessment, early detection, targeted therapy, and personalized medicine. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  1. Understanding Neurological Disease Mechanisms in the Era of Epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qureshi, Irfan A.; Mehler, Mark F.

    2015-01-01

    The burgeoning field of epigenetics is making a significant impact on our understanding of brain evolution, development, and function. In fact, it is now clear that epigenetic mechanisms promote seminal neurobiological processes, ranging from neural stem cell maintenance and differentiation to learning and memory. At the molecular level, epigenetic mechanisms regulate the structure and activity of the genome in response to intracellular and environmental cues, including the deployment of cell type–specific gene networks and those underlying synaptic plasticity. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of epigenetic factors can, in turn, induce remarkable changes in neural cell identity and cognitive and behavioral phenotypes. Not surprisingly, it is also becoming apparent that epigenetics is intimately involved in neurological disease pathogenesis. Herein, we highlight emerging paradigms for linking epigenetic machinery and processes with neurological disease states, including how (1) mutations in genes encoding epigenetic factors cause disease, (2) genetic variation in genes encoding epigenetic factors modify disease risk, (3) abnormalities in epigenetic factor expression, localization, or function are involved in disease pathophysiology, (4) epigenetic mechanisms regulate disease-associated genomic loci, gene products, and cellular pathways, and (5) differential epigenetic profiles are present in patient-derived central and peripheral tissues. PMID:23571666

  2. Cell cycle and epigenetic changes of plant DNA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shevchenko G. V.

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Plants can apply various strategies to minimize environmental impact. One of the strategies is heritable modifications of gene expression which occur without changing original DNA sequence and are known as epigenetic. Signaling pathway Rb-E2F (retinoblastoma (Rb-transcription factor E2F/DP connects the cell cycle with factors, modifying structure of chromatin and DNA. It also coordinates cell proliferation and differentiation influenced by external stimuli. The article highlights the activity of Rb-E2F/DP signaling pathway and its connection with the epigenetic changes of DNA in plants.

  3. Analysis of epigenetic modifications of DNA in human cells

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kristensen, Lasse Sommer; Treppendahl, Marianne Bach; Grønbæk, Kirsten

    2013-01-01

    Epigenetics, the study of somatically heritable changes in gene expression not related to changes in the DNA sequence, is a rapidly expanding research field that plays important roles in healthy as well as in diseased cells. DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation are epigenetic modifications found...... in human cells, which are deeply implicated in normal cellular processes as well as in several major human diseases. Here, a range of different methods for the analyses of DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation at locus-specific and genome-wide scales is described....

  4. Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Grandon, G Mandela; Gezan, Salvador A; Armour, John A L; Pickett, John A; Logan, James G

    2015-01-01

    Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals produced by the human body and detected by mosquitoes. Body odour can be controlled genetically but the existence of a genetic basis for differential attraction to insects has never been formally demonstrated. This study investigated heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes by evaluating the response of Aedes aegypti (=Stegomyia aegypti) mosquitoes to odours from the hands of identical and non-identical twins in a dual-choice assay. Volatiles from individuals in an identical twin pair showed a high correlation in attractiveness to mosquitoes, while non-identical twin pairs showed a significantly lower correlation. Overall, there was a strong narrow-sense heritability of 0.62 (SE 0.124) for relative attraction and 0.67 (0.354) for flight activity based on the average of ten measurements. The results demonstrate an underlying genetic component detectable by mosquitoes through olfaction. Understanding the genetic basis for attractiveness could create a more informed approach to repellent development.

  5. Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G Mandela Fernández-Grandon

    Full Text Available Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals produced by the human body and detected by mosquitoes. Body odour can be controlled genetically but the existence of a genetic basis for differential attraction to insects has never been formally demonstrated. This study investigated heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes by evaluating the response of Aedes aegypti (=Stegomyia aegypti mosquitoes to odours from the hands of identical and non-identical twins in a dual-choice assay. Volatiles from individuals in an identical twin pair showed a high correlation in attractiveness to mosquitoes, while non-identical twin pairs showed a significantly lower correlation. Overall, there was a strong narrow-sense heritability of 0.62 (SE 0.124 for relative attraction and 0.67 (0.354 for flight activity based on the average of ten measurements. The results demonstrate an underlying genetic component detectable by mosquitoes through olfaction. Understanding the genetic basis for attractiveness could create a more informed approach to repellent development.

  6. Epigenetic aberrations in myeloid malignancies (Review).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, Shinichiro

    2013-09-01

    The development of novel technologies, such as massively parallel DNA sequencing, has led to the identification of several novel recurrent gene mutations, such as DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt)3a, ten-eleven-translocation oncogene family member 2 (TET2), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1/2, additional sex comb-like 1 (ASXL1), enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) and ubiquitously transcribed tetratricopeptide repeat X chromosome (UTX) mutations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other myeloid malignancies. These findings strongly suggest a link between recurrent genetic alterations and aberrant epigenetic regulations, resulting from an abnormal DNA methylation and histone modification status. This review focuses on the current findings of aberrant epigenetic signatures by these newly described genetic alterations. Moreover, epigenetic aberrations resulting from transcription factor aberrations, such as mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) rearrangement, ecotropic viral integration site 1 (Evi1) overexpression, chromosomal translocations and the downregulation of PU.1 are also described.

  7. Targeting histone modifications--epigenetics in cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waldmann, Tanja; Schneider, Robert

    2013-04-01

    Cancer is one of the most common human diseases. It is long known that mutations in key regulator genes are hallmarks of all cancer types. Apart from these classical genetic pathways there is more and more evidence that also epigenetic alterations are crucially involved in tumourigenesis. In this review we discuss and summarise recent findings of mechanisms responsible for cancer formation apart from the classic genetic mutations. Furthermore, we show how epigenetic and genetic mechanisms could depend on each other and contribute together to cancer formation. We focus mainly on post-translational histone modifications since they are one of the major epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression and when they are imbalanced this can result in cancer. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Dark matter: are mice the solution to missing heritability?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clarissa Carlin Parker

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Genome-wide association studies (GWAS in humans have identified hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with complex traits, yet for most traits studied, the sum total of all these identified variants fail to explain a significant portion of the heritable variation. Reasons for this missing heritability are thought to include the existence of rare causative variants not captured by current genotyping arrays, structural variants that go undetected by existing technology, insufficient power to identify multi-gene interactions, small sample sizes, and the influence of environmental and epigenetic effects. As genotyping technologies have evolved it has become inexpensive and relatively straightforward to perform GWAS in mice. Mice offer a powerful tool for elucidating the genetic architecture of behavioral and physiological traits, and are complementary to human studies. Unlike F2 crosses of inbred strains, advanced intercross lines, heterogeneous stocks, outbred, and wild-caught mice have more rapid breakdown of linkage disequilibrium which allow for increasingly high resolution mapping. Because some of these populations are created using a small number of founder chromosomes they are not expected to harbor rare alleles. We discuss the differences between these mouse populations and examine their potential to overcome some of the pitfalls that have plagued human GWAS studies.

  9. From linkage studies to epigenetics: what we know and what we need to know in the neurobiology of schizophrenia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariel eCariaga-Martinez

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder characterized by the presence of positive, negative and cognitive symptoms that lacks a unifying neuropathology. In the present paper, we will review the current understanding of molecular dysregulation in schizophrenia, including genetic and epigenetic studies. In relation to the latter, basic research suggests that normal cognition is regulated by epigenetic mechanisms and its dysfunction occurs upon epigenetic misregulation, providing new insights into missing heritability of complex psychiatric diseases, referring to the discrepancy between epidemiological heritability and the proportion of phenotypic variation explained by DNA sequence difference. In schizophrenia the absence of consistently replicated genetic effects together with evidence for lasting changes in gene expression after environmental exposures suggest a role of epigenetic mechanisms. In this review we will focus on epigenetic modifications as a key mechanism through which environmental factors interact with individual's genetic constitution to affect risk of psychotic conditions throughout life.

  10. The ben1-1 brassinosteroid-catabolism mutation is unstable due to epigenetic modifications of the intronic T-DNA insertion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandhu, Kulbir Singh; Koirala, Pushpa Sharma; Neff, Michael M

    2013-09-04

    Loss-of-function genetic analysis plays a pivotal role in elucidating individual gene function as well as interactions among gene networks. The ease of gene tagging and cloning provided by transfer DNA (T-DNA) insertion mutants have led to their heavy use by the Arabidopsis research community. However, certain aspects of T-DNA alleles require caution, as highlighted in this study of an intronic insertion mutant (ben1-1) in the BEN1 (BRI1-5 ENHANCED 1) gene. As a part of our analysis of brassinosteroid catabolic enzymes, we generated a genetic triple-mutant from a cross between the bas1-2 sob7-1 double-null (T-DNA exonic insertion mutants of phyB-4 ACTIVATION TAGGED SUPPRESSOR 1 and SUPPRESSOR OF phyB-4 7) and ben1-1. As previously described, the single ben1-1 line behaves as a transcript null. However, in the triple-mutant background ben1-1 was reverted to a partial loss-of-function allele showing enhanced levels of the wild-type-spliced transcript. Interestingly, the enhanced expression of BEN1 remained stable when the ben1-1 single-mutant was reisolated from a cross with the wild type. In addition, the two genetically identical pretriple and posttriple ben1-1 mutants also differed phenotypically. The previously functional NPTII (NEOMYCIN PHOSPHOTRANSFERASE II) T-DNA marker gene (which encodes kanamycin resistance) was no longer functional in the recovered ben1-1 allele, though the length of the T-DNA insertion and the NPTII gene sequence did not change in the pretriple and posttriple ben1-1 mutants. Methylation analysis using both restriction endonuclease activity and bisulfite conversion followed by sequencing showed that the methylation status of the T-DNA is different between the original and the recovered ben1-1. These observations demonstrate that the recovered ben1-1 mutant is epigenetically different from the original ben1-1 allele.

  11. The epigenetic footprint of poleward range-expanding plants in apomictic dandelions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Preite, V; Snoek, L B; Oplaat, C; Biere, A; van der Putten, W H; Verhoeven, K J F

    2015-09-01

    Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation variation, can generate heritable phenotypic variation independent of the underlying genetic code. However, epigenetic variation in natural plant populations is poorly documented and little understood. Here, we test whether northward range expansion of obligate apomicts of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is associated with DNA methylation variation. We characterized and compared patterns of genetic and DNA methylation variation in greenhouse-reared offspring of T. officinale that were collected along a latitudinal transect of northward range expansion in Europe. Genetic AFLP and epigenetic MS-AFLP markers revealed high levels of local diversity and modest but significant heritable differentiation between sampling locations and between the southern, central and northern regions of the transect. Patterns of genetic and epigenetic variation were significantly correlated, reflecting the genetic control over epigenetic variation and/or the accumulation of lineage-specific spontaneous epimutations, which may be selectively neutral. In addition, we identified a small component of DNA methylation differentiation along the transect that is independent of genetic variation. This epigenetic differentiation might reflect environment-specific induction or, in case the DNA methylation variation affects relevant traits and fitness, selection of heritable DNA methylation variants. Such generated epigenetic variants might contribute to the adaptive capacity of individual asexual lineages under changing environments. Our results highlight the potential of heritable DNA methylation variation to contribute to population differentiation along ecological gradients. Further studies are needed using higher resolution methods to understand the functional significance of such natural occurring epigenetic differentiation. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. Transcriptome analysis of an apple (Malus × domestica) yellow fruit somatic mutation identifies a gene network module highly associated with anthocyanin and epigenetic regulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Sharkawy, Islam; Liang, Dong; Xu, Kenong

    2015-12-01

    Using RNA-seq, this study analysed an apple (Malus×domestica) anthocyanin-deficient yellow-skin somatic mutant 'Blondee' (BLO) and its red-skin parent 'Kidd's D-8' (KID), the original name of 'Gala', to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the mutation. A total of 3299 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between BLO and KID at four developmental stages and/or between two adjacent stages within BLO and/or KID. A weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) of the DEGs uncovered a network module of 34 genes highly correlated (r=0.95, P=9.0×10(-13)) with anthocyanin contents. Although 12 of the 34 genes in the WGCNA module were characterized and known of roles in anthocyanin, the remainder 22 appear to be novel. Examining the expression of ten representative genes in the module in 14 diverse apples revealed that at least eight were significantly correlated with anthocyanin variation. MdMYB10 (MDP0000259614) and MdGST (MDP0000252292) were among the most suppressed module member genes in BLO despite being undistinguishable in their corresponding sequences between BLO and KID. Methylation assay of MdMYB10 and MdGST in fruit skin revealed that two regions (MR3 and MR7) in the MdMYB10 promoter exhibited remarkable differences between BLO and KID. In particular, methylation was high and progressively increased alongside fruit development in BLO while was correspondingly low and constant in KID. The methylation levels in both MR3 and MR7 were negatively correlated with anthocyanin content as well as the expression of MdMYB10 and MdGST. Clearly, the collective repression of the 34 genes explains the loss-of-colour in BLO while the methylation in MdMYB10 promoter is likely causal for the mutation. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.

  13. Genetics and epigenetics of liver cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ozen, Cigdem; Yildiz, Gokhan; Dagcan, Alper Tunga; Cevik, Dilek; Ors, Aysegul; Keles, Umur; Topel, Hande; Ozturk, Mehmet

    2013-05-25

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a major form of primary liver cancer in adults. Chronic infections with hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) viruses and alcohol abuse are the major factors leading to HCC. This deadly cancer affects more than 500,000 people worldwide and it is quite resistant to conventional chemo- and radiotherapy. Genetic and epigenetic studies on HCC may help to understand better its mechanisms and provide new tools for early diagnosis and therapy. Recent literature on whole genome analysis of HCC indicated a high number of mutated genes in addition to well-known genes such as TP53, CTNNB1, AXIN1 and CDKN2A, but their frequencies are much lower. Apart from CTNNB1 mutations, most of the other mutations appear to result in loss-of-function. Thus, HCC-associated mutations cannot be easily targeted for therapy. Epigenetic aberrations that appear to occur quite frequently may serve as new targets. Global DNA hypomethylation, promoter methylation, aberrant expression of non-coding RNAs and dysregulated expression of other epigenetic regulatory genes such as EZH2 are the best-known epigenetic abnormalities. Future research in this direction may help to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for HCC. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Lessons on the pathogenesis of aneurysm from heritable conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindsay, Mark E.; Dietz, Harry C.

    2013-01-01

    Aortic aneurysm is common, accounting for 1–2% of all deaths in industrialized countries. Early theories of the causes of human aneurysm mostly focused on inherited or acquired defects in components of the extracellular matrix in the aorta. Although several mutations in the genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins have been recognized, more recent discoveries have shown important perturbations in cytokine signalling cascades and intracellular components of the smooth muscle contractile apparatus. The modelling of single-gene heritable aneurysm disorders in mice has shown unexpected involvement of the transforming growth factor-β cytokine pathway in aortic aneurysm, highlighting the potential for new therapeutic strategies. PMID:21593863

  15. Epigenetics: a new link between nutrition and cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Supic, Gordana; Jagodic, Maja; Magic, Zvonko

    2013-01-01

    Emerging studies suggest that dietary components can affect gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic modifications are heritable and potentially reversible changes in gene expression that do not require changes in the DNA sequence. The main mechanisms of epigenetic control in mammals are DNA methylation, histone modifications, and RNA silencing. The potential reversibility of epigenetic changes suggests that they could be modulated by nutrition and bioactive food compounds. Thus, epigenetic modifications could mediate environmental signals and provide a link between susceptibility genes and environmental factors in the etiology of cancer. Elucidating the impact of nutrition on epigenetic mechanisms may serve as a tool to predict an individuals' susceptibility to cancer, provide dietary recommendations, or provide therapeutic applications of natural compounds against cancer. The optimal duration and the dose necessary for a chemopreventive effect require further studies. There is limited information about tissue specificity and temporal aspects of dietary treatments. Species differences need to be considered when interpreting results from various models. Importantly, molecular mechanisms of bioactive dietary components should be investigated in greater detail in human intervention studies. Although some of these issues remain controversial, this review mainly focuses on promising data that support the developing field of Nutritional Epigenetics.

  16. Epigenetics and Plant Evolution

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ryan A. Rapp; Jonathan F. Wendel

    2005-01-01

    .... Here, we provide an introduction to epigenetic mechanisms in plants, and highlight some of the empirical studies illustrative of the possible connections between evolution and epigenetically mediated alterations in gene expression and morphology.

  17. Epigenetic inheritance in ciliates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nowacki, Mariusz; Landweber, Laura F

    2009-12-01

    2009 marks not only the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth but also publication of the first scientific evolutionary theory, Lamarck's Philosophie Zoologique. While Lamarck embraced the notion of the inheritance of acquired characters, he did not invent it (Burkhardt, 1984). New phenomena discovered recently offer molecular pathways for the transmission of several acquired characters. Ciliates have long provided model systems to study phenomena that bypass traditional modes of inheritance. RNA, normally thought of as a conduit in gene expression, displays a novel mode of action in ciliated protozoa. For example, maternal RNA templates provide both an organizing guide for DNA rearrangements in Oxytricha and a template that can transmit spontaneous mutations that may arise during somatic growth to the next generation, providing two such mechanisms of so-called Lamarckian inheritance. This suggests that the somatic ciliate genome is really an 'epigenome', formed through templates and signals arising from the previous generation. This review will discuss these new biological roles for RNA, including non-coding 'template' RNA molecules. The evolutionary consequences of viable mechanisms in ciliates to transmit acquired characters may create an additional store of heritable variation that contributes to the cosmopolitan success of this diverse lineage of microbial eukaryotes.

  18. variation, correlation and heritability of interest characters

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ACSS

    2016-05-17

    May 17, 2016 ... The objective of this study was to determine genetic variability, strength of association and level of heritability among agronomic interest traits. Phenotypic and genotypic variations and heritability of 14 traits were estimated in 61 accessions at Institut de Développement Rural (IDR), Gampela in Burkina Faso ...

  19. Heritability estimates derived from threshold analyses for ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Heritability estimates derived from threshold analyses for reproduction and stayability traits in a beef cattle herd. ... South African Journal of Animal Science ... The object of this study was to estimate heritabilities and sire breeding values for stayability and reproductive traits in a composite multibreed beef cattle herd using a ...

  20. Heritability estimates derived from threshold analyses for ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Unknown

    Abstract. The object of this study was to estimate heritabilities and sire breeding values for stayability and reproductive traits in a composite multibreed beef cattle herd using a threshold model. A GFCAT set of programmes was used to analyse reproductive data. Heritabilities and product-moment correlations between.

  1. 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.

  2. The heritability of leucocyte telomere length dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hjelmborg, Jacob B; Dalgård, Christine; Möller, Sören

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Leucocyte telomere length (LTL) is a complex trait associated with ageing and longevity. LTL dynamics are defined by LTL and its age-dependent attrition. Strong, but indirect evidence suggests that LTL at birth and its attrition during childhood largely explains interindividual LTL...... variation among adults. A number of studies have estimated the heritability of LTL, but none has assessed the heritability of age-dependent LTL attrition. METHODS: We examined the heritability of LTL dynamics based on a longitudinal evaluation (an average follow-up of 12 years) in 355 monozygotic and 297...... dizygotic same-sex twins (aged 19-64 years at baseline). RESULTS: Heritability of LTL at baseline was estimated at 64% (95% CI 39% to 83%) with 22% (95% CI 6% to 49%) of shared environmental effects. Heritability of age-dependent LTL attrition rate was estimated at 28% (95% CI 16% to 44%). Individually...

  3. Heritability of Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis in Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racehorses Derived From SNP Genotyping Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norton, Elaine M.; Mickelson, James R.; Binns, Matthew M.; Blott, Sarah C.; Caputo, Paul; Isgren, Cajsa M.; McCoy, Annette M.; Moore, Alison; Piercy, Richard J.; Swinburne, June E.; Vaudin, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses is characterized by episodes of muscle rigidity and cell damage that often recur upon strenuous exercise. The objective was to evaluate the importance of genetic factors in RER by obtaining an unbiased estimate of heritability in cohorts of unrelated Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses. Four hundred ninety-one Thoroughbred and 196 Standardbred racehorses were genotyped with the 54K or 74K SNP genotyping arrays. Heritability was calculated from genome-wide SNP data with a mixed linear and Bayesian model, utilizing the standard genetic relationship matrix (GRM). Both the mixed linear and Bayesian models estimated heritability of RER in Thoroughbreds to be approximately 0.34 and in Standardbred racehorses to be approximately 0.45 after adjusting for disease prevalence and sex. To account for potential differences in the genetic architecture of the underlying causal variants, heritability estimates were adjusted based on linkage disequilibrium weighted kinship matrix, minor allele frequency and variant effect size, yielding heritability estimates that ranged between 0.41–0.46 (Thoroughbreds) and 0.39–0.49 (Standardbreds). In conclusion, between 34–46% and 39–49% of the variance in RER susceptibility in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses, respectively, can be explained by the SNPs present on these 2 genotyping arrays, indicating that RER is moderately heritable. These data provide further rationale for the investigation of genetic mutations associated with RER susceptibility. PMID:27489252

  4. Epigenetic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Perspectives for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kunio Miyake

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available The number of children with mild neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, has been recently increasing in advanced countries. This increase is probably caused by environmental factors rather than genetic factors, because it is unlikely that genetic mutation rates suddenly increased within a short period. Epigenetics is a mechanism that regulates gene expression, depending not on the underlying DNA sequence but on the chemical modifications of DNA and histone proteins. Because mental stress can alter the epigenetic status in neuronal cells, environmental factors may alter brain function through epigenetic changes. However, one advantage of epigenetic changes is their reversibility. Therefore, diseases due to abnormal epigenetic regulation are theoretically treatable. In fact, several drugs for treating mental diseases are known to have restoring effects on aberrant epigenetic statuses, and a novel therapeutic strategy targeting gene has been developed. In this review, we discuss epigenetic mechanisms of congenital and acquired neurodevelopmental disorders, drugs with epigenetic effects, novel therapeutic strategies for epigenetic diseases, and future perspectives in epigenetic medicine.

  5. DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) mutations in ICF syndrome lead to altered epigenetic modifications and aberrant expression of genes regulating development, neurogenesis and immune function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Bilian; Tao, Qian; Peng, Jinrong; Soo, Hui Meng; Wu, Wei; Ying, Jianming; Fields, C Robert; Delmas, Amber L; Liu, Xuefeng; Qiu, Jingxin; Robertson, Keith D

    2008-03-01

    Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns are established and maintained by the coordinated action of three DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), DNMT1, DNMT3A and DNMT3B. DNMT3B hypomorphic germline mutations are responsible for two-thirds of immunodeficiency, centromere instability, facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome cases, a rare recessive disease characterized by immune defects, instability of pericentromeric satellite 2-containing heterochromatin, facial abnormalities and mental retardation. The molecular defects in transcription, DNA methylation and chromatin structure in ICF cells remain relatively uncharacterized. In the present study, we used global expression profiling to elucidate the role of DNMT3B in these processes using cell lines derived from ICF syndrome and normal individuals. We show that there are significant changes in the expression of genes critical for immune function, development and neurogenesis that are highly relevant to the ICF phenotype. Approximately half the upregulated genes we analyzed were marked with low-level DNA methylation in normal cells that was lost in ICF cells, concomitant with loss of repressive histone modifications, particularly H3K27 trimethylation, and gains in transcriptionally active H3K9 acetylation and H3K4 trimethylation marks. In addition, we consistently observed loss of binding of the SUZ12 component of the PRC2 polycomb repression complex and DNMT3B to derepressed genes, including a number of homeobox genes critical for immune system, brain and craniofacial development. We also observed altered global levels of certain histone modifications in ICF cells, particularly ubiquitinated H2AK119. Therefore, this study provides important new insights into the role of DNMT3B in modulating gene expression and chromatin structure and reveals new connections between DNMT3B and polycomb-mediated repression.

  6. Epigenetic performers in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Ming; Lv, Shaolei; Meng, Yijun

    2010-08-01

    Epigenetic research is at the forefront of plant biology and molecular genetics. Studies on higher plants underscore the significant role played by epigenetics in both plant development and stress response. Relatively recent advances in analytical methodology have allowed for a significant expansion of what is known about genome-wide mapping of DNA methylation and histone modifications. In this review, we explore the different modification patterns in plant epigenetics, and the key factors involved in the epigenetic process, in order to illustrate various putative mechanisms. Experimental technology to exploit these modifications, and proposed focus areas for future plant epigenetic research, are also presented.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Approach to epigenetic analysis in language disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Shelley D

    2011-12-01

    Language and learning disorders such as reading disability and language impairment are recognized to be subject to substantial genetic influences, but few causal mutations have been identified in the coding regions of candidate genes. Association analyses of single nucleotide polymorphisms have suggested the involvement of regulatory regions of these genes, and a few mutations affecting gene expression levels have been identified, indicating that the quantity rather than the quality of the gene product may be most relevant for these disorders. In addition, several of the candidate genes appear to be involved in neuronal migration, confirming the importance of early developmental processes. Accordingly, alterations in epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modification are likely to be important in the causes of language and learning disorders based on their functions in gene regulation. Epigenetic processes direct the differentiation of cells in early development when neurological pathways are set down, and mutations in genes involved in epigenetic regulation are known to cause cognitive disorders in humans. Epigenetic processes also regulate the changes in gene expression in response to learning, and alterations in histone modification are associated with learning and memory deficits in animals. Genetic defects in histone modification have been reversed in animals through therapeutic interventions resulting in rescue of these deficits, making it particularly important to investigate their potential contribution to learning disorders in humans.

  10. Obesity and Bariatric Surgery Drive Epigenetic Variation of Spermatozoa in Humans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Donkin, Ida; Versteyhe, Soetkin; Ingerslev, Lars R.

    2016-01-01

    Obesity is a heritable disorder, with children of obese fathers at higher risk of developing obesity. Environmental factors epigenetically influence somatic tissues, but the contribution of these factors to the establishment of epigenetic patterns in human gametes is unknown. Here, we hypothesized...... and offers insight into how obesity may propagate metabolic dysfunction to the next generation....... that weight loss remodels the epigenetic signature of spermatozoa in human obesity. Comprehensive profiling of the epigenome of sperm from lean and obese men showed similar histone positioning, but small non-coding RNA expression and DNA methylation patterns were markedly different. In a separate cohort...

  11. ALS and FTD: an epigenetic perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belzil, Veronique V; Katzman, Rebecca B; Petrucelli, Leonard

    2016-10-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two fatal neurodegenerative diseases seen in comorbidity in up to 50 % of cases. Despite tremendous efforts over the last two decades, no biomarkers or effective therapeutics have been identified to prevent, decelerate, or stop neuronal death in patients. While the identification of multiple mutations in more than two dozen genes elucidated the involvement of several mechanisms in the pathogenesis of both diseases, identifying the hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72, the most common genetic abnormality in ALS and FTD, opened the door to the discovery of several novel pathogenic biological routes, including chromatin remodeling and transcriptome alteration. Epigenetic processes regulate DNA replication and repair, RNA transcription, and chromatin conformation, which in turn further dictate transcriptional regulation and protein translation. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional epigenetic regulation is mediated by enzymes and chromatin-modifying complexes that control DNA methylation, histone modifications, and RNA editing. While the alteration of DNA methylation and histone modification has recently been reported in ALS and FTD, the assessment of epigenetic involvement in both diseases is still at an early stage, and the involvement of multiple epigenetic players still needs to be evaluated. As the epigenome serves as a way to alter genetic information not only during aging, but also following environmental signals, epigenetic mechanisms might play a central role in initiating ALS and FTD, especially for sporadic cases. Here, we provide a review of what is currently known about altered epigenetic processes in both ALS and FTD and discuss potential therapeutic strategies targeting epigenetic mechanisms. As approximately 85 % of ALS and FTD cases are still genetically unexplained, epigenetic therapeutics explored for other diseases might represent a profitable direction for the

  12. Epigenetic modulators, modifiers and mediators in cancer aetiology and progression

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feinberg, Andrew P.; Koldobskiy, Michael A.; Göndör, Anita

    2016-01-01

    This year is the tenth anniversary of the publication in this journal of a model suggesting the existence of ‘tumour progenitor genes’. These genes are epigenetically disrupted at the earliest stages of malignancies, even before mutations, and thus cause altered differentiation throughout tumour evolution. The past decade of discovery in cancer epigenetics has revealed a number of similarities between cancer genes and stem cell reprogramming genes, widespread mutations in epigenetic regulators, and the part played by chromatin structure in cellular plasticity in both development and cancer. In the light of these discoveries, we suggest here a framework for cancer epigenetics involving three types of genes: ‘epigenetic mediators’, corresponding to the tumour progenitor genes suggested earlier; ‘epigenetic modifiers’ of the mediators, which are frequently mutated in cancer; and ‘epigenetic modulators’ upstream of the modifiers, which are responsive to changes in the cellular environment and often linked to the nuclear architecture. We suggest that this classification is helpful in framing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer. PMID:26972587

  13. The Management of Cardiovascular Risk through Epigenetic Biomarkers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurent Metzinger

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic sciences study heritable changes in gene expression not related to changes in the genomic DNA sequence. The most important epigenetic mechanisms are DNA methylation, posttranslational histone modification, and gene regulation by noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD are responsible for at least one-third of premature deaths worldwide and represent a heavy burden of healthcare expenditure. We will discuss in this review the most recent findings dealing with epigenetic alterations linked to cardiovascular physiopathology in patients. A particular focus will be put on the way these changes can be translated in the clinic, to develop innovative and groundbreaking biomarkers in CVD field.

  14. Selected aspects of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and resetting in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paszkowski, Jerzy; Grossniklaus, Ueli

    2011-04-01

    Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI), which is the inheritance of expression states and thus traits that are not determined by the DNA sequence, is often postulated but the molecular mechanisms involved are only rarely verified. This especially applies to the heritability of environmentally induced traits, which have gained interest over the last years. Here we will discuss selected examples of epigenetic inheritance in plants and artificially divide them according to the occurrence of inter-generational resetting. The decision which epigenetic marks are reset and which ones are not is crucial for the understanding of TEI. We will consider examples of epialleles found in natural populations and epialleles induced by genetic and/or environmental factors used in experimental setups. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. From genetics to epigenetics: new perspectives in Tourette Syndrome research

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luca Pagliaroli

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (TS is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by the appearance of multiple involuntary motor and vocal tics. TS presents high comorbidity rates with other disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD. TS is highly heritable and has a complex polygenic background. However, environmental factors also play a role in the manifestation of symptoms. Different epigenetic mechanisms may represent the link between these two causalities. Epigenetic regulation has been shown to have an impact in the development of many neuropsychiatric disorders, however very little is known about its effects on Tourette Syndrome.This review provides a summary of the recent findings in the genetic background of TS, followed by an overview on different epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs in the regulation of gene expression. Epigenetic studies in other neurological and psychiatric disorders are discussed along with the TS-related epigenetic findings available in the literature to date. Moreover, we are proposing that some general epigenetic mechanisms seen in other neuropsychiatric disorders may also play a role in the pathogenesis of TS.

  17. From Genetics to Epigenetics: New Perspectives in Tourette Syndrome Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagliaroli, Luca; Vető, Borbála; Arányi, Tamás; Barta, Csaba

    2016-01-01

    Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by the appearance of multiple involuntary motor and vocal tics. TS presents high comorbidity rates with other disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). TS is highly heritable and has a complex polygenic background. However, environmental factors also play a role in the manifestation of symptoms. Different epigenetic mechanisms may represent the link between these two causalities. Epigenetic regulation has been shown to have an impact in the development of many neuropsychiatric disorders, however very little is known about its effects on Tourette Syndrome. This review provides a summary of the recent findings in genetic background of TS, followed by an overview on different epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs in the regulation of gene expression. Epigenetic studies in other neurological and psychiatric disorders are discussed along with the TS-related epigenetic findings available in the literature to date. Moreover, we are proposing that some general epigenetic mechanisms seen in other neuropsychiatric disorders may also play a role in the pathogenesis of TS. PMID:27462201

  18. Epigenetics and the Developmental Origins of Health and ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epigenetic programming is likely to be an important mechanism underlying the lasting influence of the developmental environment on lifelong health, a concept known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). DNA methylation, posttranslational histone protei n modifications, noncoding RNAs and recruited protein complexes are elements of the epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. These heritable but reversible changes in gene function are dynamic and labile during specific stages of the reproductive cycle and development. Epigenetic marks may be maintained throughout an individual's lifespan and can alter the life-long risk of disease; the nature of these epigenetic marks and their potential alteration by environmental factors is an area of active research. This chapter provides an overview of epigenetic regulation, particularly as it occurs as an essential component of embryo-fetal development. In this chapter we will present key features of DNA methylation and histone protein modifications, including the enzymes involved and the effects of these modifications on gene transcription. We will discuss the interplay of these dynamic modifications and the emerging role of noncoding RNAs in epigenetic gene regulation.

  19. Does Simulated Spaceflight Modify Epigenetic Status During Bone Remodeling?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Nicholas J.; Stevick, Rebecca J.; Tran, Luan H.; Nalavadi, Mohit O.; Almeida, Eduardo A.C.; Globus, Ruth K.; Alwood, Joshua S.

    2015-01-01

    Little is known about the effects of spaceflight conditions on epigenetics. The term epigenetics describes changes to the genome that can affect expression of a gene without changes to the sequence of DNA. Epigenetic processes are thought to underlie cellular differentiation, where transcription of specific genes occurs in response to key stimuli, and may be heritable - passing from one cell to its daughter cell. We hypothesize that the mechanical environment during spaceflight, namely microgravity-induced weightlessness or exercise regulate gene expression in the osteoblast-lineage cells both to control bone formation by osteoblasts and bone resorption by osteoclasts, which continually shapes bone structure throughout life. Similarly we intend to evaluate how radiation regulates these same bone cell activity and differentiation related genes. We further hypothesize that the regulation in bone cell gene expression is at least partially controlled through epigenetic mechanisms of methylation or small non-coding RNA (microRNAs). We have acquired preliminary data suggesting that global genome methylation is modified in response to axial compression of the tibia - a model of exercise. We intend to pursue these hypotheses wherein we will evaluate changes in gene expression and, congruently, changes in epigenetic state in bones from mice subjected to the aforementioned conditions: hindlimb unloading to simulate weightlessness, axial compression of the tibia, or radiation exposure in order to gain insight into the role of epigenetics in spaceflight-induced bone loss.

  20. Insects as models to study the epigenetic basis of disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mukherjee, Krishnendu; Twyman, Richard M; Vilcinskas, Andreas

    2015-07-01

    Epigenetic inheritance refers to changes in gene expression that are heritable across generations but are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. Many environmental factors are now known to cause epigenetic changes, including the presence of pathogens, parasites, harmful chemicals and other stress factors. There is increasing evidence that transcriptional reprogramming caused by epigenetic modifications can be passed from parents to offspring. Indeed, diseases such as cancer can occur in the offspring due to epigenetically-inherited gene expression profiles induced by stress experienced by the parent. Empirical studies to investigate the role of epigenetics in trans-generational gene regulation and disease require appropriate model organisms. In this review, we argue that selected insects can be used as models for human diseases with an epigenetic component because the underlying molecular mechanisms (DNA methylation, histone acetylation and the expression of microRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved. Insects offer a number of advantages over mammalian models including ethical acceptability, short generation times and the potential to investigate complex interacting parameters such as fecundity, longevity, gender ratio, and resistance to pathogens, parasites and environmental stress. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  1. Recent advances in computational epigenetics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruskin HJ

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Heather J Ruskin,1 Ana Barat2 1Advanced Research Computing Centre for Complex Systems Modelling, School of Computing, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland; 2Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland Abstract: Over the last two decades, the importance of epigenetics for interpretation of diverse genetic and genomic data has become increasingly clear. The need for study of indirect (non-gene factors determining gene characteristic behavior and organism function, together with analysis of outcomes which are nondeterministic, is now well recognized. Given the increasing availability of large-scale datasets, analysis has inevitably become richer, but also more complex, and the formation of structured hypotheses, together with questions designed to refine experiment, relies heavily on computational tools. In particular, the effort to explore the whole genomic–epigenomic landscape has motivated an interdisciplinary approach towards large-scale multivariable and combinatorial analysis as well as novel database developments. Exploration of heritable changes in phenotype relies not only on newer sophisticated sequencing methods but also on legacy data, revisited for their contribution to understanding of transcriptional regulation and disease. The challenges presented are nontrivial, not least in terms of interpretation across multiple scales from cell to organism, but the field is advancing rapidly. With an early initial focus on cancers, both in development of models and database provision, work is emerging on brain function and neural pathways, while newer targets again are the behavioral sciences, in which interest is now burgeoning. In the following article, key developments and advances are summarized and current methods and tools reviewed. Keywords: epigenetics, DNA methylation, histone modifications, computational modeling, data analysis, advances, sequencing, databases

  2. Reduced social interaction and ultrasonic communication in a mouse model of monogenic heritable autism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jamain, Stephane; Radyushkin, Konstantin; Hammerschmidt, Kurt; Granon, Sylvie; Boretius, Susann; Varoqueaux, Frederique; Ramanantsoa, Nelina; Gallego, Jorge; Ronnenberg, Anja; Winter, Dorina; Frahm, Jens; Fischer, Julia; Bourgeron, Thomas; Ehrenreich, Hannelore; Brose, Nils

    2008-02-05

    Autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) are heritable conditions characterized by impaired reciprocal social interactions, deficits in language acquisition, and repetitive and restricted behaviors and interests. In addition to more complex genetic susceptibilities, even mutation of a single gene can lead to ASC. Several such monogenic heritable ASC forms are caused by loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding regulators of synapse function in neurons, including NLGN4. We report that mice with a loss-of-function mutation in the murine NLGN4 ortholog Nlgn4, which encodes the synaptic cell adhesion protein Neuroligin-4, exhibit highly selective deficits in reciprocal social interactions and communication that are reminiscent of ASCs in humans. Our findings indicate that a protein network that regulates the maturation and function of synapses in the brain is at the core of a major ASC susceptibility pathway, and establish Neuroligin-4-deficient mice as genetic models for the exploration of the complex neurobiological disorders in ASCs.

  3. Environmental epigenetic inheritance through gametes and implications for human reproduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Yanchang; Schatten, Heide; Sun, Qing-Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Traditional studies focused on DNA as the heritable information carrier that passes the phenotype from parents to offspring. However, increasing evidence suggests that information, that is independent of the DNA sequence, termed epigenetic information, can be inherited between generations. Recently, in our lab, we found that prediabetes in fathers increases the susceptibility to diabetes in offspring through gametic cytosine methylation changes. Paternal prediabetes changed overall methylation patterns in sperm, and a large portion of differentially methylated loci can be transmitted to pancreatic islets of offspring up to the second generation. In this review, we survey the extensive examples of environmentally induced epigenetic inheritance in various species, ranging from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. We focus mainly on elucidating the molecular basis of environmental epigenetic inheritance through gametes, which is an emerging theme and has important implications for explaining the prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic non-genetic diseases, which is also important for understanding the influence of environmental exposures on reproductive and overall health in offspring. For this review, we included relevant data and information obtained through a PubMed database search for all English language articles published up to August 2014 which included the term 'environmental epigenetic inheritance' and 'transgenerational epigenetic inheritance'. We focused on research papers using animal models including Drosophila, C. elegans, mouse and rat. Human data were also included. Evidence from animal models suggests that environmental epigenetic inheritance through gametes exists in various species. Extensive molecular evidence suggests that epigenetic information carriers including DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs and chromatin proteins in gametes play important roles in the transmission of phenotypes from parents to offspring. Given the large number

  4. Epigenetic Age Acceleration Assessed with Human White-Matter Images.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgson, Karen; Carless, Melanie A; Kulkarni, Hemant; Curran, Joanne E; Sprooten, Emma; Knowles, Emma E; Mathias, Samuel; Göring, Harald H H; Yao, Nailin; Olvera, Rene L; Fox, Peter T; Almasy, Laura; Duggirala, Ravi; Blangero, John; Glahn, David C

    2017-05-03

    The accurate estimation of age using methylation data has proved a useful and heritable biomarker, with acceleration in epigenetic age predicting a number of age-related phenotypes. Measures of white matter integrity in the brain are also heritable and highly sensitive to both normal and pathological aging processes across adulthood. We consider the phenotypic and genetic interrelationships between epigenetic age acceleration and white matter integrity in humans. Our goal was to investigate processes that underlie interindividual variability in age-related changes in the brain. Using blood taken from a Mexican-American extended pedigree sample (n = 628; age = 23.28-93.11 years), epigenetic age was estimated using the method developed by Horvath (2013). For n = 376 individuals, diffusion tensor imaging scans were also available. The interrelationship between epigenetic age acceleration and global white matter integrity was investigated with variance decomposition methods. To test for neuroanatomical specificity, 16 specific tracts were additionally considered. We observed negative phenotypic correlations between epigenetic age acceleration and global white matter tract integrity (ρpheno = -0.119, p = 0.028), with evidence of shared genetic (ρgene = -0.463, p = 0.013) but not environmental influences. Negative phenotypic and genetic correlations with age acceleration were also seen for a number of specific white matter tracts, along with additional negative phenotypic correlations between granulocyte abundance and white matter integrity. These findings (i.e., increased acceleration in epigenetic age in peripheral blood correlates with reduced white matter integrity in the brain and shares common genetic influences) provide a window into the neurobiology of aging processes within the brain and a potential biomarker of normal and pathological brain aging.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Epigenetic measures can be used to predict age with a high degree of accuracy and so

  5. Epigenetic Inheritance and Its Role in Evolutionary Biology: Re-Evaluation and New Perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burggren, Warren

    2016-05-25

    Epigenetics increasingly occupies a pivotal position in our understanding of inheritance, natural selection and, perhaps, even evolution. A survey of the PubMed database, however, reveals that the great majority (>93%) of epigenetic papers have an intra-, rather than an inter-generational focus, primarily on mechanisms and disease. Approximately ~1% of epigenetic papers even mention the nexus of epigenetics, natural selection and evolution. Yet, when environments are dynamic (e.g., climate change effects), there may be an "epigenetic advantage" to phenotypic switching by epigenetic inheritance, rather than by gene mutation. An epigenetically-inherited trait can arise simultaneously in many individuals, as opposed to a single individual with a gene mutation. Moreover, a transient epigenetically-modified phenotype can be quickly "sunsetted", with individuals reverting to the original phenotype. Thus, epigenetic phenotype switching is dynamic and temporary and can help bridge periods of environmental stress. Epigenetic inheritance likely contributes to evolution both directly and indirectly. While there is as yet incomplete evidence of direct permanent incorporation of a complex epigenetic phenotype into the genome, doubtlessly, the presence of epigenetic markers and the phenotypes they create (which may sort quite separately from the genotype within a population) will influence natural selection and, so, drive the collective genotype of a population.

  6. Epigenetic Inheritance and Its Role in Evolutionary Biology: Re-Evaluation and New Perspectives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Warren Burggren

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetics increasingly occupies a pivotal position in our understanding of inheritance, natural selection and, perhaps, even evolution. A survey of the PubMed database, however, reveals that the great majority (>93% of epigenetic papers have an intra-, rather than an inter-generational focus, primarily on mechanisms and disease. Approximately ~1% of epigenetic papers even mention the nexus of epigenetics, natural selection and evolution. Yet, when environments are dynamic (e.g., climate change effects, there may be an “epigenetic advantage” to phenotypic switching by epigenetic inheritance, rather than by gene mutation. An epigenetically-inherited trait can arise simultaneously in many individuals, as opposed to a single individual with a gene mutation. Moreover, a transient epigenetically-modified phenotype can be quickly “sunsetted”, with individuals reverting to the original phenotype. Thus, epigenetic phenotype switching is dynamic and temporary and can help bridge periods of environmental stress. Epigenetic inheritance likely contributes to evolution both directly and indirectly. While there is as yet incomplete evidence of direct permanent incorporation of a complex epigenetic phenotype into the genome, doubtlessly, the presence of epigenetic markers and the phenotypes they create (which may sort quite separately from the genotype within a population will influence natural selection and, so, drive the collective genotype of a population.

  7. Titration and hysteresis in epigenetic chromatin silencing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dayarian, Adel; Sengupta, Anirvan M.

    2013-06-01

    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.

  8. [Epigenetic background of the most common non-oncologic gynecological diseases].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joó, József Gábor; Csatlós, Eva; Brubel, Réka; Bokor, Attila; Karabélyos, Csaba; Rigó, János

    2014-03-30

    Epigenetic effects influence the function of genes regulating the main physiological mechanisms. Some of these environmental factors may reduce or inhibit the function of these genes. The environmental effects on gene function may result in a change of the DNA structure leading to non-heritable phenotype changes. Epigenetic factors play an important etiological role in the development of numerous diseases in obstetrics and gynecology. Uterine fibroids probably have a complex etiological background including epigenetic mechanisms. The multifactorial aetiology of endometriosis suggests key roles for immunological and hormonal factors in the development of the diseases. These mechanisms are influenced by epigenetic factors, which may serve as therapeutic targets in the future. The possible in utero origin of polycystic ovary syndrome determines the main directions of research concerning epigenetic factors in the etiological background, with the hope of eventual prevention and/or treatment in the preconceptional period as well as during pregnancy care.

  9. Comparative epigenetics: relevance to the regulation of production and health traits in cattle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doherty, Rachael; O' Farrelly, Cliona; Meade, Kieran G

    2014-08-01

    With the development of genomic, transcriptomic and bioinformatic tools, recent advances in molecular technologies have significantly impacted bovine bioscience research and are revolutionising animal selection and breeding. Integration of epigenetic information represents yet another challenging molecular frontier. Epigenetics is the study of biochemical modifications to DNA and to histones, the proteins that provide stability to DNA. These epigenetic changes are induced by environmental stimuli; they alter gene expression and are potentially heritable. Epigenetics research holds the key to understanding how environmental factors contribute to phenotypic variation in traits of economic importance in cattle including development, nutrition, behaviour and health. In this review, we discuss the potential applications of epigenetics in bovine research, using breakthroughs in human and murine research to signpost the way. © 2014 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.

  10. Roles, and establishment, maintenance and erasing of the epigenetic cytosine methylation marks in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Sushil; Kumari, Renu; Sharma, Vishakha; Sharma, Vinay

    2013-12-01

    Heritable information in plants consists of genomic information in DNA sequence and epigenetic information superimposed on DNA sequence. The latter is in the form of cytosine methylation at CG, CHG and CHH elements (where H = A, T orC) and a variety of histone modifications in nucleosomes. The epialleles arising from cytosine methylation marks on the nuclear genomic loci have better heritability than the epiallelic variation due to chromatin marks. Phenotypic variation is increased manifold by epiallele comprised methylomes. Plants (angiosperms) have highly conserved genetic mechanisms to establish, maintain or erase cytosine methylation from epialleles. The methylation marks in plants fluctuate according to the cell/tissue/organ in the vegetative and reproductive phases of plant life cycle. They also change according to environment. Epialleles arise by gain or loss of cytosine methylation marks on genes. The changes occur due to the imperfection of the processes that establish and maintain the marks and on account of spontaneous and stress imposed removal of marks. Cytosine methylation pattern acquired in response to abiotic or biotic stress is often inherited over one to several subsequent generations.Cytosine methylation marks affect physiological functions of plants via their effect(s) on gene expression levels. They also repress transposable elements that are abundantly present in plant genomes. The density of their distribution along chromosome lengths affects meiotic recombination rate, while their removal increases mutation rate. Transposon activation due to loss of methylation causes rearrangements such that new gene regulatory networks arise and genes for microRNAs may originate. Cytosine methylation dynamics contribute to evolutionary changes. This review presents and discusses the available evidence on origin, removal and roles of cytosine methylation and on related processes, such as RNA directed DNA methylation, imprinting, paramutation and

  11. Epigenetic mechanisms in the initiation of hematological malignancies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ali Maleki

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Background: Cancer development is not restricted to the genetic changes, but also to epigenetic changes. Epigenetic processes are very important in the development of hematological malignancies. The main epigenetic alterations are aberrations in DNA methylation, post-translational modifications of histones, chromatin remodeling and microRNAs patterns, and these are associated with tumor genesis. All the various cellular pathways contributing to the neoplastic phenotype are affected by epigenetic genes in cancer. These pathways can be explored as biomarkers in clinical use for early detection of disease, malignancy classification and response to treatment with classical chemotherapy agents and epigenetic drugs. Materials and Method: A literature review was performed using PUBMED from 1985 to 2008. Cross referencing of discovered articles was also reviewed.Results: In chronic lymphocytic leukemia, regional hypermethylation of gene promoters leads to gene silencing. Many of these genes have tumor suppressor phenotypes. In myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS, CDKN2B (alias, P15, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that negatively regulates the cell cycle, has been shown to be hypermethylated in marrow stem (CD34+ cells in patients with MDS. At present both Vidaza and Decitabine (DNA methyltransferase inhibitors are approved for the treatment of MDS.Conclusion: Unlike mutations or deletions, DNA hypermethylation and histone deacetylation are potentially reversible by pharmacological inhibition, therefore those epigenetic changes have been recognized as promising novel therapeutic targets in hematopoietic malignances. In this review, we discussed molecular mechanisms of epigenetics, epigenetic changes in hematological malignancies and epigenetic based treatments

  12. Interactions between epigenetics and metabolism in cancers

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    Jihye eYun

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Cancer progression is accompanied by widespread transcriptional changes and metabolic alterations. Although it is widely accepted that the origin of cancer can be traced to the mutations that accumulate over time, relatively recent evidence favors a similarly fundamental role for alterations in the epigenome during tumorigenesis. Changes in epigenetics that arise from post-translational modifications of histones and DNA, are exploited by cancer cells to upregulate and/or downregulate the expression levels of oncogenes and tumor suppressors, respectively. Although the mechanisms behind these modifications, in particular how they lead to gene silencing and activation, are still being understood, many enzymes that carry out post-translational modifications that alter epigenetics require metabolites as substrates or cofactors. As a result, their activities can be influenced by the metabolic state of the cell. The purpose of this review is to give an overview of cancer epigenetics and metabolism and provide examples of where they converge.

  13. Epigenetics and Cellular Metabolism

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    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.

  14. Epigenetics and Autoimmune Diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quintero-Ronderos, Paula; Montoya-Ortiz, Gladis

    2012-01-01

    Epigenetics is defined as the study of all inheritable and potentially reversible changes in genome function that do not alter the nucleotide sequence within the DNA. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modification, nucleosome positioning, and microRNAs (miRNAs) are essential to carry out key functions in the regulation of gene expression. Therefore, the epigenetic mechanisms are a window to understanding the possible mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of complex diseases such as autoimmune diseases. It is noteworthy that autoimmune diseases do not have the same epidemiology, pathology, or symptoms but do have a common origin that can be explained by the sharing of immunogenetic mechanisms. Currently, epigenetic research is looking for disruption in one or more epigenetic mechanisms to provide new insights into autoimmune diseases. The identification of cell-specific targets of epigenetic deregulation will serve us as clinical markers for diagnosis, disease progression, and therapy approaches. PMID:22536485

  15. Heritability of bipolar affective disorder: Family study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Obradović Tanja

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Background/Aim. Bipolar affective disorder is mental disorder with polygenic type of heredity. Heritability - relation between genetic and environmental variance is used to estimate the level of influence of genetic variance to phenotype variance. Study results show decreasing trend in the value of heritability of bipolar affective disorder, thus indicating that this disorder is a complex behavioral threshold characteristic. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the contribution of genetic variance to phenotype variance of bipolar affective disorder, i.e. to estimate heritability of this disorder. Methods. By the use of a questionnaire, 80 patients with over crossed threshold for bipolar affective disorder were asked for functional information about the members of their families belonging to the first degree of relation (fathers, mothers and full- sibs. By using ”Applet for calculating heritability for threshold traits (disease“, and regression analysis, heritability of bipolar affective disorder as well as its statistical significance, were estimated (χ2 test. Results. Heritability and relationship of genetic and environmental variance of bipolar affective disorder is 0.2 with statistically significant difference from zero (p < 0.001. Conclusion. The estimated contribution of genetic variance to phenotype variance of bipolar affective disorder is low being 20%, while the contribution of environmental variance is 80%. This result contributes to the understanding of bipolar affective disorder as a complex behavioral threshold trait.

  16. Phenome-wide heritability analysis of the UK Biobank

    OpenAIRE

    Tian Ge; Chia-Yen Chen; Neale, Benjamin M; Sabuncu, Mert R.; Smoller, Jordan W.

    2017-01-01

    Heritability estimation provides important information about the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to phenotypic variation, and provides an upper bound for the utility of genetic risk prediction models. Recent technological and statistical advances have enabled the estimation of additive heritability attributable to common genetic variants (SNP heritability) across a broad phenotypic spectrum. Here, we present a computationally and memory efficient heritability estima...

  17. Prospects for Epigenetic Epidemiology

    OpenAIRE

    Foley, Debra L.; Craig, Jeffrey M.; Morley, Ruth; Olsson, Craig J.; Dwyer, Terence; Smith, Katherine; Saffery, Richard

    2009-01-01

    Epigenetic modification can mediate environmental influences on gene expression and can modulate the disease risk associated with genetic variation. Epigenetic analysis therefore holds substantial promise for identifying mechanisms through which genetic and environmental factors jointly contribute to disease risk. The spatial and temporal variance in epigenetic profile is of particular relevance for developmental epidemiology and the study of aging, including the variable age at onset for man...

  18. 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 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...

  19. Epigenetics of gastric cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Mingzhou; Yan, Wenji

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetic changes frequently occur in human gastric cancer. Gene promoter region hypermethylation, genomic global hypomethylation, histone modifications, and alterations of noncoding RNAs are major epigenetic changes in gastric cancer. As a key risk factor of gastric cancer, H. pylori infection is an independent predictive indicator of gene methylation. A growing number of epigenetic studies in gastric cancer have provided lots of potential diagnostic and prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.

  20. A simple histone code opens many paths to epigenetics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kim Sneppen

    Full Text Available Nucleosomes can be covalently modified by addition of various chemical groups on several of their exposed histone amino acids. These modifications are added and removed by enzymes (writers and can be recognized by nucleosome-binding proteins (readers. Linking a reader domain and a writer domain that recognize and create the same modification state should allow nucleosomes in a particular modification state to recruit enzymes that create that modification state on nearby nucleosomes. This positive feedback has the potential to provide the alternative stable and heritable states required for epigenetic memory. However, analysis of simple histone codes involving interconversions between only two or three types of modified nucleosomes has revealed only a few circuit designs that allow heritable bistability. Here we show by computer simulations that a histone code involving alternative modifications at two histone positions, producing four modification states, combined with reader-writer proteins able to distinguish these states, allows for hundreds of different circuits capable of heritable bistability. These expanded possibilities result from multiple ways of generating two-step cooperativity in the positive feedback--through alternative pathways and an additional, novel cooperativity motif. Our analysis reveals other properties of such epigenetic circuits. They are most robust when the dominant nucleosome types are different at both modification positions and are not the type inserted after DNA replication. The dominant nucleosome types often recruit enzymes that create their own type or destroy the opposing type, but never catalyze their own destruction. The circuits appear to be evolutionary accessible; most circuits can be changed stepwise into almost any other circuit without losing heritable bistability. Thus, our analysis indicates that systems that utilize an expanded histone code have huge potential for generating stable and heritable

  1. A simple histone code opens many paths to epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sneppen, Kim; Dodd, Ian B

    2012-01-01

    Nucleosomes can be covalently modified by addition of various chemical groups on several of their exposed histone amino acids. These modifications are added and removed by enzymes (writers) and can be recognized by nucleosome-binding proteins (readers). Linking a reader domain and a writer domain that recognize and create the same modification state should allow nucleosomes in a particular modification state to recruit enzymes that create that modification state on nearby nucleosomes. This positive feedback has the potential to provide the alternative stable and heritable states required for epigenetic memory. However, analysis of simple histone codes involving interconversions between only two or three types of modified nucleosomes has revealed only a few circuit designs that allow heritable bistability. Here we show by computer simulations that a histone code involving alternative modifications at two histone positions, producing four modification states, combined with reader-writer proteins able to distinguish these states, allows for hundreds of different circuits capable of heritable bistability. These expanded possibilities result from multiple ways of generating two-step cooperativity in the positive feedback--through alternative pathways and an additional, novel cooperativity motif. Our analysis reveals other properties of such epigenetic circuits. They are most robust when the dominant nucleosome types are different at both modification positions and are not the type inserted after DNA replication. The dominant nucleosome types often recruit enzymes that create their own type or destroy the opposing type, but never catalyze their own destruction. The circuits appear to be evolutionary accessible; most circuits can be changed stepwise into almost any other circuit without losing heritable bistability. Thus, our analysis indicates that systems that utilize an expanded histone code have huge potential for generating stable and heritable nucleosome

  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. Progress in mitochondrial epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manev, Hari; Dzitoyeva, Svetlana

    2013-08-01

    Mitochondria, intracellular organelles with their own genome, have been shown capable of interacting with epigenetic mechanisms in at least four different ways. First, epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the expression of nuclear genome influence mitochondria by modulating the expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes. Second, a cell-specific mitochondrial DNA content (copy number) and mitochondrial activity determine the methylation pattern of nuclear genes. Third, mitochondrial DNA variants influence the nuclear gene expression patterns and the nuclear DNA (ncDNA) methylation levels. Fourth and most recent line of evidence indicates that mitochondrial DNA similar to ncDNA also is subject to epigenetic modifications, particularly by the 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine marks. The latter interaction of mitochondria with epigenetics has been termed 'mitochondrial epigenetics'. Here we summarize recent developments in this particular area of epigenetic research. Furthermore, we propose the term 'mitoepigenetics' to include all four above-noted types of interactions between mitochondria and epigenetics, and we suggest a more restricted usage of the term 'mitochondrial epigenetics' for molecular events dealing solely with the intra-mitochondrial epigenetics and the modifications of mitochondrial genome.

  4. 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.

  5. Developmental programming and epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabory, Anne; Attig, Linda; Junien, Claudine

    2011-12-01

    The ways in which epigenetic modifications fix the effects of early environmental events, ensuring sustained responses to transient stimuli that result in modified gene expression patterns and phenotypes later in life, are a topic of considerable interest. This article focuses on recently discovered mechanisms and calls into question prevailing views about the dynamics, positions, and functions of epigenetic marks. Most epigenetic studies have addressed the long-term effects of environmental stressors on a small number of epigenetic marks, at the global or individual gene level, in humans and in animal models. In parallel, increasing numbers of studies based on high-throughput technologies are revealing additional complexity in epigenetic processes by highlighting the importance of crosstalk between different epigenetic marks in humans and mice. A number of studies focusing on metabolic programming and the developmental origin of health and disease have identified links between early nutrition, epigenetic processes, and long-term illness. The existence of a self-propagating epigenetic cycle has been shown. Moreover, recent studies have shown an obvious sexual dimorphism both for programming trajectories and in response to the same environmental insult. Despite recent progress, however, we are still far from understanding how, when, and where environmental stressors disturb key epigenetic mechanisms. Thus, the need to identify original key marks and monitor the changes they undergo throughout development, during an individual's lifetime, or over several generations remains a challenging issue.

  6. Epigenetics and cervical cancer: from pathogenesis to therapy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, Jinchuan; Zhang, Hai; Jin, Sufang

    2014-06-01

    Although human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been found in most of the cervical cancer cases, additional genetic and epigenetic changes are required for disease progression. Previously, it was thought that only genetic mutation plays a key role in cervical cancer development. But recent advances in the biology of cervical cancer revealed that epigenetic alteration is common in cervical carcinogenesis and metastasis. Epigenetic alteration due to aberrant DNA methylation and histone modification has been extensively studied in cervical cancer. Recent research strategies keep insight into noncoding RNAs, especially miRNA and lncRNA. At the same time, interest has been grown to study the utility of these changes as biomarkers to determine disease progression as well as use them as the therapeutic targets. This study has been aimed to review the recent progress of epigenetic study for cervical cancer research including role of these epigenetic changes in disease progression, their prognostic values, and their use in targeted therapy.

  7. Comparison of space flight and heavy ion radiation induced genomic/epigenomic mutations in rice (Oryza sativa)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shi, Jinming; Lu, Weihong; Sun, Yeqing

    2014-04-01

    Rice seeds, after space flight and low dose heavy ion radiation treatment were cultured on ground. Leaves of the mature plants were obtained for examination of genomic/epigenomic mutations by using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and methylation sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) method, respectively. The mutation sites were identified by fragment recovery and sequencing. The heritability of the mutations was detected in the next generation. Results showed that both space flight and low dose heavy ion radiation can induce significant alterations on rice genome and epigenome (P < 0.05). For both genetic and epigenetic assays, while there was no significant difference in mutation rates and their ability to be inherited to the next generation, the site of mutations differed between the space flight and radiation treated groups. More than 50% of the mutation sites were shared by two radiation treated groups, radiated with different LET value and dose, while only about 20% of the mutation sites were shared by space flight group and radiation treated group. Moreover, in space flight group, we found that DNA methylation changes were more prone to occur on CNG sequence than CG sequence. Sequencing results proved that both space flight and heavy ion radiation induced mutations were widely spread on rice genome including coding region and repeated region. Our study described and compared the characters of space flight and low dose heavy ion radiation induced genomic/epigenomic mutations. Our data revealed the mechanisms of application of space environment for mutagenesis and crop breeding. Furthermore, this work implicated that the nature of mutations induced under space flight conditions may involve factors beyond ion radiation.

  8. Epigenetics in prostate cancer: biologic and clinical relevance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jerónimo, Carmen; Bastian, Patrick J; Bjartell, Anders; Carbone, Giuseppina M; Catto, James W F; Clark, Susan J; Henrique, Rui; Nelson, William G; Shariat, Shahrokh F

    2011-10-01

    Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most common human malignancies and arises through genetic and epigenetic alterations. Epigenetic modifications include DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNAs (miRNA) and produce heritable changes in gene expression without altering the DNA coding sequence. To review progress in the understanding of PCa epigenetics and to focus upon translational applications of this knowledge. PubMed was searched for publications regarding PCa and DNA methylation, histone modifications, and miRNAs. Reports were selected based on the detail of analysis, mechanistic support of data, novelty, and potential clinical applications. Aberrant DNA methylation (hypo- and hypermethylation) is the best-characterized alteration in PCa and leads to genomic instability and inappropriate gene expression. Global and locus-specific changes in chromatin remodeling are implicated in PCa, with evidence suggesting a causative dysfunction of histone-modifying enzymes. MicroRNA deregulation also contributes to prostate carcinogenesis, including interference with androgen receptor signaling and apoptosis. There are important connections between common genetic alterations (eg, E twenty-six fusion genes) and the altered epigenetic landscape. Owing to the ubiquitous nature of epigenetic alterations, they provide potential biomarkers for PCa detection, diagnosis, assessment of prognosis, and post-treatment surveillance. Altered epigenetic gene regulation is involved in the genesis and progression of PCa. Epigenetic alterations may provide valuable tools for the management of PCa patients and be targeted by pharmacologic compounds that reverse their nature. The potential for epigenetic changes in PCa requires further exploration and validation to enable translation to the clinic. Copyright © 2011 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Accelerated epigenetic aging in Werner syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maierhofer, Anna; Flunkert, Julia; Oshima, Junko; Martin, George M; Haaf, Thomas; Horvath, Steve

    2017-04-01

    Individuals suffering from Werner syndrome (WS) exhibit many clinical signs of accelerated aging. While the underlying constitutional mutation leads to accelerated rates of DNA damage, it is not yet known whether WS is also associated with an increased epigenetic age according to a DNA methylation based biomarker of aging (the "Epigenetic Clock"). Using whole blood methylation data from 18 WS cases and 18 age matched controls, we find that WS is associated with increased extrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (p=0.0072) and intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (p=0.04), the latter of which is independent of age-related changes in the composition of peripheral blood cells. A multivariate model analysis reveals that WS is associated with an increase in DNA methylation age (on average 6.4 years, p=0.011) even after adjusting for chronological age, gender, and blood cell counts. Further, WS might be associated with a reduction in naïve CD8+ T cells (p=0.025) according to imputed measures of blood cell counts. Overall, this study shows that WS is associated with an increased epigenetic age of blood cells which is independent of changes in blood cell composition. The extent to which this alteration is a cause or effect of WS disease phenotypes remains unknown.

  10. Epigenetic Alterations in Colorectal Cancer: Emerging Biomarkers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okugawa, Yoshinaga; Grady, William M.; Goel, Ajay

    2015-01-01

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. One of the fundamental processes driving the initiation and progression of CRC is the accumulation of a variety of genetic and epigenetic changes in colon epithelial cells. Over the past decade, major advances have been made in our understanding of cancer epigenetics, particularly regarding aberrant DNA methylation, microRNA (miRNA) and noncoding RNA deregulation, and alterations in histone modification states. Assessment of the colon cancer “epigenome” has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and altered miRNA expression. The average CRC methylome has hundreds to thousands of abnormally methylated genes and dozens of altered miRNAs. As with gene mutations in the cancer genome, a subset of these epigenetic alterations, called driver events, is presumed to have a functional role in CRC. In addition, the advances in our understanding of epigenetic alterations in CRC have led to these alterations being developed as clinical biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic applications. Progress in this field suggests that these epigenetic alterations will be commonly used in the near future to direct the prevention and treatment of CRC. PMID:26216839

  11. The Promise and Failures of Epigenetic Therapies for Cancer Treatment

    OpenAIRE

    Bojang, Pasano; Kenneth S Ramos

    2013-01-01

    Genetic mutations and gross structural defects in the DNA sequence permanently alter genetic loci in ways that significantly disrupt gene function. In sharp contrast, genes modified by aberrant epigenetic modifications remain structurally intact and are subject to partial or complete reversal of modifications that restore the original (i.e. non-diseased) state. Such reversibility makes epigenetic modifications ideal targets for therapeutic intervention. The epigenome of cancer cells is extens...

  12. Heritable and non-heritable genetic effects on retained placenta in Meuse-Rhine-Yssel cattle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Benedictus, L.; Koets, A.P.; Kuijpers, F.H.J.; Joosten, I.; Eldik, van P.; Heuven, H.C.M.

    2013-01-01

    Failure of the timely expulsion of the fetal membranes, called retained placenta, leads to reduced fertility, increased veterinary costs and reduced milk yields. The objectives of this study were to concurrently look at the heritable and non-heritable genetic effects on retained placenta and test

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Epigenetic-based therapies for Friedreich ataxia

    OpenAIRE

    Sandi, C; Sandi, M; Virmouni, SA; Al-Mahdawi, S; Pook, MA

    2014-01-01

    This article has been made available through the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund. Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a lethal autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused primarily by a homozygous GAA repeat expansion mutation within the first intron of the FXN gene, leading to inhibition of FXN transcription and thus reduced frataxin protein expression. Recent studies have shown that epigenetic marks, comprising chemical modifications of DNA and histones, are associated with FXN gene...

  16. Genetics and epigenetics of aging and longevity

    OpenAIRE

    Moskalev, Alexey A; Aliper, Alexander M; Smit-McBride, Zeljka; Buzdin, Anton; Zhavoronkov, Alex

    2014-01-01

    Evolutionary theories of aging predict the existence of certain genes that provide selective advantage early in life with adverse effect on lifespan later in life (antagonistic pleiotropy theory) or longevity insurance genes (disposable soma theory). Indeed, the study of human and animal genetics is gradually identifying new genes that increase lifespan when overexpressed or mutated: gerontogenes. Furthermore, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are being identified that have a positive effect ...

  17. Heritability of Choroidal Thickness in the Amish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sardell, Rebecca J; Nittala, Muneeswar G; Adams, Larry D; Laux, Reneé A; Cooke Bailey, Jessica N; Fuzzell, Denise; Fuzzell, Sarada; Reinhart-Mercer, Lori; Caywood, Laura J; Horst, Violet; Mackay, Tine; Dana, Debbie; Sadda, SriniVas R; Scott, William K; Stambolian, Dwight; Haines, Jonathan L; Pericak-Vance, Margaret A

    2016-12-01

    To evaluate the heritability of choroidal thickness and its relationship to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Cohort study. Six hundred eighty-nine individuals from Amish families with early or intermediate AMD. Ocular coherence tomography was used to quantify choroidal thickness, and fundus photography was used to classify eyes into categories using a modified Clinical Age-Related Maculopathy Staging (CARMS) system. Repeatability and heritability of choroidal thickness and its phenotypic and genetic correlations with the AMD phenotype (CARMS category) were estimated using a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) approach that accounted for relatedness, repeated measures (left and right eyes), and the effects of age, gender, and refraction. Heritability of choroidal thickness and its phenotypic and genetic correlation with the AMD phenotype (CARMS category). Phenotypic correlation between choroidal thickness and CARMS category was moderate (Spearman's rank correlation, rs = -0.24; n = 1313 eyes) and significant (GLMM posterior mean, -4.27; 95% credible interval [CI], -7.88 to -0.79; P = 0.02) after controlling for relatedness, age, gender, and refraction. Eyes with advanced AMD had thinner choroids than eyes without AMD (posterior mean, -73.8; 95% CI, -94.7 to -54.6; P < 0.001; n = 1178 eyes). Choroidal thickness was highly repeatable within individuals (repeatability, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.89) and moderately heritable (heritability, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.51), but did not show significant genetic correlation with CARMS category, although the effect size was moderate (genetic correlation, -0.18; 95% CI, -0.49 to 0.16). Choroidal thickness also varied with age, gender, and refraction. The CARMS category showed moderate heritability (heritability, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.72). We quantify the heritability of choroidal thickness for the first time, highlighting a heritable, quantitative trait that is measurable in all individuals regardless of AMD

  18. Environmental epigenetics in zebrafish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavalieri, Vincenzo; Spinelli, Giovanni

    2017-10-05

    It is widely accepted that the epigenome can act as the link between environmental cues, both external and internal, to the organism and phenotype by converting the environmental stimuli to phenotypic responses through changes in gene transcription outcomes. Environmental stress endured by individual organisms can also enforce epigenetic variations in offspring that had never experienced it directly, which is termed transgenerational inheritance. To date, research in the environmental epigenetics discipline has used a wide range of both model and non-model organisms to elucidate the various epigenetic mechanisms underlying the adaptive response to environmental stimuli. In this review, we discuss the advantages of the zebrafish model for studying how environmental toxicant exposures affect the regulation of epigenetic processes, especially DNA methylation, which is the best-studied epigenetic mechanism. We include several very recent studies describing the state-of-the-art knowledge on this topic in zebrafish, together with key concepts in the function of DNA methylation during vertebrate embryogenesis.

  19. 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

  20. Epigenetic mechanisms in neurogenesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yao, Bing; Christian, Kimberly M.; He, Chuan; Jin, Peng; Ming, Guo-li; Song, Hongjun

    2017-01-01

    In the embryonic and adult brain, neural stem cells proliferate and give rise to neurons and glia through highly regulated processes. Epigenetic mechanisms — including DNA and histone modifications, as well as regulation by non-coding RNAs — have pivotal roles in different stages of neurogenesis. Aberrant epigenetic regulation also contributes to the pathogenesis of various brain disorders. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of epigenetic regulation in neurogenesis and its dysregulation in brain disorders, including discussion of newly identified DNA cytosine modifications. We also briefly cover the emerging field of epitranscriptomics, which involves modifications of mRNAs and long non-coding RNAs. PMID:27334043

  1. Epigenetic regulation in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pikaard, Craig S; Mittelsten Scheid, Ortrun

    2014-12-01

    The study of epigenetics in plants has a long and rich history, from initial descriptions of non-Mendelian gene behaviors to seminal discoveries of chromatin-modifying proteins and RNAs that mediate gene silencing in most eukaryotes, including humans. Genetic screens in the model plant Arabidopsis have been particularly rewarding, identifying more than 130 epigenetic regulators thus far. The diversity of epigenetic pathways in plants is remarkable, presumably contributing to the phenotypic plasticity of plant postembryonic development and the ability to survive and reproduce in unpredictable environments. Copyright © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  2. Epigenetic Mechanisms in Asthma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeVries, Avery; Vercelli, Donata

    2016-03-01

    Asthma and allergic diseases are among the most prevalent chronic noncommunicable diseases of childhood, but the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms are poorly understood. Because epigenetic mechanisms link gene regulation to environmental cues and developmental trajectories, their contribution to asthma and allergy pathogenesis is under active investigation. DNA methylation signatures associated with concurrent disease and with the development of asthma during childhood asthma have been identified, but their significance is not easily interpretable. On the other hand, the characterization of early epigenetic predictors of asthma points to a potential role of epigenetic mechanisms in regulating the inception of, and the susceptibility to, this disease.

  3. [Epigenetics and colorectal cancer].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menéndez, Pablo; Villarejo, Pedro; Padilla, David; Menéndez, José María; Rodríguez Montes, José Antonio

    2012-05-01

    The epigenetic and physiological mechanisms that alter the structure of chromatin include the methylation of DNA, changes in the histones, and changes in RNA. A literature review has been carried out using PubMed on the evidence published on the association between epigenetics and colorectal cancer. The scientific literature shows that epigenetic changes, such as genetic modifications may be very significant in the origin of neoplastic disease, contributing both to the development and progression of the disease. Copyright © 2011 AEC. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.

  4. Epigenetic Regulation in Plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pikaard, Craig S.; Mittelsten Scheid, Ortrun

    2014-01-01

    The study of epigenetics in plants has a long and rich history, from initial descriptions of non-Mendelian gene behaviors to seminal discoveries of chromatin-modifying proteins and RNAs that mediate gene silencing in most eukaryotes, including humans. Genetic screens in the model plant Arabidopsis have been particularly rewarding, identifying more than 130 epigenetic regulators thus far. The diversity of epigenetic pathways in plants is remarkable, presumably contributing to the phenotypic plasticity of plant postembryonic development and the ability to survive and reproduce in unpredictable environments. PMID:25452385

  5. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression and cellular functions induced by butyrate, an example of interactions between gene and nutrients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epigenetics has been defined as ‘the study of heritable changes in genome function that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Research on nutrigenomics, the genome-nutrient interface and epigenomics is in its infancy with respect to livestock species. Feed costs are the single greatest expense t...

  6. Heritable genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9 in the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Wei

    Full Text Available We report the establishment of an efficient and heritable gene mutagenesis method in the silkworm Bombyx mori using modified type II clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR with an associated protein (Cas9 system. Using four loci Bm-ok, BmKMO, BmTH, and Bmtan as candidates, we proved that genome alterations at specific sites could be induced by direct microinjection of specific guide RNA and Cas9-mRNA into silkworm embryos. Mutation frequencies of 16.7-35.0% were observed in the injected generation, and DNA fragments deletions were also noted. Bm-ok mosaic mutants were used to test for mutant heritability due to the easily determined translucent epidermal phenotype of Bm-ok-disrupted cells. Two crossing strategies were used. In the first, injected Bm-ok moths were crossed with wild-type moths, and a 28.6% frequency of germline mutation transmission was observed. In the second strategy, two Bm-ok mosaic mutant moths were crossed with each other, and 93.6% of the offsprings appeared mutations in both alleles of Bm-ok gene (compound heterozygous. In summary, the CRISPR/Cas9 system can act as a highly specific and heritable gene-editing tool in Bombyx mori.

  7. Epigenetic Therapy for Solid Tumors: Highlighting the Impact of Tumor Hypoxia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaliny Ramachandran

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available In the last few decades, epigenetics has emerged as an exciting new field in development and disease, with a more recent focus towards cancer. Epigenetics has classically referred to heritable patterns of gene expression, primarily mediated through DNA methylation patterns. More recently, it has come to include the reversible chemical modification of histones and DNA that dictate gene expression patterns. Both the epigenetic up-regulation of oncogenes and downregulation of tumor suppressors have been shown to drive tumor development. Current clinical trials for cancer therapy include pharmacological inhibition of DNA methylation and histone deacetylation, with the aim of reversing these cancer-promoting epigenetic changes. However, the DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors have met with less than promising results in the treatment of solid tumors. Regions of hypoxia are a common occurrence in solid tumors. Tumor hypoxia is associated with increased aggressiveness and therapy resistance, and importantly, hypoxic tumor cells have a distinct epigenetic profile. In this review, we provide a summary of the recent clinical trials using epigenetic drugs in solid tumors, discuss the hypoxia-induced epigenetic changes and highlight the importance of testing the epigenetic drugs for efficacy against the most aggressive hypoxic fraction of the tumor in future preclinical testing.

  8. Further evidence for heritability of an epimutation in one of 12 cases with MLH1 promoter methylation in blood cells clinically displaying HNPCC.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morak, Monika; Schackert, Hans Konrad; Rahner, Nils; Betz, Beate; Ebert, Matthias; Walldorf, Constanze; Royer-Pokora, Brigitte; Schulmann, Karsten; von Knebel-Doeberitz, Magnus; Dietmaier, Wolfgang; Keller, Gisela; Kerker, Brigitte; Leitner, Gertraud; Holinski-Feder, Elke

    2008-07-01

    Germline mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes, tumours with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) and loss of MMR protein expression are the hallmarks of HNPCC (Lynch syndrome). While somatic MLH1 promoter hypermethylation is generally accepted in the tumorigenesis of sporadic tumours, abnormal MLH1 promoter methylation in normal body cells is controversially discussed as a mechanism predisposing patients to HNPCC. In all 94 patients suspected of HNPCC-syndrome with a mean age of onset of 45.5 years, MLH1-deficiency in their tumours but no germline mutation, underwent methylation-specific PCR-screening for MLH1 promoter methylation. In peripheral blood cells of 12 patients an MLH1 promoter methylation, in seven informative cases allele-specific, was found. Normal colonic tissue, buccal mucosa, and tumour tissue available from three patients also presented abnormal methylation in the MLH1 promoter. The heredity of aberrant methylation is questionable. Pro: MLH1 promoter methylation was found in a patient and his mother giving evidence for a familial predisposition for an epimutation in MLH1. Contra: a de novo set-up of methylation in one patient, a mosaic or incomplete methylation pattern in six patients, and no evidence for inheritance of MLH1 promoter methylation in the remaining families. Our findings provide strong evidence that MLH1 promoter methylation in normal body cells mimics HNPCC and constitutes a pathogenic pre-lesion in MLH1. The identification of hypermethylation as an epigenetic defect has important implications for surveillance recommendations, as these patients should be treated like Lynch syndrome patients, whereas the heritability of methylation is still under investigation.

  9. variation, correlation and heritability of interest characters

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ACSS

    2016-05-17

    May 17, 2016 ... fruit weight, leaf blade length and width, and height at flowering. In addition, genetic and phenotypic variances were high for the number of seed, fruit weight, plant height at flowering and days to 50% flowering. High heritability estimates were recorded for all traits. Fruit weight showed a positive association ...

  10. Heritability of markers of bone metabolism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Scott M.; Zwart, S. R.; Hargens, A. R.

    2005-01-01

    Several classic twin studies show genetic effects on markers of bone health, including bone mineral density and parathyroid hormone (PTH). This study was performed to assess the relative contribution of genetics to biochemical markers of bone metabolism. Fifteen sets of identical twins (8 male, 7 female) were housed in a clinical research center where diet was controlled (15% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 30% fat) for 3 consecutive days. Each day, 24-h urine pools were collected and N-telopeptide (NTX), deoxypyridinoline (DPD), calcium, and serum PTH were measured. The broad-sense heritability factor (H2) is an estimation of the portion of the total variance of a given phenotype that is attributable to genetic variance. H2 was estimated from the correlation coefficient of the phenotype data. H2 for NTX was 94% for males and 80% for females, DPD was 88% for males and 97% for females, urinary calcium excretion was 97% for males and 90% for females, and PTH was 92% for males and 79% for females. Since environmental variability was minimized for the 3 days of data collection, these heritability factors are likely overestimated. Nonetheless, the data support the concept that PTH is a predominantly heritable trait, and suggest that NTX, DPD, and calcium excretion are as well. These biochemical data support the previously documented heritability of bone health.

  11. Dominance, epistasis, heritabilities and expected genetic gains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Marcelo Soriano Viana

    2005-03-01

    Full Text Available Although epistasis is common in gene systems that determine quantitative traits, it is usually not possible to estimate the epistatic components of genotypic variance because experiments in breeding programs include only one type of progeny. As the study of this phenomenon is complex, there is a lack of theoretical knowledge on the contribution of the epistatic variances when predicting gains from selection and on the bias in estimating genetic parameters when fitting the additive-dominant model. The objective of this paper is to discuss these aspects. Regarding a non-inbred population, the genetic value due to dominance and the epistatic components of the genotypic value are not indicators of the number of favorable genes present in an individual. Thus, the efficiency of a selection process should be based on the narrow-sense heritability, a function only of additive variance. If there is no epistasis, generally it is satisfactory to assess the selection efficiency and to predict gain based on the broad-sense heritability. Regardless of the selection unit or type of epistasis, the bias in the estimate of the additive variance when assuming the additive-dominant model is considerable. This implies overestimation of the heritabilities at half sib family mean, plant within family and plant levels, and underestimation if the selection units are full sib progenies. The predicted gains will have a bias proportional to that of the heritability.

  12. Sex differences in heritability of neck Pain

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fejer, René; Hartvigsen, Jan; Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm

    2006-01-01

    Experimental studies have suggested biological factors as a possible explanation for gender disparities in perception of pain. Recently, heritability of liability to neck pain (NP) has been found to be statistically significantly larger in women compared to men. However, no studies have been...

  13. IQ Heritability: A Checklist of Methodological Fallacies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Howard F.

    1976-01-01

    Presents a brief, quick-reference check list of methodological errors, fallacies, mistakes, and instances of out-and-out trickery that are found in recent well-known studies of IQ, IQ heritability, and race differences, focusing primarily upon the works of psychologist Jensen, Herrnstein, Eysenck, including selected works of William Shockley and…

  14. Assessing the heritability of attentional networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fossella John A

    2001-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Current efforts to study the genetics of higher functions have been lacking appropriate phenotypes to describe cognition. One of the problems is that many cognitive concepts for which there is a single word (e.g. attention have been shown to be related to several anatomical networks. Recently we have developed an Attention Network Test (ANT that provides a separate measure for each of three anatomically defined attention networks. In this small scale study, we ran 26 pairs of MZ and DZ twins in an effort to determine if any of these networks show sufficient evidence of heritability to warrant further exploration of their genetic basis. Results The efficiency of the executive attention network, that mediates stimulus and response conflict, shows sufficient heritability to warrant further study. Alerting and overall reaction time show some evidence for heritability and in our study the orienting network shows no evidence of heritability. Conclusions These results suggest that genetic variation contributes to normal individual differences in higher order executive attention involving dopamine rich frontal areas including the anterior cingulate. At least the executive portion of the ANT may serve as a valid endophenotype for larger twin studies and subsequent molecular genetic analysis in normal subject populations.

  15. Drosophila Modeling of Heritable Neurodevelopmental Disorders

    OpenAIRE

    Gatto, Cheryl L.; Broadie, Kendal

    2011-01-01

    Heritable neurodevelopmental disorders are multifaceted disease conditions encompassing a wide range of symptoms including intellectual disability, cognitive dysfunction, autism and myriad other behavioral impairments. In cases where single, causative genetic defects have been identified, such as Angelman syndrome, Rett syndrome, Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and Fragile X syndrome, the classical Drosophila genetic system has provided fruitful disease models. Recent Drosophila studies have advance...

  16. Heritability estimates and correlations between subjectively ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    PavarniN

    exceptions were positive genetic correlations of fibre diameter (FD) and coefficient of variation of FD with staple formation score and belly and points score. Genetic progress in subjective traits thus appears possible, if desired in a selection strategy. Keywords: Correlations, heritabilities, linearly assessed traits, subjective ...

  17. Genotypic Variability, Heritability, Genetic Advance and Associations ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    %) and kernel yield plant-1 (12.3%). Broad sense heritability were high for spike length (89.2%), plant height (87.1%) and thousand kernels weight (80.2%), indicating that these characters were predominantly controlled by genetic factors.

  18. Great expectations - Epigenetics and the meandering path from bench to bedside

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Häfner, Sophia J; Lund, Anders H

    2016-01-01

    a conceptual framework to a mechanistic understanding. This shift was accompanied by much hype and raised high hopes that epigenetics might hold both the key to deciphering the molecular underpinning of complex, non-Mendelian diseases and offer novel therapeutic approaches for a large panel of pathologies......Making quick promises of major biomedical breakthroughs based on exciting discoveries at the bench is tempting. But the meandering path from fundamental science to life-saving clinical applications can be fraught with many hurdles. Epigenetics, the study of potentially heritable changes of gene....... However, while exciting reports of biological phenomena involving DNA methylation and histone modifications fill up the scientific literature, the realistic clinical applications of epigenetic medicines remain somewhat blurry. Here, we discuss the state of the art and speculate how epigenetics might...

  19. Epigenetics of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: opportunities for novel chemotherapeutic targets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindsay, Cameron; Seikaly, Hadi; Biron, Vincent L

    2017-01-31

    Epigenetic modifications are heritable changes in gene expression that do not directly alter DNA sequence. These modifications include DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications, small and non-coding RNAs. Alterations in epigenetic profiles cause deregulation of fundamental gene expression pathways associated with carcinogenesis. The role of epigenetics in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has recently been recognized, with implications for novel biomarkers, molecular diagnostics and chemotherapeutics. In this review, important epigenetic pathways in human papillomavirus (HPV) positive and negative OPSCC are summarized, as well as the potential clinical utility of this knowledge.This material has never been published and is not currently under evaluation in any other peer-reviewed publication.

  20. Epigenetics: SUPERMAN dresses up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lachner, Monika

    2002-06-25

    DNA and histone methylation have been implicated in epigenetic gene regulation. Recent studies in Neurospora and now Arabidopsis indicate that histone methylation can direct DNA methylation, suggesting that these two methylation systems have been functionally linked during evolution.

  1. Epigenetics: Biology's Quantum Mechanics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard A Jorgensen

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available The perspective presented here is that modern genetics is at a similar stage of development as were early formulations of quantum mechanics theory in the 1920's and that in 2010 we are at the dawn of a new revolution in genetics that promises to enrich and deepen our understanding of the gene and the genome. The interrelationships and interdependence of two views of the gene - the molecular biological view and the epigenetic view - are explored, and it is argued that the classical molecular biological view is incomplete without incorporation of the epigenetic perspective and that in a sense the molecular biological view has been evolving to include the epigenetic view. Intriguingly, this evolution of the molecular view toward the broader and more inclusive epigenetic view of the gene has an intriguing, if not precise, parallel in the evolution of concepts of atomic physics from Newtonian mechanics to quantum mechanics that are interesting to consider.

  2. Epigenetic regulation in plants

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Pikaard, Craig S; Mittelsten Scheid, Ortrun

    2014-01-01

    The study of epigenetics in plants has a long and rich history, from initial descriptions of non-Mendelian gene behaviors to seminal discoveries of chromatin-modifying proteins and RNAs that mediate...

  3. [Epigenetics in atherosclerosis].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guardiola, Montse; Vallvé, Joan C; Zaina, Silvio; Ribalta, Josep

    2016-01-01

    The association studies based on candidate genes carried on for decades have helped in visualizing the influence of the genetic component in complex diseases such as atherosclerosis, also showing the interaction between different genes and environmental factors. Even with all the knowledge accumulated, there is still some way to go to decipher the individual predisposition to disease, and if we consider the great influence that environmental factors play in the development and progression of atherosclerosis, epigenetics is presented as a key element in trying to expand our knowledge on individual predisposition to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Epigenetics can be described as the discipline that studies the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation, independent of changes in the sequence of DNA, and mostly induced by environmental factors. This review aims to describe what epigenetics is and how epigenetic mechanisms are involved in atherosclerosis. Copyright © 2015 Sociedad Española de Arteriosclerosis. Published by Elsevier España. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  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. 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...

  8. Mechanisms of epigenetic memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Urso, Agustina; Brickner, Jason H

    2014-06-01

    Although genetics has an essential role in defining the development, morphology, and physiology of an organism, epigenetic mechanisms have an essential role in modulating these properties by regulating gene expression. During development, epigenetic mechanisms establish stable gene expression patterns to ensure proper differentiation. Such mechanisms also allow organisms to adapt to environmental changes and previous experiences can impact the future responsiveness of an organism to a stimulus over long timescales and even over generations. Here, we discuss the concept of epigenetic memory, defined as the stable propagation of a change in gene expression or potential induced by developmental or environmental stimuli. We highlight three distinct paradigms of epigenetic memory that operate on different timescales. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Epigenetics and psychostimulant addiction

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Schmidt, Heath D; McGinty, Jacqueline F; West, Anne E; Sadri-Vakili, Ghazaleh

    2013-01-01

    .... Here we review how alterations in histone modifications, DNA methylation, and microRNAs regulate gene expression and contribute to psychostimulant addiction with a focus on the epigenetic mechanisms...

  10. Atlas of prostate cancer heritability in European and African-American men pinpoints tissue-specific regulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gusev, Alexander; Shi, Huwenbo; Kichaev, Gleb; Pomerantz, Mark; Li, Fugen; Long, Henry W.; Ingles, Sue A.; Kittles, Rick A.; Strom, Sara S.; Rybicki, Benjamin A.; Nemesure, Barbara; Isaacs, William B.; Zheng, Wei; Pettaway, Curtis A.; Yeboah, Edward D.; Tettey, Yao; Biritwum, Richard B.; Adjei, Andrew A.; Tay, Evelyn; Truelove, Ann; Niwa, Shelley; Chokkalingam, Anand P.; John, Esther M.; Murphy, Adam B.; Signorello, Lisa B.; Carpten, John; Leske, M. Cristina; Wu, Suh-Yuh; Hennis, Anslem J. M.; Neslund-Dudas, Christine; Hsing, Ann W.; Chu, Lisa; Goodman, Phyllis J.; Klein, Eric A.; Witte, John S.; Casey, Graham; Kaggwa, Sam; Cook, Michael B.; Stram, Daniel O.; Blot, William J.; Eeles, Rosalind A.; Easton, Douglas; Kote-Jarai, ZSofia; Al Olama, Ali Amin; Benlloch, Sara; Muir, Kenneth; Giles, Graham G.; Southey, Melissa C.; Fitzgerald, Liesel M.; Gronberg, Henrik; Wiklund, Fredrik; Aly, Markus; Henderson, Brian E.; Schleutker, Johanna; Wahlfors, Tiina; Tammela, Teuvo L. J.; Nordestgaard, Børge G.; Key, Tim J.; Travis, Ruth C.; Neal, David E.; Donovan, Jenny L.; Hamdy, Freddie C.; Pharoah, Paul; Pashayan, Nora; Khaw, Kay-Tee; Stanford, Janet L.; Thibodeau, Stephen N.; McDonnell, Shannon K.; Schaid, Daniel J.; Maier, Christiane; Vogel, Walther; Luedeke, Manuel; Herkommer, Kathleen; Kibel, Adam S.; Cybulski, Cezary; Wokolorczyk, Dominika; Kluzniak, Wojciech; Cannon-Albright, Lisa; Teerlink, Craig; Brenner, Hermann; Dieffenbach, Aida K.; Arndt, Volker; Park, Jong Y.; Sellers, Thomas A.; Lin, Hui-Yi; Slavov, Chavdar; Kaneva, Radka; Mitev, Vanio; Batra, Jyotsna; Spurdle, Amanda; Clements, Judith A.; Teixeira, Manuel R.; Pandha, Hardev; Michael, Agnieszka; Paulo, Paula; Maia, Sofia; Kierzek, Andrzej; Cook, Margaret; Guy, Michelle; Govindasami, Koveela; Leongamornlert, Daniel; Sawyer, Emma J.; Wilkinson, Rosemary; Saunders, Edward J.; Tymrakiewicz, Malgorzata; Dadaev, Tokhir; Morgan, Angela; Fisher, Cyril; Hazel, Steve; Livni, Naomi; Lophatananon, Artitaya; Pedersen, John; Hopper, John L.; Adolfson, Jan; Stattin, Paer; Johansson, Jan-Erik; Cavalli-Bjoerkman, Carin; Karlsson, Ami; Broms, Michael; Auvinen, Anssi; Kujala, Paula; Maeaettaenen, Liisa; Murtola, Teemu; Taari, Kimmo; Weischer, Maren; Nielsen, Sune F.; Klarskov, Peter; Roder, Andreas; Iversen, Peter; Wallinder, Hans; Gustafsson, Sven; Cox, Angela; Brown, Paul; George, Anne; Marsden, Gemma; Lane, Athene; Davis, Michael; Zheng, Wei; Signorello, Lisa B.; Blot, William J.; Tillmans, Lori; Riska, Shaun; Wang, Liang; Rinckleb, Antje; Lubiski, Jan; Stegmaier, Christa; Pow-Sang, Julio; Park, Hyun; Radlein, Selina; Rincon, Maria; Haley, James; Zachariah, Babu; Kachakova, Darina; Popov, Elenko; Mitkova, Atanaska; Vlahova, Aleksandrina; Dikov, Tihomir; Christova, Svetlana; Heathcote, Peter; Wood, Glenn; Malone, Greg; Saunders, Pamela; Eckert, Allison; Yeadon, Trina; Kerr, Kris; Collins, Angus; Turner, Megan; Srinivasan, Srilakshmi; Kedda, Mary-Anne; Alexander, Kimberly; Omara, Tracy; Wu, Huihai; Henrique, Rui; Pinto, Pedro; Santos, Joana; Barros-Silva, Joao; Conti, David V.; Albanes, Demetrius; Berg, Christine; Berndt, Sonja I.; Campa, Daniele; Crawford, E. David; Diver, W. Ryan; Gapstur, Susan M.; Gaziano, J. Michael; Giovannucci, Edward; Hoover, Robert; Hunter, David J.; Johansson, Mattias; Kraft, Peter; Le Marchand, Loic; Lindström, Sara; Navarro, Carmen; Overvad, Kim; Riboli, Elio; Siddiq, Afshan; Stevens, Victoria L.; Trichopoulos, Dimitrios; Vineis, Paolo; Yeager, Meredith; Trynka, Gosia; Raychaudhuri, Soumya; Schumacher, Frederick R.; Price, Alkes L.; Freedman, Matthew L.; Haiman, Christopher A.; Pasaniuc, Bogdan

    2016-01-01

    Although genome-wide association studies have identified over 100 risk loci that explain ∼33% of familial risk for prostate cancer (PrCa), their functional effects on risk remain largely unknown. Here we use genotype data from 59,089 men of European and African American ancestries combined with cell-type-specific epigenetic data to build a genomic atlas of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability in PrCa. We find significant differences in heritability between variants in prostate-relevant epigenetic marks defined in normal versus tumour tissue as well as between tissue and cell lines. The majority of SNP heritability lies in regions marked by H3k27 acetylation in prostate adenoc7arcinoma cell line (LNCaP) or by DNaseI hypersensitive sites in cancer cell lines. We find a high degree of similarity between European and African American ancestries suggesting a similar genetic architecture from common variation underlying PrCa risk. Our findings showcase the power of integrating functional annotation with genetic data to understand the genetic basis of PrCa. PMID:27052111

  11. Epigenetic Regulation of Adipokines

    OpenAIRE

    Pham, Tho X.; Ji-Young Lee

    2017-01-01

    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-adenosylmethion...

  12. Heritability of OSA in a Rural Population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Paula, Lilian K G; Alvim, Rafael O; Pedrosa, Rodrigo P; Horimoto, Andrea R V R; Krieger, José E; Oliveira, Camila M; Pereira, Alexandre C; Lorenzi-Filho, Geraldo

    2016-01-01

    OSA has a familial aggregation pattern indicating that it can be partially caused by a genetic component. However, the heritability of OSA has been estimated based on the study of families of obese probands of urban populations with established OSA diagnosis. The objective of this genetic-epidemiologic study is to study families ascertained from a general rural population to determine an unbiased estimate of OSA heritability. We studied a sample of families living in Baependi, a small rural southeastern Brazilian city. Participants were assessed for anthropometric measurements, physical examination, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, blood samples for glucose and cholesterol determination, and overnight home portable monitoring. We studied 587 participants (399 women) from 91 families, with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) of 4 (2-8) participants per family. The median age of the population was 44 years (IQR, 29-55 years) and median BMI was 25.0 kg/m(2) (IQR, 22.1-28.6 kg/m(2)). OSA, defined by apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) > 5/h, was diagnosed in 18.6% of the sample. Two polygenic models, model I (no covariate effects) and model II (with covariate effects), were fitted to the data in all analyses. Heritability estimates for AHI were 0.23 and 0.25 for model I and II, respectively. Covariates (age, sex, and BMI) showed no significant effects on the heritability estimate for AHI. The heritability of AHI in a rural population with low levels of obesity is intermediate (25%). Copyright © 2016 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. [Epigenetics: Paramecium as a model system].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Eric; Beisson, Janine

    2005-04-01

    Since the middle of the last century, Paramecium has appeared as an intriguing genetic model, displaying a variety of heritable characters which do not follow the Mendel laws but are cytoplasmically inherited. The analysis of the hereditary mechanisms at play in this eukaryotic unicellular organism has provided new insight into epigenetics mechanisms. Interestingly, the revealing phenomena concern two pecularities of Paramecium, its highly elaborate surface structure (with thousands of ciliary basal bodies as cytoskeleton organizers), and its nuclear dualism (coexistence of a diploid "germline" micronucleus and a highly polyploid somatic macronucleus devoted to transcription, which contains a rearranged version of the germline genome). Analysis of variant cortical organization has led to the concept of structural inheritance, implying that assembly of new organelles and supramolecular protein complexes is guided by pre-existing organization. Analysis of other cytoplasmically inherited characters revealed that the developing macronucleus is epigenetically programmed by the maternal macronucleus through RNA-mediated, homology-dependent effects, suggesting the transcriptome should be recognized as a third actor in cellular inheritance, along with the "structurome" and the genome.

  14. Heritable and non-heritable pathways to early callous-unemotional behaviors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hyde, Luke W.; Waller, Rebecca; Trentacosta, Christopher J.; Shaw, Daniel S.; Neiderhiser, Jenae M.; Ganiban, Jody M.; Reiss, David; Leve, Leslie D.

    2016-01-01

    Objective Callous-unemotional behaviors in early childhood identify children at high risk for severe trajectories of antisocial behavior and callous-unemotional traits that culminate in later diagnoses of conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy. Studies have demonstrated high heritability of callous-unemotional traits, but little research has examined specific heritable pathways to earlier callous-unemotional behaviors. Additionally, studies indicate that positive parenting protects against the development of callous-unemotional traits, but genetically informed designs have not been used to confirm that these relationships are not the product of gene-environment correlations. Method Using an adoption cohort of 561 families, biological mothers reported their history of severe antisocial behavior. Observations of adoptive mother positive reinforcement at 18 months were examined as predictors of callous-unemotional behaviors when children were 27 months old. Results Biological mother antisocial behavior predicted early callous-unemotional behaviors despite having no or limited contact with offspring. Adoptive mother positive reinforcement protected against early callous-unemotional behaviors in children not genetically related to the parent. High levels of adoptive mother positive reinforcement buffered the effects of heritable risk for callous-unemotional behaviors posed by biological mother antisocial behavior. Conclusions The findings elucidate heritable and non-heritable pathways to early callous-unemotional behaviors. The results provide a specific heritable pathway to callous-unemotional behaviors and compelling evidence that parenting is an important non-heritable factor in the development of callous-unemotional behaviors. As positive reinforcement buffered heritable risk for callous-unemotional behaviors, these findings have important translational implications for the prevention of trajectories to serious antisocial behavior. PMID

  15. 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.

  16. Epigenetics and pharmacology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanska, Barbara; MacEwan, David J

    2015-01-01

    Recent advances in the understanding of gene regulation have shown there to be much more regulation of the genome than first thought, through epigenetic mechanisms. These epigenetic mechanisms are systems that have evolved to either switch off gene activity altogether, or fine-tune any existing genetic activation. Such systems are present in all genes and include chromatin modifications and remodelling, DNA methylation (such as CpG island methylation rates) and histone covalent modifications (e.g. acetylation, methylation), RNA interference by short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). These systems regulate genomic activity ‘beyond’ simple transcriptional factor inducer or repressor function of genes to generate mRNA. Epigenetic regulation of gene activity has been shown to be important in maintaining normal phenotypic activity of cells, as well as having a role in development and diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's. Newer classes of drugs regulate epigenetic mechanisms to counteract disease states in humans. The reports in this issue describe some advances in epigenetic understanding that relate to human disease, and our ability to control these mechanisms by pharmacological means. Increasingly the importance of epigenetics is being uncovered – it is pharmacology that will have to keep pace. PMID:25966315

  17. Epigenetic Diabetic Vascular Complications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ali Ahmadzadeh-Amiri

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Diabetic vascular complications (DVC influence several vital organ systems including cardiovascular, renal, ocular and nervous systems making it a major public health problem. Although extensive researches were performed in this field, the exact mechanisms responsible for these organ damages in diabetes remain obscure. Several metabolic disturbances have been involved in its complication and change in genes associated with these pathways occurred. Gene expression to produce a biologically active protein can be controlled by transcriptional and translational alteration on the head of genes without change in nucleotide composition. These epigenetic adjustments are steady, but possibly reversible and can be transmitted to future generation. Gene expression can be regulated by three epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation, histone modifications and noncoding microRNAs (miRNAs activity. Epigenetic studies must be directed to better realize the role of epigenetic changes to the etiology of DVC and knowledge of epigenetic would play a pivotal role in the application of individualized medicine. Application and development of high technology sequencing combined with more sensitive and advanced methodologies for epigenome studying help to determine specific epigenetic events that stimulate gene responses in patients with diabetes mellitus.

  18. Introduction: epigenetics and cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herceg, Zdenko; Ushijima, Toshikazu

    2010-01-01

    The field of epigenetics has witnessed a recent explosion in our knowledge on the importance of epigenetic events in the control of both normal cellular processes and abnormal events associated with diseases, moving this field to the forefront of biomedical research. Advances in the field of cancer epigenetics and epigenomics have turned academic, medical, and public attention to the potential application of epigenetics in cancer control. A tremendous pace of discovery in this field requires that these recent conceptual breakthroughs and technological state-of-the-art in epigenetics and epigenomics are updated and summarized in one book with cancer focus. This book is primarily intended to academic and professional audience; however, an attempt has been made to make it understandable by and appealing to a wider audience among healthcare workers. The main aim of this book is to produce an authoritative and comprehensive reference source in print and online, covering all critical aspects of epigenetics and epigenomics and their implications in cancer research. This book discusses the state of science and determines the future research needs, covering most recent advances, both conceptual and technological, and their implication for better understanding of molecular mechanisms of cancer development and progression, early detection, risk assessment, and prevention of cancer. In this chapter, we describe the main aim and scope of this book and provide a brief emphasis of each of 22 chapters regrouped into eight major parts. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Epigenetics and pharmacology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanska, Barbara; MacEwan, David J

    2015-06-01

    Recent advances in the understanding of gene regulation have shown there to be much more regulation of the genome than first thought, through epigenetic mechanisms. These epigenetic mechanisms are systems that have evolved to either switch off gene activity altogether, or fine-tune any existing genetic activation. Such systems are present in all genes and include chromatin modifications and remodelling, DNA methylation (such as CpG island methylation rates) and histone covalent modifications (e.g. acetylation, methylation), RNA interference by short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). These systems regulate genomic activity 'beyond' simple transcriptional factor inducer or repressor function of genes to generate mRNA. Epigenetic regulation of gene activity has been shown to be important in maintaining normal phenotypic activity of cells, as well as having a role in development and diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's. Newer classes of drugs regulate epigenetic mechanisms to counteract disease states in humans. The reports in this issue describe some advances in epigenetic understanding that relate to human disease, and our ability to control these mechanisms by pharmacological means. Increasingly the importance of epigenetics is being uncovered - it is pharmacology that will have to keep pace. © 2015 The British Pharmacological Society.

  20. Phenotype as Agent for Epigenetic Inheritance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John S. Torday

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available The conventional understanding of phenotype is as a derivative of descent with modification through Darwinian random mutation and natural selection. Recent research has revealed Lamarckian inheritance as a major transgenerational mechanism for environmental action on genomes whose extent is determined, in significant part, by germ line cells during meiosis and subsequent stages of embryological development. In consequence, the role of phenotype can productively be reconsidered. The possibility that phenotype is directed towards the effective acquisition of epigenetic marks in consistent reciprocation with the environment during the life cycle of an organism is explored. It is proposed that phenotype is an active agent in niche construction for the active acquisition of epigenetic marks as a dominant evolutionary mechanism rather than a consequence of Darwinian selection towards reproductive success. The reproductive phase of the life cycle can then be appraised as a robust framework in which epigenetic inheritance is entrained to affect growth and development in continued reciprocal responsiveness to environmental stresses. Furthermore, as first principles of physiology determine the limits of epigenetic inheritance, a coherent justification can thereby be provided for the obligate return of all multicellular eukaryotes to the unicellular state.

  1. The Epigenetic Landscape of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emma Conway O’Brien

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Acute myeloid leukemia (AML is a genetically heterogeneous disease. Certain cytogenetic and molecular genetic mutations are recognized to have an impact on prognosis, leading to their inclusion in some prognostic stratification systems. Recently, the advent of high-throughput whole genome or exome sequencing has led to the identification of several novel recurrent mutations in AML, a number of which have been found to involve genes concerned with epigenetic regulation. These genes include in particular DNMT3A, TET2, and IDH1/2, involved with regulation of DNA methylation, and EZH2 and ASXL-1, which are implicated in regulation of histones. However, the precise mechanisms linking these genes to AML pathogenesis have yet to be fully elucidated as has their respective prognostic relevance. As massively parallel DNA sequencing becomes increasingly accessible for patients, there is a need for clarification of the clinical implications of these mutations. This review examines the literature surrounding the biology of these epigenetic modifying genes with regard to leukemogenesis and their clinical and prognostic relevance in AML when mutated.

  2. Regenerant Arabidopsis lineages display a distinct genome-wide spectrum of mutations conferring variant phenotypes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Caifu; Mithani, Aziz; Gan, Xiangchao; Belfield, Eric J; Klingler, John P; Zhu, Jian-Kang; Ragoussis, Jiannis; Mott, Richard; Harberd, Nicholas P

    2011-08-23

    Multicellular organisms can be regenerated from totipotent differentiated somatic cell or nuclear founders [1-3]. Organisms regenerated from clonally related isogenic founders might a priori have been expected to be phenotypically invariant. However, clonal regenerant animals display variant phenotypes caused by defective epigenetic reprogramming of gene expression [2], and clonal regenerant plants exhibit poorly understood heritable phenotypic ("somaclonal") variation [4-7]. Here we show that somaclonal variation in regenerant Arabidopsis lineages is associated with genome-wide elevation in DNA sequence mutation rate. We also show that regenerant mutations comprise a distinctive molecular spectrum of base substitutions, insertions, and deletions that probably results from decreased DNA repair fidelity. Finally, we show that while regenerant base substitutions are a likely major genetic cause of the somaclonal variation of regenerant Arabidopsis lineages, transposon movement is unlikely to contribute substantially to that variation. We conclude that the phenotypic variation of regenerant plants, unlike that of regenerant animals, is substantially due to DNA sequence mutation. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Regenerant arabidopsis lineages display a distinct genome-wide spectrum of mutations conferring variant phenotypes

    KAUST Repository

    Jiang, Caifu

    2011-07-28

    Multicellular organisms can be regenerated from totipotent differentiated somatic cell or nuclear founders [1-3]. Organisms regenerated from clonally related isogenic founders might a priori have been expected to be phenotypically invariant. However, clonal regenerant animals display variant phenotypes caused by defective epigenetic reprogramming of gene expression [2], and clonal regenerant plants exhibit poorly understood heritable phenotypic ("somaclonal") variation [4-7]. Here we show that somaclonal variation in regenerant Arabidopsis lineages is associated with genome-wide elevation in DNA sequence mutation rate. We also show that regenerant mutations comprise a distinctive molecular spectrum of base substitutions, insertions, and deletions that probably results from decreased DNA repair fidelity. Finally, we show that while regenerant base substitutions are a likely major genetic cause of the somaclonal variation of regenerant Arabidopsis lineages, transposon movement is unlikely to contribute substantially to that variation. We conclude that the phenotypic variation of regenerant plants, unlike that of regenerant animals, is substantially due to DNA sequence mutation. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Genetic and epigenetic drivers of neuroendocrine tumours (NET).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di Domenico, Annunziata; Wiedmer, Tabea; Marinoni, Ilaria; Perren, Aurel

    2017-09-01

    Neuroendocrine tumours (NET) of the gastrointestinal tract and the lung are a rare and heterogeneous group of tumours. The molecular characterization and the clinical classification of these tumours have been evolving slowly and show differences according to organs of origin. Novel technologies such as next-generation sequencing revealed new molecular aspects of NET over the last years. Notably, whole-exome/genome sequencing (WES/WGS) approaches underlined the very low mutation rate of well-differentiated NET of all organs compared to other malignancies, while the engagement of epigenetic changes in driving NET evolution is emerging. Indeed, mutations in genes encoding for proteins directly involved in chromatin remodelling, such as DAXX and ATRX are a frequent event in NET. Epigenetic changes are reversible and targetable; therefore, an attractive target for treatment. The discovery of the mechanisms underlying the epigenetic changes and the implication on gene and miRNA expression in the different subgroups of NET may represent a crucial change in the diagnosis of this disease, reveal new therapy targets and identify predictive markers. Molecular profiles derived from omics data including DNA mutation, methylation, gene and miRNA expression have already shown promising results in distinguishing clinically and molecularly different subtypes of NET. In this review, we recapitulate the major genetic and epigenetic characteristics of pancreatic, lung and small intestinal NET and the affected pathways. We also discuss potential epigenetic mechanisms leading to NET development. © 2017 Society for Endocrinology.

  5. Heritability of Drought Adaptive Traits and Relationships with Grain ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    estimate: (i) broad-sense heritability of each tested trait; and (ii) relationships between grain yield and drought adaptive traits. The broad sense heritabilities of flowering traits were relatively high across all growing conditions. In contrast, the heritability for number of ears per plant (EPP) increased with increasing plant ...

  6. Causes and consequences of obesity: epigenetics or hypokinesis?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham MR

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Michael R Graham,1 Julien S Baker,2 Bruce Davies3 1Llantarnam Research Academy, Cwmbran, Torfaen, UK; 2Exercise Science Research Laboratory, Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, School of Science, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK; 3Science Department, University of South Wales, Newport, UKEpigenetics can be defined as the study of heritable changes that affect gene function without modification of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA sequence.1 The transfer of epigenetic marks through generations is not well understood, and their transmission is in dispute.2 Epigenetic marks are tissue-specific and include DNA methylation and histone modifications that mediate biological processes, such as imprinting (Figure 1. Many imprinted genes are regulators of gene expression controlling growth. Imprinting disorders often feature obesity as one of their characteristics.3

  7. Epigenetic genome-wide association methylation in aging and longevity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ben-Avraham, Danny; Muzumdar, Radhika H; Atzmon, Gil

    2012-10-01

    The aging phenotype is the result of a complex interaction between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that epigenetic changes (i.e., a set of reversible, heritable changes in gene function or other cell phenotype that occurs without a change in DNA sequence) may affect the aging process and may be one of the central mechanisms by which aging predisposes to many age-related diseases. The total number of altered methylation sites increases with increasing age, such that they could serve as marker for chronological age. This article systematically highlights the advances made in the field of epigenomics and their contribution to the understanding of the complex physiology of aging, lifespan and age-associated diseases.

  8. Epigenetic genome-wide association methylation in aging and longevity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ben-Avraham, Danny; Muzumdar, Radhika H; Atzmon, Gil

    2014-01-01

    The aging phenotype is the result of a complex interaction between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that epigenetic changes (i.e., a set of reversible, heritable changes in gene function or other cell phenotype that occurs without a change in DNA sequence), may affect the aging process and may be one of the central mechanisms by which aging predisposes to many age-related diseases. The total number of altered methylation sites increases with increasing age, such that they could serve as marker for chronological age. This article systematically highlights the advances made in the field of epigenomics and their contribution to the understanding of the complex physiology of aging, lifespan and age-associated diseases. PMID:23130832

  9. The epigenetic switches for neural development and psychiatric disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lv, Jingwen; Xin, Yongjuan; Zhou, Wenhao; Qiu, Zilong

    2013-07-20

    The most remarkable feature of the nervous system is that the development and functions of the brain are largely reshaped by postnatal experiences, in joint with genetic landscapes. The nature vs. nurture argument reminds us that both genetic and epigenetic information is indispensable for the normal function of the brain. The epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in the central nervous system have been revealed over last a decade. Moreover, the mutations of epigenetic modulator genes have been shown to be implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders. The epigenetic study has initiated in the neuroscience field for a relative short period of time. In this review, we will summarize recent discoveries about epigenetic regulation on neural development, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, as well as neuropsychiatric disorders. Although the comprehensive view of how epigenetic regulation contributes to the function of the brain is still not completed, the notion that brain, the most complicated organ of organisms, is profoundly shaped by epigenetic switches is widely accepted. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  10. Combating the epigenome: epigenetic drugs against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassler, Melanie R; Schiefer, Ana-Iris; Egger, Gerda

    2013-08-01

    Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) comprise a large and diverse group of neoplasms of lymphocyte origin with heterogeneous molecular features and clinical manifestations. Current therapies are based on standard chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation or stem cell transplantation. The discovery of recurrent mutations in epigenetic enzymes, such as chromatin modifiers and DNA methyltransferases, has provided researchers with a rationale to develop novel inhibitors targeting these enzymes. Several clinical and preclinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of epigenetic drugs in NHL therapy and a few specific inhibitors have already been approved for clinical use. Here, we provide an overview of current NHL classification and a review of the present literature describing epigenetic alterations in NHL, including a summary of different epigenetic drugs, and their use in preclinical and clinical studies.

  11. Mitochondrial regulation of epigenetics and its role in human diseases

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Minocherhomji, Sheroy; Tollefsbol, Trygve O; Singh, Keshav K

    2012-01-01

    as the sole pathogenic factor suggesting that additional mechanisms contribute to lack of genotype and clinical phenotype correlationship. An increasing number of studies have identified a possible effect on the epigenetic landscape of the nuclear genome as a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction....... In particular, these studies demonstrate reversible or irreversible changes in genomic DNA methylation profiles of the nuclear genome. Here we review how mitochondria damage checkpoint (mitocheckpoint) induces epigenetic changes in the nucleus. Persistent pathogenic mutations in mtDNA may also lead...... to epigenetic changes causing genomic instability in the nuclear genome. We propose that "mitocheckpoint" mediated epigenetic and genetic changes may play key roles in phenotypic variation related to mitochondrial diseases or host of human diseases in which mitochondrial defect plays a primary role....

  12. Methylation of DNA is an epigenetic modification critical for gametic imprinting

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta Olszewska

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Differences in epigenetic patterns in male and female organisms highlight the key role of epigenetic mechanisms in development, initiated in gametogenesis. A consequence of imprinting is the expression of only one allele – maternal or paternal. Disturbances in imprinting cause genetic disorders (e.g., Angelman syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Silver-Russell syndrome or influence cancer development. Also immature gametes used in artificial reproductive technologies may increase the risk of genetic disorders in offspring. Imprinting is heritable and does not change during the lifetime of an organism.

  13. Environmentally responsive genome-wide accumulation of de novo Arabidopsis thaliana mutations and epimutations

    KAUST Repository

    Jiang, Caifu

    2014-10-14

    Evolution is fueled by phenotypic diversity, which is in turn due to underlying heritable genetic (and potentially epigenetic) variation. While environmental factors are well known to influence the accumulation of novel variation in microorganisms and human cancer cells, the extent to which the natural environment influences the accumulation of novel variation in plants is relatively unknown. Here we use whole-genome and whole-methylome sequencing to test if a specific environmental stress (high-salinity soil) changes the frequency and molecular profile of accumulated mutations and epimutations (changes in cytosine methylation status) in mutation accumulation (MA) lineages of Arabidopsis thaliana. We first show that stressed lineages accumulate ∼100% more mutations, and that these mutations exhibit a distinctive molecular mutational spectrum (specific increases in relative frequency of transversion and insertion/deletion [indel] mutations). We next show that stressed lineages accumulate ∼45% more differentially methylated cytosine positions (DMPs) at CG sites (CG-DMPs) than controls, and also show that while many (∼75%) of these CG-DMPs are inherited, some can be lost in subsequent generations. Finally, we show that stress-associated CG-DMPs arise more frequently in genic than in nongenic regions of the genome. We suggest that commonly encountered natural environmental stresses can accelerate the accumulation and change the profiles of novel inherited variants in plants. Our findings are significant because stress exposure is common among plants in the wild, and they suggest that environmental factors may significantly alter the rates and patterns of incidence of the inherited novel variants that fuel plant evolution.

  14. Environmentally responsive genome-wide accumulation of de novo Arabidopsis thaliana mutations and epimutations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Caifu; Mithani, Aziz; Belfield, Eric J; Mott, Richard; Hurst, Laurence D; Harberd, Nicholas P

    2014-11-01

    Evolution is fueled by phenotypic diversity, which is in turn due to underlying heritable genetic (and potentially epigenetic) variation. While environmental factors are well known to influence the accumulation of novel variation in microorganisms and human cancer cells, the extent to which the natural environment influences the accumulation of novel variation in plants is relatively unknown. Here we use whole-genome and whole-methylome sequencing to test if a specific environmental stress (high-salinity soil) changes the frequency and molecular profile of accumulated mutations and epimutations (changes in cytosine methylation status) in mutation accumulation (MA) lineages of Arabidopsis thaliana. We first show that stressed lineages accumulate ∼100% more mutations, and that these mutations exhibit a distinctive molecular mutational spectrum (specific increases in relative frequency of transversion and insertion/deletion [indel] mutations). We next show that stressed lineages accumulate ∼45% more differentially methylated cytosine positions (DMPs) at CG sites (CG-DMPs) than controls, and also show that while many (∼75%) of these CG-DMPs are inherited, some can be lost in subsequent generations. Finally, we show that stress-associated CG-DMPs arise more frequently in genic than in nongenic regions of the genome. We suggest that commonly encountered natural environmental stresses can accelerate the accumulation and change the profiles of novel inherited variants in plants. Our findings are significant because stress exposure is common among plants in the wild, and they suggest that environmental factors may significantly alter the rates and patterns of incidence of the inherited novel variants that fuel plant evolution. © 2014 Jiang et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  15. A Transcription Factor Pulse Can Prime Chromatin for Heritable Transcriptional Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iberg-Badeaux, Aimee; Collombet, Samuel; Laurent, Benoit; van Oevelen, Chris; Chin, Kuo-Kai; Thieffry, Denis; Graf, Thomas; Shi, Yang

    2017-02-15

    Short-term and long-term transcriptional memory is the phenomenon whereby the kinetics or magnitude of gene induction is enhanced following a prior induction period. Short-term memory persists within one cell generation or in postmitotic cells, while long-term memory can survive multiple rounds of cell division. We have developed a tissue culture model to study the epigenetic basis for long-term transcriptional memory (LTTM) and subsequently used this model to better understand the epigenetic mechanisms that enable heritable memory of temporary stimuli. We find that a pulse of transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPα) induces LTTM on a subset of target genes that survives nine cell divisions. The chromatin landscape at genes that acquire LTTM is more repressed than at those genes that do not exhibit memory, akin to a latent state. We show through chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and chemical inhibitor studies that RNA polymerase II (Pol II) elongation is important for establishing memory in this model but that Pol II itself is not retained as part of the memory mechanism. More generally, our work reveals that a transcription factor involved in lineage specification can induce LTTM and that failure to rerepress chromatin is one epigenetic mechanism underlying transcriptional memory. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  16. The role of mutation in the new cancer paradigm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Prehn Richmond T

    2005-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The almost universal belief that cancer is caused by mutation may gradually be giving way to the belief that cancer begins as a cellular adaptation that involves the local epigenetic silencing of various genes. In my own interpretation of the new epigenetic paradigm, the genes epigenetically suppressed are genes that normally serve in post-embryonic life to suppress and keep suppressed those other genes upon which embryonic development depends. Those other genes, if not silenced or suppressed in the post-embryonic animal, become, I suggest, the oncogenes that are the basis of neoplasia. Mutations that occur in silenced genes supposedly go unrepaired and are, therefore, postulated to accumulate, but such mutations probably play little or no causative role in neoplasia because they occur in already epigenetically silenced genes. These mutations probably often serve to make the silencing, and therefore the cancer, epigenetically irreversible.

  17. A Review of Epigenetic Markers of Tobacco and Alcohol Consumption.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Philibert, Robert; Erwin, Cheryl

    2015-10-01

    Over the past two decades, advances in genetic technologies have posed unexpected challenges to the ethical and legal framework guiding the application of the most recent advances in healthcare technologies. By and large, these challenges have been successfully met by the introduction by statutes such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). However, over the past several years, these advances in the ability to measure genetic (or heritable) contributions to medical illness have been joined by advances in epigenetic (or acquired) contributions to common medical illnesses. Unfortunately, the moral and legal framework for the use of these epigenetic technologies, which can objectively determine the presence of medical illnesses such as diabetes or the consumption of substances of abuse, is not as well developed. This communication provides an introduction to the fundamentals of epigenetics and then reviews how some of the latest advances in this technology can now be used to assess the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Next, the possible mechanisms through which these tools could be employed clinically are discussed. Finally, the authors outline the potential for misuse of this technology and suggest that well-informed policy could play a critical role in shaping the optimal implementation of epigenetic technologies. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  18. Epigenetics: a new player in the regulation of mammalian puberty.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rzeczkowska, Paulina A; Hou, Huayan; Wilson, Michael D; Palmert, Mark R

    2014-01-01

    All reproductively competent adults have gone through puberty. While key genes and signaling pathways that lead to the onset of sexual maturation are known, the molecular mechanisms that determine when an individual enters puberty are only beginning to be understood. Both genetic and environmental factors determine the timing of puberty. New advances in understanding how environmentally sensitive, yet highly heritable developmental processes are regulated have come from the field of epigenetics. Of note, studies investigating the epigenetic control of the onset of puberty suggest that epigenetic repression of key inhibitory loci may play a fundamental role in the initiation of puberty. Current technologies that not only read out the DNA sequence, but also determine how the DNA is modified in response to the environment, promise new insight into how puberty is regulated, including the identification and understanding of gene regulatory networks that control the biological pathways affecting pubertal timing. Here we review the findings to date and discuss how epigenetic investigation can further our understanding of this fundamental aspect of human development. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  19. Genetics and epigenetics of aging and longevity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moskalev, Alexey A; Aliper, Alexander M; Smit-McBride, Zeljka; Buzdin, Anton; Zhavoronkov, Alex

    2014-01-01

    Evolutionary theories of aging predict the existence of certain genes that provide selective advantage early in life with adverse effect on lifespan later in life (antagonistic pleiotropy theory) or longevity insurance genes (disposable soma theory). Indeed, the study of human and animal genetics is gradually identifying new genes that increase lifespan when overexpressed or mutated: gerontogenes. Furthermore, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are being identified that have a positive effect on longevity. The gerontogenes are classified as lifespan regulators, mediators, effectors, housekeeping genes, genes involved in mitochondrial function, and genes regulating cellular senescence and apoptosis. In this review we demonstrate that the majority of the genes as well as genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that are involved in regulation of longevity are highly interconnected and related to stress response.

  20. Epigenetic Therapy Leaps Ahead with Specific Targeting of EZH2

    OpenAIRE

    Melnick, Ari

    2012-01-01

    The Polycomb epigenetic silencing protein EZH2 is affected by gain-of-function somatic mutations in B cell lymphomas. Two recent reports describe the development of highly selective EZH2 inhibitors and reveal mutant EZH2 as playing an essential role in maintaining lymphoma proliferation. EZH2 inhibitors are thus a promising new targeted therapy for lymphoma.

  1. Somatic alterations and dysregulation of epigenetic modifiers in cancers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aumann, Shlomzion; Abdel-Wahab, Omar

    2014-12-05

    Genomic discovery efforts in patients with cancer have been critical in identifying a recurrent theme of mutations in epigenetic modifiers. A number of novel and exciting basic biological findings have come from this work including the discovery of an enzymatic pathway for DNA cytosine demethylation, a link between cancer metabolism and epigenetics, and the critical importance of post-translational modifications at specific histone residues in malignant transformation. Identification of cancer cell dependency on a number of these mutations has quickly resulted in the development of therapies targeting several of these genetic alterations. This includes, the development of mutant-selective IDH1 and IDH2 inhibitors, DOT1L inhibitors for MLL rearranged leukemias, EZH2 inhibitors for several cancer types, and the development of bromodomain inhibitors for many cancer types--all of which are in early phase clinical trials. In many cases, however, specific genetic targets linked to malignant transformation following mutations in individual epigenetic modifiers are not yet known. In this review we present functional evidence of how alterations in frequently mutated epigenetic modifiers promote malignant transformation and how these alterations are being targeted for cancer therapeutics. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Epigenetic Contributions to the Relationship between Cancer and Dietary Intake of Nutrients, Bioactive Food Components, and Environmental Toxicants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Su, L Joseph; Mahabir, Somdat; Ellison, Gary L; McGuinn, Laura A; Reid, Britt C

    2011-01-01

    Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Cancer is a multistep process derived from combinational crosstalk between genetic alterations and epigenetic influences through various environmental factors. The observation that epigenetic changes are reversible makes them an attractive target for cancer prevention. Until recently, there have been difficulties studying epigenetic mechanisms in interactions between dietary factors and environmental toxicants. The development of the field of cancer epigenetics during the past decade has been advanced rapidly by genome-wide technologies - which initially employed microarrays but increasingly are using high-throughput sequencing - which helped to improve the quality of the analysis, increase the capacity of sample throughput, and reduce the cost of assays. It is particularly true for applications of cancer epigenetics in epidemiologic studies that examine the relationship among diet, epigenetics, and cancer because of the issues of tissue heterogeneity, the often limiting amount of DNA samples, and the significant cost of the analyses. This review offers an overview of the state of the science in nutrition, environmental toxicants, epigenetics, and cancer to stimulate further exploration of this important and developing area of science. Additional epidemiologic research is needed to clarify the relationship between these complex epigenetic mechanisms and cancer.

  3. 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.

  4. Epigenetic changes in headache.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cámara, M S; Martín Bujanda, M; Mendioroz Iriarte, M

    2017-12-23

    Multiple factors, including both genetic and environmental mechanisms, appear to play a role in the aetiology of headache. An interesting area of study is the possible involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in headache development and the transformation to chronic headache, and the potential role of these factors as a therapeutic target. We performed a literature review of the involvement of different epigenetic mechanisms in headache, mainly using the Medline/PubMed database. To this end, we used the following English search terms: headache, migraine, epigenetics, DNA methylation, histones, non-coding RNA, and miRNA. A total of 15 English-language publications related to the above terms were obtained. There is limited but consistent evidence of the relationship between epigenetics and headache; it is therefore essential to continue research of epigenetic changes in headache. This may help to understand the pathophysiology of headache and even to identify candidate biomarkers and new, more effective, therapeutic targets. Copyright © 2017 Sociedad Española de Neurología. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  5. IBS: An epigenetic perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dinan, Timothy G; Cryan, John; Shanahan, Fergus; Keeling, P W Napoleon; Quigley, Eamonn M M

    2010-08-01

    IBS is a common and debilitating disorder. The pathophysiology of IBS is poorly understood and is currently viewed as a biopsychosocial disorder with symptoms mediated via the brain-gut axis. Epidemiological studies of IBS point to risk factors such as familial clustering, sexual abuse and other forms of childhood trauma, low birth weight and gastrointestinal infection. Epigenetics focuses on the complex and dynamic interaction between the DNA sequence, DNA modifications and environmental factors, all of which combine to produce the phenotype. Studies in animal models of early stress and in humans who have experienced childhood trauma or abuse suggest that these events can lead to long-lasting epigenetic changes in the glucocorticoid receptor gene brought about by hypermethylation of a key regulatory component. Animal studies also indicate that the microbiota has a pivotal role in programming the core stress system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system through epigenetic mechanisms. In this Perspectives, an epigenetic model of IBS is presented that incorporates many of the current findings regarding IBS, including proinflammatory markers, neuroendocrine alterations and links with both psychosocial stress and stress related to infection. We conclude that applying epigenetic methodology to this common and disabling disorder may help unravel its complex pathophysiology and lead to more effective treatments.

  6. Epigenetics in rheumatoid arthritis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Kerstin; Gay, Steffen

    2015-01-01

    To give an overview of recently published articles addressing the role of epigenetic modifications in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here we focused on DNA methylation and posttranslational histone modifications. Recent studies attempted to link epigenetic modifications with genetic or environmental risk factors for RA. There is evidence that histone deacetylases confer effects of environmental triggers such as smoking, diet or therapy on expression levels of target genes. Additionally, disturbed methylation patterns and cell-type specific histone methylation marks were identified as potential mediators of genetic risk in RA. Altered methylome signatures were found in several cell types in RA, first of all RA synovial fibroblasts, and contribute to the intrinsic fibroblast activation. The reversal of DNA hypomethylation by inhibiting the polyamine recycling pathway was suggested as new epigenetic therapy in RA. Moreover, targeting epigenetic reader proteins, such as bromodomain proteins, emerged as a new field in drug development and the first studies underscored the potential of these drugs not only in malignant and inflammatory conditions but also in autoimmune diseases. Epigenetic factors represent a promising area to link genetics, regulation of gene expression and environmental risk factors.

  7. Heritability of somatotype components: a multivariate analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peeters, M W; Thomis, M A; Loos, R J F; Derom, C A; Fagard, R; Claessens, A L; Vlietinck, R F; Beunen, G P

    2007-08-01

    To study the genetic and environmental determination of variation in Heath-Carter somatotype (ST) components (endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy). Multivariate path analysis on twin data. Eight hundred and three members of 424 adult Flemish twin pairs (18-34 years of age). The results indicate the significance of sex differences and the significance of the covariation between the three ST components. After age-regression, variation of the population in ST components and their covariation is explained by additive genetic sources of variance (A), shared (familial) environment (C) and unique environment (E). In men, additive genetic sources of variance explain 28.0% (CI 8.7-50.8%), 86.3% (71.6-90.2%) and 66.5% (37.4-85.1%) for endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy, respectively. For women, corresponding values are 32.3% (8.9-55.6%), 82.0% (67.7-87.7%) and 70.1% (48.9-81.8%). For all components in men and women, more than 70% of the total variation was explained by sources of variance shared between the three components, emphasising the importance of analysing the ST in a multivariate way. The findings suggest that the high heritabilities for mesomorphy and ectomorphy reported in earlier twin studies in adolescence are maintained in adulthood. For endomorphy, which represents a relative measure of subcutaneous adipose tissue, however, the results suggest heritability may be considerably lower than most values reported in earlier studies on adolescent twins. The heritability is also lower than values reported for, for example, body mass index (BMI), which next to the weight of organs and adipose tissue also includes muscle and bone tissue. Considering the differences in heritability between musculoskeletal robustness (mesomorphy) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (endomorphy) it may be questioned whether studying the genetics of BMI will eventually lead to a better understanding of the genetics of fatness, obesity and overweight.

  8. Epigenetics and etiology of neurodegenerative diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Beata M. Gruber

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Determination of specific gene profile expression is essential for morphological and functional differentiation of cells in the human organism. The human genome consists of 25–30 thousands genes but only some of them are expressed in each cell. Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, histone and chromatin modifications or non-coding RNA functions are also responsible for the unique gene expression patterns. It is suggested that transcriptional gene activation is related to hypomethylation and the transcriptionally non-active sequences are hypermethylated. Covalent histone modifications and DNA methylation are correlated and interacting. Chromatin modeling is regulated not only by specific enzymes but also by protein kinases or phosphatases and coactivators, such as CBP. Such interaction makes the “histone code” which with the chromatin proteins determines gene expression patterns as the response to external agents. Evidence of a major role for epigenetic modifications in neurological disease has come from three converging lines of enquiry: high conservation throughout evolution of the histone residues that are the target for epigenetic modifications; association between mutations in epigenetic components and multisystem disease syndrome in the nervous system; and broad efficacy of small-molecule epigenetic modulators, e.g. histone deacetylase inhibitors, in models of neurological diseases incurable up to now, such as Huntington’s disease, (HD, Parkinson’s disease (PD and Alzheimer’s disease (AD. This article is a survey of the literature concerning the characterization of gene expression patterns correlated with some neurodegenerative diseases. The processes of DNA hypomethylation and histone acetylation are emphasized. The histone deacetylases are indicated as the basis for design of potential drugs.

  9. Epigenetic perturbation driving asleep telomerase reverse transcriptase: Possible therapeutic avenues in carcinoma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Ajay; Nilednu, Pritish; Kumar, Azad; Sharma, Nilesh Kumar

    2017-03-01

    In the last decade, implications of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), a component of ribonucleoprotein telomerase in aging, senescence, and stem cell are highly evident. Besides, the activation of hTERT is also being documented several cancer types including carcinoma. The awakening of telomerase during carcinoma initiation and development is being seen with different perspectives including genetic and epigenetic tools and events. In view of several tumor progenitors genes (also referred as epigenetic mediators), telomerase is placed as key enzyme to achieve the carcinoma phenotype and sustain during the progression. It is true that swaying of telomerase in carcinoma could be facilitated with dedicated set of epigenetic modulators and modifiers players. These epigenetic alterations are heritable, potentially reversible, and seen as the epigenetic signature of carcinoma. Several papers converge to suggest that DNA methylation, histone modification, and small non-coding RNAs are the widely appreciated epigenetic changes towards hTERT modulation. In this review, we summarize the contribution of epigenetic factors in the telomerase activation and discuss potential avenues to achieve therapeutic intervention in carcinoma.

  10. 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

  11. Epigenetics and lifestyle

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    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 microRNA expression. Several lifestyle factors have been identified that might modify epigenetic patterns, such as diet, obesity, physical activity, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental pollutants, psychological stress, and working on night shifts. Most 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. Here, we review current evidence indicating that lifestyle factors might affect human health via epigenetic mechanisms. PMID:22122337

  12. Models of epigenetics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alsing, Anne

    genomic material can show quiet diverse phenotypes characterized by organ speci c gene expression patterns. The mechanisms responsible for this phenotypic plasticity are characterized as epigenetic, as they in ict their e ect \\epi-" (Greek for \\above" or \\on top") of the genetic code. For a gene...... regulatory mechanism to be classi ed as epigenetic, it is required that it is self-sustainable in the sense that the governed gene expression or repression should prevail for the lifetime of the cell and must be inherited by possible daughter cells. An example of epigenetic di erentiation is the bistable...... the DNA into chromatin structures. Once established the patterns may be conserved over many cell generations. The self-sustainable nature of the patterns is attributed to the cis-acting mechanism of read-write enzymes that facilitates the same histone modi cations as they recognize. Developing olfactory...

  13. Epigenetics and psychostimulant addiction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Heath D; McGinty, Jacqueline F; West, Anne E; Sadri-Vakili, Ghazaleh

    2013-03-01

    Chronic drug exposure alters gene expression in the brain and produces long-term changes in neural networks that underlie compulsive drug taking and seeking. Exactly how drug-induced changes in synaptic plasticity and subsequent gene expression are translated into persistent neuroadaptations remains unclear. Emerging evidence suggests that complex drug-induced neuroadaptations in the brain are mediated by highly synchronized and dynamic patterns of gene regulation. Recently, it has become clear that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to drug-induced structural, synaptic, and behavioral plasticity by regulating expression of gene networks. Here we review how alterations in histone modifications, DNA methylation, and microRNAs regulate gene expression and contribute to psychostimulant addiction with a focus on the epigenetic mechanisms that regulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression following chronic cocaine exposure. Identifying epigenetic signatures that define psychostimulant addiction may lead to novel, efficacious treatments for drug craving and relapse.

  14. Epigenetics of colorectal cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goel, Ajay; Boland, C Richard

    2012-12-01

    In the early years of the molecular biology revolution, cancer research was mainly focused on genetic changes (ie, those that altered DNA sequences). Although this has been extremely useful as our understanding of the pathogenesis and biology of cancer has grown and matured, there is another realm in tumor development that does not involve changing the sequence of cellular DNA. This field is called "epigenetics" and broadly encompasses changes in the methylation of cytosines in DNA, changes in histone and chromatin structure, and alterations in the expression of microRNAs, which control the stability of many messenger RNAs and serve as "master regulators" of gene expression. This review focuses on the epigenetics of colorectal cancer and illustrates the impact epigenetics has had on this field. Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Treatment of the yeast Rhodotorula glutinis with AlCl(3) leads to adaptive acquirement of heritable aluminum resistance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tani, A; Zhang, D; Duine, J A; Kawai, F

    2004-08-01

    When aluminum (Al) was added to a culture, growth of Rhodotorula glutinis IFO1125 was temporarily arrested, showing longer lag phases, depending on the Al concentrations (50-300 microM) added, but the growth rates were not affected at all. Resistant strains obtained by one round of plate treatment containing Al reverted the resistance level to the wild-type level when cultivated without Al. Repeated Al treatments, however, induced heritable and stable Al resistance, the level of which was increased up to 4,000 microM by stepwise increments in Al concentrations. Thus, the heritable Al resistance adaptively acquired was due neither to adaptation nor to mutation, but to a mechanism which has yet to be studied. Heritable Al resistance seemed to release the Al inhibition of magnesium uptake.

  16. Epigenetics and addiction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cadet, J L; McCoy, M T; Jayanthi, S

    2016-05-01

    Addictions are public health menaces. However, despite advances in addiction research, the cellular or molecular mechanisms that cause transition from recreational use to addiction remain to be elucidated. We have recently suggested that addiction may be secondary to long-term epigenetic modifications that determine the clinical course of substance use disorders. A better understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in animal models that mimic human conditions should help to usher in a new area of drug development against addiction. Published 2016. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  17. 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

  18. Nature, Nurture and Epigenetics

    OpenAIRE

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

    2014-01-01

    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...

  19. Lessons from model organisms: phenotypic robustness and missing heritability in complex disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine Queitsch

    Full Text Available Genetically tractable model organisms from phages to mice have taught us invaluable lessons about fundamental biological processes and disease-causing mutations. Owing to technological and computational advances, human biology and the causes of human diseases have become accessible as never before. Progress in identifying genetic determinants for human diseases has been most remarkable for Mendelian traits. In contrast, identifying genetic determinants for complex diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases has remained challenging, despite the fact that these diseases cluster in families. Hundreds of variants associated with complex diseases have been found in genome-wide association studies (GWAS, yet most of these variants explain only a modest amount of the observed heritability, a phenomenon known as "missing heritability." The missing heritability has been attributed to many factors, mainly inadequacies in genotyping and phenotyping. We argue that lessons learned about complex traits in model organisms offer an alternative explanation for missing heritability in humans. In diverse model organisms, phenotypic robustness differs among individuals, and those with decreased robustness show increased penetrance of mutations and express previously cryptic genetic variation. We propose that phenotypic robustness also differs among humans and that individuals with lower robustness will be more responsive to genetic and environmental perturbations and hence susceptible to disease. Phenotypic robustness is a quantitative trait that can be accurately measured in model organisms, but not as yet in humans. We propose feasible approaches to measure robustness in large human populations, proof-of-principle experiments for robustness markers in model organisms, and a new GWAS design that takes differences in robustness into account.

  20. Epigenetic signatures of obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ozanne, Susan E

    2015-03-05

    A study in drosophila shows that the progeny of male flies briefly fed a diet with abnormally high or low sugar levels are more susceptible to obesity. The data suggest that epigenetic susceptibility factors are at play not only in flies but in humans and mice as well.

  1. Epigenetics and diabetes mellitus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammed K Rehan

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetic mechanisms were shown to be involved in the control of endocrine cell fate decision, islet differentiation, β-cell identity, proliferation, and mature function. The pathologic mechanisms involved in the development of type 1 diabetes may include DNA methylation, histone modification, microRNA, and molecular mimicry. These mechanisms may act through the regulation of gene expression.

  2. 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 ...

  3. Commentary: Epigenetics of heterochromatin

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Home; Journals; Journal of Biosciences; Volume 29; Issue 3. Commentary: Epigenetics of heterochromatin. Subhash C Lakhotia. Volume 29 Issue 3 September 2004 pp 219-224. Fulltext. Click here to view fulltext PDF. Permanent link: http://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jbsc/029/03/0219-0224. Author Affiliations. Subhash C ...

  4. Epigenetics and Future Generations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Del Savio, Lorenzo; Loi, Michele; Stupka, Elia

    2015-10-01

    Recent evidence of intergenerational epigenetic programming of disease risk broadens the scope of public health preventive interventions to future generations, i.e. non existing people. Due to the transmission of epigenetic predispositions, lifestyles such as smoking or unhealthy diet might affect the health of populations across several generations. While public policy for the health of future generations can be justified through impersonal considerations, such as maximizing aggregate well-being, in this article we explore whether there are rights-based obligations supervening on intergenerational epigenetic programming despite the non-identity argument, which challenges this rationale in case of policies that affect the number and identity of future people. We propose that rights based obligations grounded in the interests of non-existing people might fall upon existing people when generations overlap. In particular, if environmental exposure in F0 (i.e. existing people) will affect the health of F2 (i.e. non-existing people) through epigenetic programming, then F1 (i.e. existing and overlapping with both F0 and F2) might face increased costs to address F2's condition in the future: this might generate obligations upon F0 from various distributive principles, such as the principle of equal opportunity for well being. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  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. Epigenetics and memigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, Jeffrey R

    2014-04-01

    The field of epigenetics is expanding rapidly, yet there is persistent uncertainty in the definition of the term. The word was coined in the mid-twentieth century as a descriptor of how intrinsic, yet largely unknown, forces act with genes to channel progenitor cells along pathways of differentiation. Near the end of the twentieth century, epigenetics was defined more specifically as the study of changes in gene activity states. In some definitions, only those activity states that are inherited across cell division were considered. Other definitions were broader, also including activity states that are transient, or occurring in non-dividing cells. The greatest point of disagreement in these current definitions, is if the term should concern only inherited activity states. To alleviate this disparity, an alternative term, 'memigenetics', could be used in place of epigenetics to describe inherited chromatin activity states. The advantage of this term is that it is self-defining, and would serve to emphasize the important concept of cell memory. It would also free the term epigenetics to be used in a broader sense in accord with the meaning of the prefix 'epi', that is, as a descriptor of what is 'over' DNA at any point in time.

  7. Sex differences in brain epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menger, Yannick; Bettscheider, Marc; Murgatroyd, Chris; Spengler, Dietmar

    2010-12-01

    Sexual differentiation of the brain takes place during a perinatal-sensitive time window as a result of gonadal hormone-induced activational and organizational effects on neuronal substrates. Increasing evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms can contribute to the establishment and maintenance of some aspects of these processes, and that these epigenetic mechanisms may themselves be under the control of sex hormones. Epigenetic programming of neuroendocrine and behavioral phenotypes frequently occurs sex specifically, pointing to sex differences in brain epigenetics as a possible determinant. Understanding how sex-specific epigenomes and sex-biased responses to environmental cues contribute to the development of brain diseases might provide new insights for epigenetic therapy.

  8. Minireview: Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Focus on Endocrine Disrupting Compounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rissman, Emilie F.

    2014-01-01

    The idea that what we eat, feel, and experience influences our physical and mental state and can be transmitted to our offspring and even to subsequent generations has been in the popular realm for a long time. In addition to classic gene mutations, we now recognize that some mechanisms for inheritance do not require changes in DNA. The field of epigenetics has provided a new appreciation for the variety of ways biological traits can be transmitted to subsequent generations. Thus, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has emerged as a new area of research. We have four goals for this minireview. First, we describe the topic and some of the nomenclature used in the literature. Second, we explain the major epigenetic mechanisms implicated in transgenerational inheritance. Next, we examine some of the best examples of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, with an emphasis on those produced by exposing the parental generation to endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs). Finally, we discuss how whole-genome profiling approaches can be used to identify aberrant epigenomic features and gain insight into the mechanism of EDC-mediated transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Our goal is to educate readers about the range of possible epigenetic mechanisms that exist and encourage researchers to think broadly and apply multiple genomic and epigenomic technologies to their work. PMID:24885575

  9. The epigenetic dimension of Alzheimer's disease: causal, consequence, or curiosity?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, Mark J

    2014-09-01

    Early-onset, familial Alzheimer's disease (AD) is rare and may be attributed to disease-causinq mutations. By contrast, late onset, sporadic (non-Mendelian) AD is far more prevalent and reflects the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors, together with the disruption of epigenetic mechanisms controlling gene expression. Accordingly, abnormal patterns of histone acetylation and methylation, as well as anomalies in global and promoter-specific DNA methylation, have been documented in AD patients, together with a deregulation of noncoding RNA. In transgenic mouse models for AD, epigenetic dysfunction is likewise apparent in cerebral tissue, and it has been directly linked to cognitive and behavioral deficits in functional studies. Importantly, epigenetic deregulation interfaces with core pathophysiological processes underlying AD: excess production of Aβ42, aberrant post-translational modification of tau, deficient neurotoxic protein clearance, axonal-synaptic dysfunction, mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis, and cell cycle re-entry. Reciprocally, DNA methylation, histone marks and the levels of diverse species of microRNA are modulated by Aβ42, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. In conclusion, epigenetic mechanisms are broadly deregulated in AD mainly upstream, but also downstream, of key pathophysiological processes. While some epigenetic shifts oppose the evolution of AD, most appear to drive its progression. Epigenetic changes are of irrefutable importance for AD, but they await further elucidation from the perspectives of pathogenesis, biomarkers and potential treatment.

  10. The promise and failures of epigenetic therapies for cancer treatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bojang, Pasano; Ramos, Kenneth S

    2014-02-01

    Genetic mutations and gross structural defects in the DNA sequence permanently alter genetic loci in ways that significantly disrupt gene function. In sharp contrast, genes modified by aberrant epigenetic modifications remain structurally intact and are subject to partial or complete reversal of modifications that restore the original (i.e. non-diseased) state. Such reversibility makes epigenetic modifications ideal targets for therapeutic intervention. The epigenome of cancer cells is extensively modified by specific hypermethylation of the promoters of tumor suppressor genes relative to the extensive hypomethylation of repetitive sequences, overall loss of acetylation, and loss of repressive marks at microsatellite/repeat regions. In this review, we discuss emerging therapies targeting specific epigenetic modifications or epigenetic modifying enzymes either alone or in combination with other treatment regimens. The limitations posed by cancer treatments elicit unintended epigenetic modifications that result in exacerbation of tumor progression are also discussed. Lastly, a brief discussion of the specificity restrictions posed by epigenetic therapies and ways to address such limitations is presented. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Heritability and intrafamilial aggregation of arterial characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seidlerová, Jitka; Bochud, Murielle; Staessen, Jan A.; Cwynar, Marcin; Dolejšová, Milena; Kuznetsova, Tatiana; Nawrot, Tim; Olszanecka, Agnieszka; Stolarz, Katarzyna; Thijs, Lutgarde; Wojciechowska, Wiktoria; Struijker-Boudier, Harry A.; Kawecka-Jaszcz, Kalina; Elston, Robert C.; Fagard, Robert; Filipovský, Jan

    2013-01-01

    Background We investigated the heritability and familial aggregation of various indexes of arterial stiffness and wave reflection and we partitioned the phenotypic correlation between these traits into shared genetic and environmental components. Methods Using a family-based population sample, we recruited 204 parents (mean age, 51.7 years) and 290 offspring (29.4 years) from the population in Cracow, Poland (62 families), Hechtel-Eksel, Belgium (36), and Pilsen, the Czech Republic (50). We measured peripheral pulse pressure (PPp) sphygmomanometrically at the brachial artery; central pulse pressure (PPc), the peripheral augmentation indexes (PAIxs) and central augmentation indexes (CAIxs) by applanation tonometry at the radial artery; and aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) by tonometry or ultrasound. In multivariate-adjusted analyses, we used the ASSOC and PROC GENMOD procedures as implemented in SAGE and SAS, respectively. Results We found significant heritability for PAIx, CAIx, PPc and mean arterial pressure ranging from 0.37 to 0.41; P ≤ 0.0001. The method of intrafamilial concordance confirmed these results; intrafamilial correlation coefficients were significant for all arterial indexes (r > ≥ 0.12; P < ≤ 0.02) with the exception of PPc (r = −0.007; P = 0.90) in parent–offspring pairs. The sib–sib correlations were also significant for CAIx (r = 0.22; P = 0.001). The genetic correlation between PWV and the other arterial indexes were significant (ρG ≥ 0.29; P < 0.0001). The corresponding environmental correlations were only significantly positive for PPp (ρE = 0.10, P = 0.03). Conclusion The observation of significant intrafamilial concordance and heritability of various indexes of arterial stiffness as well as the genetic correlations among arterial phenotypes strongly support the search for shared genetic determinants underlying these traits. PMID:18327082

  12. Familial aggregation and heritability of pyloric stenosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krogh, Camilla; Fischer, Thea K; Skotte, Line; Biggar, Robert J; Øyen, Nina; Skytthe, Axel; Goertz, Sanne; Christensen, Kaare; Wohlfahrt, Jan; Melbye, Mads

    2010-06-16

    Pyloric stenosis is the most common condition requiring surgery in the first months of life. Case reports have suggested familial aggregation, but to what extent this is caused by common environment or inheritance is unknown. To investigate familial aggregation of pyloric stenosis from monozygotic twins to fourth-generation relatives according to sex and maternal and paternal contributions and to estimate disease heritability. Population-based cohort study of 1,999,738 children born in Denmark between 1977 and 2008 and followed up for the first year of life, during which 3362 children had surgery for pyloric stenosis. Familial aggregation of pyloric stenosis, evaluated by rate ratios. The incidence rate (per 1000 person-years) of pyloric stenosis in the first year of life was 1.8 for singletons and 3.1 for twins. The rate ratios of pyloric stenosis were 182 (95% confidence interval [CI], 70.7-467) for monozygotic twins, 29.4 (95% CI, 9.45-91.5) for dizygotic twins, 18.5 (95% CI, 13.7-25.1) for siblings, 4.99 (95% CI, 2.59-9.65) for half-siblings, 3.06 (95% CI, 2.10-4.44) for cousins, and 1.60 (95% CI, 0.51-4.99) for half-cousins. We found no difference in rate ratios for maternal and paternal relatives of children with pyloric stenosis and no difference according to sex of cohort member or sex of relative. The heritability of pyloric stenosis was 87%. Pyloric stenosis in Danish children shows strong familial aggregation and heritability.

  13. Epigenetic treatments for cognitive impairments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Day, Jeremy J; Sweatt, J David

    2012-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms integrate signals from diverse intracellular transduction cascades and in turn regulate genetic readout. Accumulating evidence has revealed that these mechanisms are critical components of ongoing physiology and function in the adult nervous system, and are essential for many cognitive processes, including learning and memory. Moreover, a number of psychiatric disorders and syndromes that involve cognitive impairments are associated with altered epigenetic function. In this review, we will examine how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to cognition, consider how changes in these mechanisms may lead to cognitive impairments in a range of disorders and discuss the potential utility of therapeutic treatments that target epigenetic machinery. Finally, we will comment on a number of caveats associated with interpreting epigenetic changes and using epigenetic treatments, and suggest future directions for research in this area that will expand our understanding of the epigenetic changes underlying cognitive disorders.

  14. Low heritability in pharmacokinetics of talinolol

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Matthaei, Johannes; Tzvetkov, Mladen V; Gal, Valerie

    2016-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Efflux transporters like MDR1 and MRP2 may modulate the pharmacokinetics of about 50 % of all drugs. It is currently unknown how much of the variation in the activities of important drug membrane transporters like MDR1 or MRP2 is determined by genetic or by environmental factors...... of talinolol was predefined as the primary parameter. Heritability was analyzed by structural equation modeling and by within- and between-subject variance and talinolol clearance was correlated with polymorphisms in MDR1, MRP2, BCRP, MDR5, OATP1B1, and OCT1. RESULTS: Talinolol clearance varied approximately...

  15. Aphid Heritable Symbiont Exploits Defensive Mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doremus, Matthew R; Oliver, Kerry M

    2017-04-15

    Insects and other animals commonly form symbioses with heritable bacteria, which can exert large influences on host biology and ecology. The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum , is a model for studying effects of infection with heritable facultative symbionts (HFS), and each of its seven common HFS species has been reported to provide resistance to biotic or abiotic stresses. However, one common HFS, called X-type, rarely occurs as a single infection in field populations and instead typically superinfects individual aphids with Hamiltonella defensa , another HFS that protects aphids against attack by parasitic wasps. Using experimental aphid lines comprised of all possible infection combinations in a uniform aphid genotype, we investigated whether the most common strain of X-type provides any of the established benefits associated with aphid HFS as a single infection or superinfection with H. defensa We found that X-type does not confer protection to any tested threats, including parasitoid wasps, fungal pathogens, or thermal stress. Instead, component fitness assays identified large costs associated with X-type infection, costs which were ameliorated in superinfected aphids. Together these findings suggest that X-type exploits the aphid/ H. defensa mutualism and is maintained primarily as a superinfection by "hitchhiking" via the mutualistic benefits provided by another HFS. Exploitative symbionts potentially restrict the functions and distributions of mutualistic symbioses with effects that extend to other community members. IMPORTANCE Maternally transmitted bacterial symbionts are widespread and can have major impacts on the biology of arthropods, including insects of medical and agricultural importance. Given that host fitness and symbiont fitness are tightly linked, inherited symbionts can spread within host populations by providing beneficial services. Many insects, however, are frequently infected with multiple heritable symbiont species, providing potential

  16. Drosophila modeling of heritable neurodevelopmental disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gatto, Cheryl L; Broadie, Kendal

    2011-12-01

    Heritable neurodevelopmental disorders are multifaceted disease conditions encompassing a wide range of symptoms including intellectual disability, cognitive dysfunction, autism and myriad other behavioral impairments. In cases where single, causative genetic defects have been identified, such as Angelman syndrome, Rett syndrome, Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and Fragile X syndrome, the classical Drosophila genetic system has provided fruitful disease models. Recent Drosophila studies have advanced our understanding of UBE3A, MECP2, NF1 and FMR1 function, respectively, in genetic, biochemical, anatomical, physiological and behavioral contexts. Investigations in Drosophila continue to provide the essential mechanistic understanding required to facilitate the conception of rational therapeutic treatments. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Familial aggregation and heritability of pyloric stenosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Krogh, Camilla; Fischer, Thea K; Skotte, Line

    2010-01-01

    for the first year of life, during which 3362 children had surgery for pyloric stenosis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Familial aggregation of pyloric stenosis, evaluated by rate ratios. RESULTS: The incidence rate (per 1000 person-years) of pyloric stenosis in the first year of life was 1.8 for singletons and 3......CONTEXT: Pyloric stenosis is the most common condition requiring surgery in the first months of life. Case reports have suggested familial aggregation, but to what extent this is caused by common environment or inheritance is unknown. OBJECTIVES: To investigate familial aggregation of pyloric...... familial aggregation and heritability....

  18. 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

  19. A nuclear Argonaute promotes multigenerational epigenetic inheritance and germline immortality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buckley, Bethany A; Burkhart, Kirk B; Gu, Sam Guoping; Spracklin, George; Kershner, Aaron; Fritz, Heidi; Kimble, Judith; Fire, Andrew; Kennedy, Scott

    2012-09-20

    Epigenetic information is frequently erased near the start of each new generation. In some cases, however, epigenetic information can be transmitted from parent to progeny (multigenerational epigenetic inheritance). A particularly notable example of this type of epigenetic inheritance is double-stranded RNA-mediated gene silencing in Caenorhabditis elegans. This RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) can be inherited for more than five generations. To understand this process, here we conduct a genetic screen for nematodes defective in transmitting RNAi silencing signals to future generations. This screen identified the heritable RNAi defective 1 (hrde-1) gene. hrde-1 encodes an Argonaute protein that associates with small interfering RNAs in the germ cells of progeny of animals exposed to double-stranded RNA. In the nuclei of these germ cells, HRDE-1 engages the nuclear RNAi defective pathway to direct the trimethylation of histone H3 at Lys 9 (H3K9me3) at RNAi-targeted genomic loci and promote RNAi inheritance. Under normal growth conditions, HRDE-1 associates with endogenously expressed short interfering RNAs, which direct nuclear gene silencing in germ cells. In hrde-1- or nuclear RNAi-deficient animals, germline silencing is lost over generational time. Concurrently, these animals exhibit steadily worsening defects in gamete formation and function that ultimately lead to sterility. These results establish that the Argonaute protein HRDE-1 directs gene-silencing events in germ-cell nuclei that drive multigenerational RNAi inheritance and promote immortality of the germ-cell lineage. We propose that C. elegans use the RNAi inheritance machinery to transmit epigenetic information, accrued by past generations, into future generations to regulate important biological processes.

  20. Epigenetics and obesity cardiomyopathy: From pathophysiology to prevention and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yingmei; Ren, Jun

    2016-05-01

    Uncorrected obesity has been associated with cardiac hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction. Several mechanisms for this cardiomyopathy have been identified, including oxidative stress, autophagy, adrenergic and renin-angiotensin aldosterone overflow. Another process that may regulate effects of obesity is epigenetics, which refers to the heritable alterations in gene expression or cellular phenotype that are not encoded on the DNA sequence. Advances in epigenome profiling have greatly improved the understanding of the epigenome in obesity, where environmental exposures during early life result in an increased health risk later on in life. Several mechanisms, including histone modification, DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs, have been reported in obesity and can cause transcriptional suppression or activation, depending on the location within the gene, contributing to obesity-induced complications. Through epigenetic modifications, the fetus may be prone to detrimental insults, leading to cardiac sequelae later in life. Important links between epigenetics and obesity include nutrition, exercise, adiposity, inflammation, insulin sensitivity and hepatic steatosis. Genome-wide studies have identified altered DNA methylation patterns in pancreatic islets, skeletal muscle and adipose tissues from obese subjects compared with non-obese controls. In addition, aging and intrauterine environment are associated with differential DNA methylation. Given the intense research on the molecular mechanisms of the etiology of obesity and its complications, this review will provide insights into the current understanding of epigenetics and pharmacological and non-pharmacological (such as exercise) interventions targeting epigenetics as they relate to treatment of obesity and its complications. Particular focus will be on DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNAs. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Inter-species grafting caused extensive and heritable alterations of DNA methylation in Solanaceae plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Rui; Wang, Xiaoran; Lin, Yan; Ma, Yiqiao; Liu, Gang; Yu, Xiaoming; Zhong, Silin; Liu, Bao

    2013-01-01

    Grafting has been extensively used to enhance the performance of horticultural crops. Since Charles Darwin coined the term "graft hybrid" meaning that asexual combination of different plant species may generate products that are genetically distinct, highly discrepant opinions exist supporting or against the concept. Recent studies have documented that grafting enables exchanges of both RNA and DNA molecules between the grafting partners, thus providing a molecular basis for grafting-induced genetic variation. DNA methylation is known as prone to alterations as a result of perturbation of internal and external conditions. Given characteristics of grafting, it is interesting to test whether the process may cause an alteration of this epigenetic marker in the grafted organismal products. We analyzed relative global DNA methylation levels and locus-specific methylation patterns by the MSAP marker and locus-specific bisulfite-sequencing in the seed plants (wild-type controls), self- and hetero-grafted scions/rootstocks, selfed progenies of scions and their seed-plant controls, involving three Solanaceae species. We quantified expression of putative genes involved in establishing and/or maintaining DNA methylation by q-(RT)-PCR. We found that (1) hetero-grafting caused extensive alteration of DNA methylation patterns in a locus-specific manner, especially in scions, although relative methylation levels remain largely unaltered; (2) the altered methylation patterns in the hetero-grafting-derived scions could be inherited to sexual progenies with some sites showing further alterations or revisions; (3) hetero-grafting caused dynamic changes in steady-state transcript abundance of genes encoding for a set of enzymes functionally relevant to DNA methylation. Our results demonstrate that inter-species grafting in plants could produce extensive and heritable alterations in DNA methylation. We suggest that these readily altered, yet heritable, epigenetic modifications due to

  2. Epigenetic editing using programmable zinc ginger proteins : inherited silencing of endogenous gene expression by targeted DNA methylation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stolzenburg, Sabine

    2014-01-01

    Cancer development is not only the result of genetic mutations but also stems from modifications in the epigenetic code leading to an aberrant expression of genes relevant for cancer. The most studied epigenetic mark is DNA methylation of cytosines in the promoters of genes, which is associated with

  3. Epigenetics of breast cancer: Modifying role of environmental and bioactive food compounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romagnolo, Donato F; Daniels, Kevin D; Grunwald, Jonathan T; Ramos, Stephan A; Propper, Catherine R; Selmin, Ornella I

    2016-06-01

    Reduced expression of tumor suppressor genes (TSG) increases the susceptibility to breast cancer. However, only a small percentage of breast tumors is related to family history and mutational inactivation of TSG. Epigenetics refers to non-mutational events that alter gene expression. Endocrine disruptors found in foods and drinking water may disrupt epigenetically hormonal regulation and increase breast cancer risk. This review centers on the working hypothesis that agonists of the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), bisphenol A (BPA), and arsenic compounds, induce in TSG epigenetic signatures that mirror those often seen in sporadic breast tumors. Conversely, it is hypothesized that bioactive food components that target epigenetic mechanisms protect against sporadic breast cancer induced by these disruptors. This review highlights (i) overlaps between epigenetic signatures placed in TSG by AHR-ligands, BPA, and arsenic with epigenetic alterations associated with sporadic breast tumorigenesis; and (ii) potential opportunities for the prevention of sporadic breast cancer with food components that target the epigenetic machinery. Characterizing the overlap between epigenetic signatures elicited in TSG by endocrine disruptors with those observed in sporadic breast tumors may afford new strategies for breast cancer prevention with specific bioactive food components or diet. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  4. Age at fatherhood: heritability and associations with psychiatric disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frans, E M; Lichtenstein, P; Hultman, C M; Kuja-Halkola, R

    2016-10-01

    Advancing paternal age has been linked to psychiatric disorders. These associations might be caused by the increased number of de novo mutations transmitted to offspring of older men. It has also been suggested that the associations are confounded by a genetic liability for psychiatric disorders in parents. The aim of this study was to indirectly test the confounding hypotheses by examining if there is a genetic component to advancing paternal age and if men with a genetic liability for psychiatric disorders have children at older ages. We examined the genetic component to advancing paternal age by utilizing the twin model in a cohort of male twins (N = 14 679). We also studied ages at childbirth in men with or without schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and/or autism spectrum disorder. Ages were examined in: (1) healthy men, (2) affected men, (3) healthy men with an affected sibling, (4) men with healthy spouses, (5) men with affected spouses, and (6) men with healthy spouses with an affected sibling. The twin analyses showed that late fatherhood is under genetic influence (heritability = 0.33). However, affected men or men with affected spouses did not have children at older ages. The same was found for healthy individuals with affected siblings. Instead, these men were generally having children at younger ages. Although there is a genetic component influencing late fatherhood, our data suggest that the associations are not explained by psychiatric disorders or a genetic liability for psychiatric disorders in the parent.

  5. Bookmarking promoters in mitotic chromatin: poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 as an epigenetic mark.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lodhi, Niraj; Kossenkov, Andrew V; Tulin, Alexei V

    2014-06-01

    Epigenetics are the heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. After mitosis, it is thought that bookmarking transcription factors remain at promoters, regulating which genes become active and which remain silent. Herein, we demonstrate that poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a genome-wide epigenetic memory mark in mitotic chromatin, and we further show that the presence of PARP-1 is absolutely crucial for reactivation of transcription after mitosis. Based on these findings, a novel molecular model of epigenetic memory transmission through the cell cycle is proposed. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  6. Obesity and Bariatric Surgery Drive Epigenetic Variation of Spermatozoa in Humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donkin, Ida; Versteyhe, Soetkin; Ingerslev, Lars R; Qian, Kui; Mechta, Mie; Nordkap, Loa; Mortensen, Brynjulf; Appel, Emil Vincent R; Jørgensen, Niels; Kristiansen, Viggo B; Hansen, Torben; Workman, Christopher T; Zierath, Juleen R; Barrès, Romain

    2016-02-09

    Obesity is a heritable disorder, with children of obese fathers at higher risk of developing obesity. Environmental factors epigenetically influence somatic tissues, but the contribution of these factors to the establishment of epigenetic patterns in human gametes is unknown. Here, we hypothesized that weight loss remodels the epigenetic signature of spermatozoa in human obesity. Comprehensive profiling of the epigenome of sperm from lean and obese men showed similar histone positioning, but small non-coding RNA expression and DNA methylation patterns were markedly different. In a separate cohort of morbidly obese men, surgery-induced weight loss was associated with a dramatic remodeling of sperm DNA methylation, notably at genetic locations implicated in the central control of appetite. Our data provide evidence that the epigenome of human spermatozoa dynamically changes under environmental pressure and offers insight into how obesity may propagate metabolic dysfunction to the next generation. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Recent Advances in Human Genetics and Epigenetics of Adiposity: Pathway to Precision Medicine?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fall, Tove; Mendelson, Michael; Speliotes, Elizabeth K

    2017-05-01

    Obesity is a heritable trait that contributes to substantial global morbidity and mortality. Here, we summarize findings from the past decade of genetic and epigenetic research focused on unravelling the underpinnings of adiposity. More than 140 genetic regions now are known to influence adiposity traits. The genetics of general adiposity, as measured by body mass index, and that of abdominal obesity, as measured by waist-to-hip ratio, have distinct biological backgrounds. Gene expression associated with general adiposity is enriched in the nervous system. In contrast, genes associated with abdominal adiposity function in adipose tissue. Recent population-based epigenetic analyses have highlighted additional distinct loci. We discuss how associated genetic variants can lead to understanding causal mechanisms, and to disentangling reverse causation in epigenetic analyses. Discoveries emerging from population genomics are identifying new disease markers and potential novel drug targets to better define and combat obesity and related diseases. Copyright © 2017 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Epigenetics in the Eye: An Overview of the Most Relevant Ocular Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanan A. Alkozi

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Sight for mammals is one of the most appreciated senses. In humans there are several factors that contribute to the increment in all kind of eye diseases. This mini-review will focus on some diseases whose prevalence is steadily increasing year after year for non-genetic reasons, namely cataracts, dry eye, and glaucoma. Aging, diet, inflammation, drugs, oxidative stress, seasonal and circadian style-of-live changes are impacting on disease prevalence by epigenetics factors, defined as stable heritable traits that are not explained by changes in DNA sequence. The mini-review will concisely show the data showing epigenetics marks in these diseases and on how knowledge on the epigenetic alterations may guide therapeutic approaches to have a healthy eye.

  9. Beyond missing heritability: prediction of complex traits.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Makowsky

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Despite rapid advances in genomic technology, our ability to account for phenotypic variation using genetic information remains limited for many traits. This has unfortunately resulted in limited application of genetic data towards preventive and personalized medicine, one of the primary impetuses of genome-wide association studies. Recently, a large proportion of the "missing heritability" for human height was statistically explained by modeling thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms concurrently. However, it is currently unclear how gains in explained genetic variance will translate to the prediction of yet-to-be observed phenotypes. Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, we explore the genomic prediction of human height in training and validation samples while varying the statistical approach used, the number of SNPs included in the model, the validation scheme, and the number of subjects used to train the model. In our training datasets, we are able to explain a large proportion of the variation in height (h(2 up to 0.83, R(2 up to 0.96. However, the proportion of variance accounted for in validation samples is much smaller (ranging from 0.15 to 0.36 depending on the degree of familial information used in the training dataset. While such R(2 values vastly exceed what has been previously reported using a reduced number of pre-selected markers (<0.10, given the heritability of the trait (∼ 0.80, substantial room for improvement remains.

  10. 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.

  11. Microbiome, inflammation, epigenetic alterations, and mental diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alam, Reza; Abdolmaleky, Hamid M; Zhou, Jin-Rong

    2017-09-01

    Major mental diseases such as autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder are debilitating illnesses with complex etiologies. Recent findings show that the onset and development of these illnesses cannot be well described by the one-gene; one-disease approach. Instead, their clinical presentation is thought to result from the regulative interplay of a large number of genes. Even though the involvement of many genes are likely, up regulating and activation or down regulation and silencing of these genes by the environmental factors play a crucial role in contributing to their pathogenesis. Much of this interplay may be moderated by epigenetic changes. Similar to genetic mutations, epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and RNA interference can influence gene expression and therefore may cause behavioral and neuronal changes observed in mental disorders. Environmental factors such as diet, gut microbiota, and infections have significant role in these epigenetic modifications. Studies show that bioactive nutrients and gut microbiota can alter either DNA methylation and histone signatures through a variety of mechanisms. Indeed, microbes within the human gut may play a significant role in the regulation of various elements of "gut-brain axis," via their influence on inflammatory cytokines and production of antimicrobial peptides that affect the epigenome through their involvement in generating short chain fatty acids, vitamin synthesis, and nutrient absorption. In addition, they may participate in-gut production of many common neurotransmitters. In this review we will consider the potential interactions of diet, gastrointestinal microbiome, inflammation, and epigenetic alterations in psychiatric disorders. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Epigenetics in an ecotoxicological context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vandegehuchte, Michiel B; Janssen, Colin R

    2014-04-01

    Epigenetics can play a role in interactions between chemicals and exposed species, between species and abiotic ecosystem components or between species of the same or another population in a community. Technological progress and advanced insights into epigenetic processes have led to the description of epigenetic features (mainly DNA methylation) in many ecologically relevant species: algae, plants, several invertebrates and fish. Epigenetic changes in plants, insects and cladocerans have been reported to be induced by various environmental stress factors including nutrition or water deficiency, grazing, light or temperature alterations, social environment, and dissolved organic matter concentrations. As regards chemicals, studies in rats and mice exposed to specific pesticides, hydrocarbons, dioxins, and endocrine disrupting chemicals demonstrated the induction of epigenetic changes, suggesting the need for further research with these substances in an ecotoxicological context. In fish and plants, exposure to polyaromatic hydrocarbons, metals, and soluble fractions of solid waste affected the epigenetic status. A novel concept in ecotoxicological epigenetics is the induction of transgenerational stress resistance upon chemical exposure, as demonstrated in rice exposed to metals. Evaluating epigenetics in ecotoxicological field studies is a second relatively new approach. A cryptic lineage of earthworms had developed arsenic tolerance in the field, concurrent with specific DNA methylation patterns. Flatfish caught in the framework of environmental monitoring had developed tumours, exhibiting specific DNA methylation patterns. Two main potential implications of epigenetics in an ecotoxicological context are (1) the possibility of transgenerationally inherited, chemical stress-induced epigenetic changes with associated phenotypes and (2) epigenetically induced adaptation to stress upon long-term chemical exposure. Key knowledge gaps are concerned with the causality of

  13. Epigenetics and stroke risk – beyond the static DNA code

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marsden PA

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Charles C Matouk,1 Paul J Turgeon,2 Philip A Marsden2,31Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; 3Keenan Research Centre and Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, CanadaAbstract: Advances in high-throughput genome sequencing and genome-wide association studies indicate that only a fraction of estimated variability in stroke risk can be explained by genetic variation in protein-coding genes alone. Epigenetics is defined as chromatin-based mechanisms important in the regulation of gene expression that do not involve changes in the DNA sequence per se. Epigenetics represents an alternative explanation for how traditional risk factors confer increased stroke risk, provide a newer paradigm to explain heritability not explained by genetic variation, and provide insight into the link between how the environment of a cell can interact with the static DNA code. The nuclear-based mechanisms that contribute to epigenetic gene regulation can be separated into three distinct but highly interrelated processes: DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation; histone density and posttranslational modifications; and RNA-based mechanisms. Together, they offer a newer perspective on transcriptional control paradigms in blood vessels and provide a molecular basis for understanding how the environment impacts the genome to modify stroke susceptibility. This alternative view for transcriptional regulation allows a reassessment of the cis/trans model and even helps explain some of the limitations of current approaches to genetic-based screens. For instance, how does the environment exert chronic effects on gene expression in blood vessels after weeks or years? When a vascular cell divides, how is this information transmitted to daughter cells? This review provides an introduction to epigenetic concepts and a

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

    OpenAIRE

    Sergio Branciamore; Andrei S. Rodin; Grigoriy Gogoshin; Arthur D. Riggs

    2015-01-01

    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 epigeneti...

  15. Sex, epilepsy, and epigenetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qureshi, Irfan A.; Mehler, Mark F.

    2014-01-01

    Epilepsy refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders that are associated with a wide range of pathogenic mechanisms, seizure manifestations, comorbidity profiles, and therapeutic responses. These characteristics are all influenced quite significantly by sex. As with other conditions exhibiting such patterns, sex differences in epilepsy are thought to arise—at the most fundamental level—from the “organizational” and “activational” effects of sex hormones as well as from the direct actions of the sex chromosomes. However, our understanding of the specific molecular, cellular, and network level processes responsible for mediating sex differences in epilepsy remains limited. Because increasing evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms are involved both in epilepsy and in brain sexual dimorphism, we make the case here that analyzing epigenetic regulation will provide novel insights into the basis for sex differences in epilepsy. PMID:24998474

  16. 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.

  17. [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.

  18. Genetic and epigenetic studies of atopic dermatitis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bin, Lianghua; Leung, Donald Y M

    2016-01-01

    Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the complex interaction of genetic, immune and environmental factors. There have many recent discoveries involving the genetic and epigenetic studies of AD. A retrospective PubMed search was carried out from June 2009 to June 2016 using the terms "atopic dermatitis", "association", "eczema", "gene", "polymorphism", "mutation", "variant", "genome wide association study", "microarray" "gene profiling", "RNA sequencing", "epigenetics" and "microRNA". A total of 132 publications in English were identified. To elucidate the genetic factors for AD pathogenesis, candidate gene association studies, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and transcriptomic profiling assays have been performed in this period. Epigenetic mechanisms for AD development, including genomic DNA modification and microRNA posttranscriptional regulation, have been explored. To date, candidate gene association studies indicate that filaggrin (FLG) null gene mutations are the most significant known risk factor for AD, and genes in the type 2 T helper lymphocyte (Th2) signaling pathways are the second replicated genetic risk factor for AD. GWAS studies identified 34 risk loci for AD, these loci also suggest that genes in immune responses and epidermal skin barrier functions are associated with AD. Additionally, gene profiling assays demonstrated AD is associated with decreased gene expression of epidermal differentiation complex genes and elevated Th2 and Th17 genes. Hypomethylation of TSLP and FCER1G in AD were reported; and miR-155, which target the immune suppressor CTLA-4, was found to be significantly over-expressed in infiltrating T cells in AD skin lesions. The results suggest that two major biologic pathways are responsible for AD etiology: skin epithelial function and innate/adaptive immune responses. The dysfunctional epidermal barrier and immune responses reciprocally affect each other, and thereby drive development of AD.

  19. 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

  20. Nutrition, Epigenetics, and Diseases

    OpenAIRE

    Jang, Hyeran; Serra, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Increasing epidemiological evidence suggests that maternal nutrition and environmental exposure early in development play an important role in susceptibility to disease in later life. In addition, these disease outcomes seem to pass through subsequent generations. Epigenetic modifications provide a potential link between the nutrition status during critical periods in development and changes in gene expression that may lead to disease phenotypes. An increasing body of evidence from experiment...

  1. [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.

  2. Mapping Epigenetic Changes One Molecule at a Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindsay, Stuart

    2010-03-01

    Gene expression, cell specialization, and, presumably, the progress to cancer, are controlled by a heritable, but environmentally modifiable code that ``lies on top of'' the genome. This is called the epigenetic code. Some known epigenetic markings consist of chemical modifications of amino acid residues in proteins. For example, a lysine residue on a histone protein (a protein that packages DNA) may have an amine group replaced ay an acetyl group. DNA itself is also modified. The most well-known modification of DNA is the addition of a methyl group at carbon 5 of the cytosine base. Epigentic modifications change with tissue type, and, presumably between healthy and normal tissues. Epigentic markings may even be dynamic, changing over the cell cycle. They could even be random, forming part of a combinatorial selection system (rather like the immune system). For this reason, these markings need to be mapped at the single molecule level. We are developing methods to simultaneously image molecular structure and the location of epigenetic markings using a method we call ``recognition imaging''. We are also developing a new single-molecule DNA sequencing technique that may prove sensitive to methylated cytosine bases.

  3. [Advances of Epigenetic Studies on Mechanisms of Paramutation].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Shan; Wang, Xiao-Rong; Ding, Wei

    2016-02-01

    Studies in traditional genetics have revealed the molecular causes of many genetic diseases and provided direct clues for their prevention, diagnosis and treatments, as well as for various disorders with genetic background. However, the genetic profiles of most human diseases could not be fully explained with the canonical laws of genetics. Paramutation is one of non-Mendelian inheritance phenomenon, which was found in maize first in 1950s. The absence of alteration in nucleotide sequences in the gene-coding alleles suggested that paramutations might involve epigenetic mechanisms to transmit heritable changes in gene expression and determination of phenotypes. Recently, a novel epigenetic mechanism has been found in paramutation researches, emphasized the importance of DNA methyltransferase II mediated RNA (primarily non-coding RNAs) methylation in the occurrence and maintenance of paramutations. Researches on paramutations and their epigenetic mechnisms will not only expand our understanding in the genetic principles of life, but also help to develop new ideas for bioengineer and disease treatments. The present article reviewed the research highlights on molecular mechanisms of paramutation and discussed the prospects in disease study and therapy.

  4. Low Dose Radiation-Induced Genome and Epigenome Instability Symposium and Epigenetic Mechanisms, DNA Repair, and Chromatin Symposium at the EMS 2008 Annual Meeting - October 2008

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morgan, William F; Kovalchuk, Olga; Dolinoy, Dana C; Dubrova, Yuri E; Coleman, Matthew A; Schär, Primo; Pogribny, Igor; Hendzel, Michael

    2010-02-19

    The Low Dose Radiation Symposium thoughtfully addressed ionizing radiation non-mutational but transmissable alterations in surviving cells. Deregulation of epigenetic processes has been strongly implicated in carcinogenesis, and there is increasing realization that a significant fraction of non-targeted and adaptive mechanisms in response to ionizing radiation are likely to be epigenetic in nature. Much remains to be learned about how chromatin and epigenetic regulators affect responses to low doses of radiation, and how low dose radiation impacts other epigenetic processes. The Epigenetic Mechanisms Symposium focused on on epigenetic mechanisms and their interplay with DNA repair and chromatin changes. Addressing the fact that the most well understood mediators of epigenetic regulation are histone modifications and DNA methylation. Low levels of radiation can lead to changes in the methylation status of certain gene promoters and the expression of DNA methyltransferases, However, epigenetic regulation can also involve changes in higher order chromosome structure.

  5. Epigenetic mechanisms in leukemia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaidi, Sayyed K; Trombly, Daniel J; Dowdy, Christopher R; Lian, Jane B; Stein, Janet L; van Wijnen, Andre J; Stein, Gary S

    2012-09-01

    Focal organization of regulatory machinery within the interphase nucleus is linked to biological responsiveness and perturbed in cancer. Lineage determinant Runx proteins organize and assemble multi-protein complexes at sites of transcription within the nucleus and regulate both RNA polymerase II- and I-mediated gene expression. In addition, Runx proteins epigenetically control lineage determining transcriptional programs including: 1) architectural organization of macromolecular complexes in interphase, 2) regulation of gene expression through bookmarking during mitosis, and 3) microRNA-mediated translational control in the interphase nucleus. These mechanisms are compromised with the onset and progression of cancer. For example, the oncogenic AML1-ETO protein, which results from a chromosomal translocation between chromosomes 8 and 21, is expressed in nearly 25% of all acute myelogenous leukemias, disrupts Runx1 subnuclear localization during interphase and compromises transcriptional regulation. Epigenetically, the leukemic protein redirects the Runx1 DNA binding domain to leukemia-specific nuclear microenvironments, modifies regulatory protein accessibility to Runx1 target genes by imprinting repressive chromatin marks, and deregulates the microRNA (miR) profile of diseased myeloid cells. Consequently, the entire Runx1-dependent transcriptional program of myeloid cells is deregulated leading to onset and progression of acute myeloid leukemia and maintenance of leukemic phenotype. We discuss the potential of modified epigenetic landscape of leukemic cells as a viable therapeutic target. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. Epigenetics and cerebral organoids

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2018-01-01

    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 compl...... 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....... 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...

  7. Lineage Tracking for Probing Heritable Phenotypes at Single-Cell Resolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cottinet, Denis; Condamine, Florence; Bremond, Nicolas; Griffiths, Andrew D.; Rainey, Paul B.; de Visser, J. Arjan G. M.; Baudry, Jean; Bibette, Jérôme

    2016-01-01

    Determining the phenotype and genotype of single cells is central to understand microbial evolution. DNA sequencing technologies allow the detection of mutants at high resolution, but similar approaches for phenotypic analyses are still lacking. We show that a drop-based millifluidic system enables the detection of heritable phenotypic changes in evolving bacterial populations. At time intervals, cells were sampled and individually compartmentalized in 100 nL drops. Growth through 15 generations was monitored using a fluorescent protein reporter. Amplification of heritable changes–via growth–over multiple generations yields phenotypically distinct clusters reflecting variation relevant for evolution. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we follow the evolution of Escherichia coli populations during 30 days of starvation. Phenotypic diversity was observed to rapidly increase upon starvation with the emergence of heritable phenotypes. Mutations corresponding to each phenotypic class were identified by DNA sequencing. This scalable lineage-tracking technology opens the door to large-scale phenotyping methods with special utility for microbiology and microbial population biology. PMID:27077662

  8. [Development of novel epigenetic molecular-targeting agents].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sowa, Yoshihiro; Sakai, Toshiyuki

    2015-08-01

    Cancer is known to be a genetic disease, which is caused by abnormalities of oncogenes and/or tumor-suppressor genes. Genetic abnormalities include mutation, deletion or amplification of DNA sequences. Based on the findings of the genetic abnormalities in malignant tumors, many molecular-targeting agents, e.g. Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitors and EGFR kinase inhibitors, have been developed and approved. In addition to genetic abnormalities, epigenetic abnormalities, e.g. DNA methylation, histone methylation and histone acetylation, are also involved in carcinogenesis and tumor development. Based on the findings of the epigenetic abnormalities in malignant tumors, the novel epigenetic molecular-targeting agents, e.g. DNA(DNMT) methyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, have also been developed and approved. Moreover, histone methyltransferase(HMT) inhibitors and histone demethylase(HDM) inhibitors have been also discovered and some agents are in clinical trials.

  9. Epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of Lynch syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peltomäki, P

    2014-05-01

    Inherited defects in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 genes, underlie Lynch syndrome, one of the most prevalent cancer syndromes in man. The syndrome offers a model for cancers arising through MMR defects and microsatellite instability, which applies to ~ 15% of all colorectal, endometrial, and other cancers. Lynch syndrome also illustrates the significance of the epigenetic component in cancer development. Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes by epigenetic mechanisms is an acquired property of many tumors developing in Lynch syndrome. Furthermore, constitutional epimutations of MMR genes may explain a proportion of mutation-negative families lacking MLH1 or MSH2 protein expression in tumor tissue. This review provides an update of the molecular basis of Lynch syndrome by focusing on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of the disease. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Epigenetic advances in clinical neuroscience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abel, Ted; Poplawski, Shane

    2014-09-01

    Epigenetics, broadly defined as the regulation of gene expression without alteration of the genome, has become a field of tremendous interest in neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry. This research has rapidly changed the way researchers think about brain function. Exciting epigenetic discoveries have been found in addiction, early life stress, neurodegeneration, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. As researchers more precisely define the epigenetic landscape that regulates disease progression in each of these cases, therapeutics can be designed to specifically target the molecules that mediate these epigenetic processes. Further, epigenetics may lead, to the identification of novel biomarkers for diagnosis and for the monitoring of treatment. Epigenetic profiling is likely to become a routine tool for the diagnosis of neurological and psychiatric disorders in the near future.

  11. Hypermethylated SUPERMAN epigenetic alleles in arabidopsis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobsen, S E; Meyerowitz, E M

    1997-08-22

    Mutations in the SUPERMAN gene affect flower development in Arabidopsis. Seven heritable but unstable sup epi-alleles (the clark kent alleles) are associated with nearly identical patterns of excess cytosine methylation within the SUP gene and a decreased level of SUP RNA. Revertants of these alleles are largely demethylated at the SUP locus and have restored levels of SUP RNA. A transgenic Arabidopsis line carrying an antisense methyltransferase gene, which shows an overall decrease in genomic cytosine methylation, also contains a hypermethylated sup allele. Thus, disruption of methylation systems may yield more complex outcomes than expected and can result in methylation defects at known genes. The clark kent alleles differ from the antisense line because they do not show a general decrease in genomic methylation.

  12. Genetic variability and heritability studies of some reproductive traits ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    GRACE

    2006-07-03

    Jul 3, 2006 ... genotypic variability of some reproductive traits and their heritability in some selected cowpea varieties. Results of ... Broad-sense heritability estimate (h2) was 98.9% for 100-seed weight, 94% for duration of reproductive phase, 84.5% for .... days interval to control flowering-and post-flowering insect pests.

  13. Genotype by environment interactions, stability, and heritability of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Genotype x location x year interaction variances were also found significant at all the traits except first pod height. The estimates of heritabilities with limited phenotypic variance definition were ... Moderate or low heritabilities estimated for all the traits showed that family selection method could be used instead of individual ...

  14. Epigenetic Aging Signatures Are Coherently Modified in Cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Qiong; Wagner, Wolfgang

    2015-06-01

    Aging is associated with highly reproducible DNA methylation (DNAm) changes, which may contribute to higher prevalence of malignant diseases in the elderly. In this study, we analyzed epigenetic aging signatures in 5,621 DNAm profiles of 25 cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Overall, age-associated DNAm patterns hardly reflect chronological age of cancer patients, but they are coherently modified in a non-stochastic manner, particularly at CpGs that become hypermethylated upon aging in non-malignant tissues. This coordinated regulation in epigenetic aging signatures can therefore be used for aberrant epigenetic age-predictions, which facilitate disease stratification. For example, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) higher epigenetic age-predictions are associated with increased incidence of mutations in RUNX1, WT1, and IDH2, whereas mutations in TET2, TP53, and PML-PARA translocation are more frequent in younger age-predictions. Furthermore, epigenetic aging signatures correlate with overall survival in several types of cancer (such as lower grade glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, esophageal carcinoma, chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, cutaneous melanoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, and neuroendocrine neoplasms). In conclusion, age-associated DNAm patterns in cancer are not related to chronological age of the patient, but they are coordinately regulated, particularly at CpGs that become hypermethylated in normal aging. Furthermore, the apparent epigenetic age-predictions correlate with clinical parameters and overall survival in several types of cancer, indicating that regulation of DNAm patterns in age-associated CpGs is relevant for cancer development.

  15. Epigenetic Aging Signatures Are Coherently Modified in Cancer.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qiong Lin

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Aging is associated with highly reproducible DNA methylation (DNAm changes, which may contribute to higher prevalence of malignant diseases in the elderly. In this study, we analyzed epigenetic aging signatures in 5,621 DNAm profiles of 25 cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA. Overall, age-associated DNAm patterns hardly reflect chronological age of cancer patients, but they are coherently modified in a non-stochastic manner, particularly at CpGs that become hypermethylated upon aging in non-malignant tissues. This coordinated regulation in epigenetic aging signatures can therefore be used for aberrant epigenetic age-predictions, which facilitate disease stratification. For example, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML higher epigenetic age-predictions are associated with increased incidence of mutations in RUNX1, WT1, and IDH2, whereas mutations in TET2, TP53, and PML-PARA translocation are more frequent in younger age-predictions. Furthermore, epigenetic aging signatures correlate with overall survival in several types of cancer (such as lower grade glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, esophageal carcinoma, chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, cutaneous melanoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, and neuroendocrine neoplasms. In conclusion, age-associated DNAm patterns in cancer are not related to chronological age of the patient, but they are coordinately regulated, particularly at CpGs that become hypermethylated in normal aging. Furthermore, the apparent epigenetic age-predictions correlate with clinical parameters and overall survival in several types of cancer, indicating that regulation of DNAm patterns in age-associated CpGs is relevant for cancer development.

  16. Heritable factors influence sexual orientation in women.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, J M; Pillard, R C; Neale, M C; Agyei, Y

    1993-03-01

    Homosexual female probands with monozygotic cotwins, dizygotic cotwins, or adoptive sisters were recruited using homophile publications. Sexual orientation of relatives was assessed either by asking relatives directly, or, when this was impossible, by asking the probands. Of the relatives whose sexual orientation could be confidently rated, 34 (48%) of 71 monozygotic cotwins, six (16%) of 37 dizygotic cotwins, and two (6%) of 35 adoptive sisters were homosexual. Probands also reported 10 (14%) nontwin biologic sisters to be homosexual, although those sisters were not contacted to confirm their orientations. Heritabilities were significant using a wide range of assumptions about both the base rate of homosexuality in the population and ascertainment bias. The likelihood that a monozygotic cotwin would also be homosexual was unrelated to measured characteristics of the proband such as self-reported history of childhood gender nonconformity. Concordant monozygotic twins reported similar levels of childhood gender nonconformity.

  17. Sex-differences in heritability of BMI

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schousboe, K; Willemsen, G; Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm

    2003-01-01

    Body mass index (BMI), a simple anthropometric measure, is the most frequently used measure of adiposity and has been instrumental in documenting the worldwide increase in the prevalence of obesity witnessed during the last decades. Although this increase in overweight and obesity is thought...... to be mainly due to environmental changes, i.e., sedentary lifestyles and high caloric diets, consistent evidence from twin studies demonstrates high heritability and the importance of genetic differences for normal variation in BMI. We analysed self-reported data on BMI from approximately 37,000 complete twin...... factors that influence variation in BMI. These results encourage the continued search for genes of importance to the body composition and the development of obesity. Furthermore, they suggest that strategies to identify predisposing genes may benefit from taking into account potential sex specific effects....

  18. Smaller, scale-free gene networks increase quantitative trait heritability and result in faster population recovery.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacob W Malcom

    Full Text Available One of the goals of biology is to bridge levels of organization. Recent technological advances are enabling us to span from genetic sequence to traits, and then from traits to ecological dynamics. The quantitative genetics parameter heritability describes how quickly a trait can evolve, and in turn describes how quickly a population can recover from an environmental change. Here I propose that we can link the details of the genetic architecture of a quantitative trait--i.e., the number of underlying genes and their relationships in a network--to population recovery rates by way of heritability. I test this hypothesis using a set of agent-based models in which individuals possess one of two network topologies or a linear genotype-phenotype map, 16-256 genes underlying the trait, and a variety of mutation and recombination rates and degrees of environmental change. I find that the network architectures introduce extensive directional epistasis that systematically hides and reveals additive genetic variance and affects heritability: network size, topology, and recombination explain 81% of the variance in average heritability in a stable environment. Network size and topology, the width of the fitness function, pre-change additive variance, and certain interactions account for ∼75% of the variance in population recovery times after a sudden environmental change. These results suggest that not only the amount of additive variance, but importantly the number of loci across which it is distributed, is important in regulating the rate at which a trait can evolve and populations can recover. Taken in conjunction with previous research focused on differences in degree of network connectivity, these results provide a set of theoretical expectations and testable hypotheses for biologists working to span levels of organization from the genotype to the phenotype, and from the phenotype to the environment.

  19. Heritability of working memory brain activation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blokland, Gabriëlla A M; McMahon, Katie L; Thompson, Paul M; Martin, Nicholas G; de Zubicaray, Greig I; Wright, Margaret J

    2011-07-27

    Although key to understanding individual variation in task-related brain activation, the genetic contribution to these individual differences remains largely unknown. Here we report voxel-by-voxel genetic model fitting in a large sample of 319 healthy, young adult, human identical and fraternal twins (mean ± SD age, 23.6 ± 1.8 years) who performed an n-back working memory task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at a high magnetic field (4 tesla). Patterns of task-related brain response (BOLD signal difference of 2-back minus 0-back) were significantly heritable, with the highest estimates (40-65%) in the inferior, middle, and superior frontal gyri, left supplementary motor area, precentral and postcentral gyri, middle cingulate cortex, superior medial gyrus, angular gyrus, superior parietal lobule, including precuneus, and superior occipital gyri. Furthermore, high test-retest reliability for a subsample of 40 twins indicates that nongenetic variance in the fMRI brain response is largely due to unique environmental influences rather than measurement error. Individual variations in activation of the working memory network are therefore significantly influenced by genetic factors. By establishing the heritability of cognitive brain function in a large sample that affords good statistical power, and using voxel-by-voxel analyses, this study provides the necessary evidence for task-related brain activation to be considered as an endophenotype for psychiatric or neurological disorders, and represents a substantial new contribution to the field of neuroimaging genetics. These genetic brain maps should facilitate discovery of gene variants influencing cognitive brain function through genome-wide association studies, potentially opening up new avenues in the treatment of brain disorders.

  20. Heritability estimates of methane emissions from sheep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinares-Patiño, C S; Hickey, S M; Young, E A; Dodds, K G; MacLean, S; Molano, G; Sandoval, E; Kjestrup, H; Harland, R; Hunt, C; Pickering, N K; McEwan, J C

    2013-06-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the genetic parameters of methane (CH4) emissions and their genetic correlations with key production traits. The trial measured the CH4 emissions, at 5-min intervals, from 1225 sheep placed in respiration chambers for 2 days, with repeat measurements 2 weeks later for another 2 days. They were fed in the chambers, based on live weight, a pelleted lucerne ration at 2.0 times estimated maintenance requirements. Methane outputs were calculated for g CH4/day and g CH4/kg dry matter intake (DMI) for each of the 4 days. Single trait models were used to obtain estimates of heritability and repeatability. Heritability of g CH4/day was 0.29 ± 0.05, and for g CH4/kg DMI 0.13 ± 0.03. Repeatability between measurements 14 days apart were 0.55 ± 0.02 and 0.26 ± 0.02, for the two traits. The genetic and phenotypic correlations of CH4 outputs with various production traits (weaning weight, live weight at 8 months of age, dag score, muscle depth and fleece weight at 12 months of age) measured in the first year of life, were estimated using bivariate models. With the exception of fleece weight, correlations were weak and not significantly different from zero for the g CH4/kg DMI trait. For fleece weight the phenotypic and genetic correlation estimates were -0.08 ± 0.03 and -0.32 ± 0.11 suggesting a low economically favourable relationship. These results indicate that there is genetic variation between animals for CH4 emission traits even after adjustment for feed intake and that these traits are repeatable. Current work includes the establishment of selection lines from these animals to investigate the physiological, microbial and anatomical changes, coupled with investigations into shorter and alternative CH4 emission measurement and breeding value estimation techniques; including genomic selection.

  1. Past, present and future of epigenetics applied to livestock breeding

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oscar eGonzalez-Recio

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available This article reviews the concept of Lamarckian inheritance and the use of the term epigenetics in the field of animal genetics. Epigenetics was first coined by Conrad Hal Waddington (1905-1975, who derived the term from the Aristotelian word epigenesis. There exists some controversy around the word epigenetics and its broad definition. It includes any modification of the expression of genes due to factors other than mutation in the DNA sequence. This involves DNA methylation, post-translational modification of histones, but also linked to regulation of gene expression by non-coding RNAs, genome instabilities or any other force that could modify a phenotype. There is little evidence of the existence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in mammals, which may commonly be confounded with environmental forces acting simultaneously on an individual, her developing fetus and the germ cell lines of the latter, although it could have an important role in the cellular energetic status of cells. Finally, we review some of the scarce literature on the use of epigenetics in animal breeding programs.

  2. Origins of magic: review of genetic and epigenetic effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramagopalan, Sreeram V; Knight, Marian; Ebers, George C; Knight, Julian C

    2007-12-22

    To assess the evidence for a genetic basis to magic. Literature review. Harry Potter novels of J K Rowling. Muggles, witches, wizards, and squibs. Limited. Family and twin studies, magical ability, and specific magical skills. Magic shows strong evidence of heritability, with familial aggregation and concordance in twins. Evidence suggests magical ability to be a quantitative trait. Specific magical skills, notably being able to speak to snakes, predict the future, and change hair colour, all seem heritable. A multilocus model with a dominant gene for magic might exist, controlled epistatically by one or more loci, possibly recessive in nature. Magical enhancers regulating gene expressionmay be involved, combined with mutations at specific genes implicated in speech and hair colour such as FOXP2 and MCR1.

  3. Common non-epigenetic drugs as epigenetic modulators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lötsch, Jörn; Schneider, Gisbert; Reker, Daniel; Parnham, Michael J; Schneider, Petra; Geisslinger, Gerd; Doehring, Alexandra

    2013-12-01

    Epigenetic effects are exerted by a variety of factors and evidence increases that common drugs such as opioids, cannabinoids, valproic acid, or cytostatics may induce alterations in DNA methylation patterns or histone conformations. These effects occur via chemical structural interactions with epigenetic enzymes, through interactions with DNA repair mechanisms. Computational predictions indicate that one-twentieth of all drugs might potentially interact with human histone deacetylase, which was prospectively experimentally verified for the compound with the highest predicted interaction probability. These epigenetic effects add to wanted and unwanted drug effects, contributing to mechanisms of drug resistance or disease-related and unrelated phenotypes. Because epigenetic changes might be transmitted to offspring, the need for reliable and cost-effective epigenetic screening tools becomes acute. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Epigenetics in the Neoliberal "Regime of Truth": A Biopolitical Perspective on Knowledge Translation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dupras, Charles; Ravitsky, Vardit

    2016-01-01

    Recent findings in epigenetics have been attracting much attention from social scientists and bioethicists because they reveal the molecular mechanisms by which exposure to socioenvironmental factors, such as pollutants and social adversity, can influence the expression of genes throughout life. Most surprisingly, some epigenetic modifications may also be heritable via germ cells across generations. Epigenetics may be the missing molecular evidence of the importance of using preventive strategies at the policy level to reduce the incidence and prevalence of common diseases. But while this "policy translation" of epigenetics introduces new arguments in favor of public health strategies and policy-making, a more "clinical translation" of epigenetics is also emerging. It focuses on the biochemical mechanisms and epigenetic variants at the origin of disease, leading to novel biomedical means of assessing epigenetic susceptibility and reversing detrimental epigenetic variants. In this paper, we argue that the impetus to create new biomedical interventions to manipulate and reverse epigenetic variants is likely to garner more attention than effective social and public health interventions and therefore also to garner a greater share of limited public resources. This is likely to happen because of the current biopolitical context in which scientific findings are translated. This contemporary neoliberal "regime of truth," to use a term from Michel Foucault, greatly influences the ways in which knowledge is being interpreted and implemented. Building on sociologist Thomas Lemke's Foucauldian "analytics of biopolitics" and on literature from the field of science and technology studies, we present two sociological trends that may impede the policy translation of epigenetics: molecularization and biomedicalization. These trends, we argue, are likely to favor the clinical translation of epigenetics-in other words, the development of new clinical tools fostering what has been

  5. Epigenetic Reprogramming Induced Pluripotency

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Meiliana

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The ability to reprogram mature cells to an embryonic-like state by nuclear transfer or by inducing the expression of key transcription factors has provided us with critical opportunities to linearly map the epigenetic parameters that are essential for attaining pluripotency. CONTENT: Epigenetic reprogramming describes a switch in gene expression of one kind of cell to that of another unrelated cell type. Early studies in frog cloning provided some of the first experimental evidence for reprogramming. Subsequent procedures included mammalian somatic cell nuclear transfer, cell fusion, induction of pluripotency by ectopic gene expression, and direct reprogramming. Through these methods it becomes possible to derive one kind of specialized cell (such as a brain cell from another, more accessible tissue, such as skin in the same individual. This has potential applications for cell replacement without the immunosuppression treatments commonly required when cells are transferred between genetically different individuals. SUMMARY: Reprogramming with transcription factors offers tremendous promise for the future development of patient-specific pluripotent cells and for studies of human disease. The identification of optimized protocols for the differentiation of iPS cells and ES cells into multiple functional cell types in vitro and their proper engraftment in vivo will be challenged in the coming years. Given that the first small molecule approaches aimed at activating pluripotency genes have already been devised and that murine iPS cells have recently been derived by using non-integrative transient expression strategies of the reprogramming factors, we expect that human iPS cells without permanent genetic alterations will soon be generated. KEYWORDS: epigenetics, reprogramming, pluripotency, stem cells, iPS cells, chromatin, DNA methylation.

  6. Epigenetics, Behaviour, and Health

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szyf Moshe

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available The long-term effects of behaviour and environmental exposures, particularly during childhood, on health outcomes are well documented. Particularly thought provoking is the notion that exposures to different social environments have a long-lasting impact on human physical health. However, the mechanisms mediating the effects of the environment are still unclear. In the last decade, the main focus of attention was the genome, and interindividual genetic polymorphisms were sought after as the principal basis for susceptibility to disease. However, it is becoming clear that recent dramatic increases in the incidence of certain human pathologies, such as asthma and type 2 diabetes, cannot be explained just on the basis of a genetic drift. It is therefore extremely important to unravel the molecular links between the "environmental" exposure, which is believed to be behind this emerging incidence in certain human pathologies, and the disease's molecular mechanisms. Although it is clear that most human pathologies involve long-term changes in gene function, these might be caused by mechanisms other than changes in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA sequence. The genome is programmed by the epigenome, which is composed of chromatin and a covalent modification of DNA by methylation. It is postulated here that "epigenetic" mechanisms mediate the effects of behavioural and environmental exposures early in life, as well as lifelong environmental exposures and the susceptibility to disease later in life. In contrast to genetic sequence differences, epigenetic aberrations are potentially reversible, raising the hope for interventions that will be able to reverse deleterious epigenetic programming.

  7. dbEM: A database of epigenetic modifiers curated from cancerous and normal genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh Nanda, Jagpreet; Kumar, Rahul; Raghava, Gajendra P S

    2016-01-18

    We have developed a database called dbEM (database of Epigenetic Modifiers) to maintain the genomic information of about 167 epigenetic modifiers/proteins, which are considered as potential cancer targets. In dbEM, modifiers are classified on functional basis and comprise of 48 histone methyl transferases, 33 chromatin remodelers and 31 histone demethylases. dbEM maintains the genomic information like mutations, copy number variation and gene expression in thousands of tumor samples, cancer cell lines and healthy samples. This information is obtained from public resources viz. COSMIC, CCLE and 1000-genome project. Gene essentiality data retrieved from COLT database further highlights the importance of various epigenetic proteins for cancer survival. We have also reported the sequence profiles, tertiary structures and post-translational modifications of these epigenetic proteins in cancer. It also contains information of 54 drug molecules against different epigenetic proteins. A wide range of tools have been integrated in dbEM e.g. Search, BLAST, Alignment and Profile based prediction. In our analysis, we found that epigenetic proteins DNMT3A, HDAC2, KDM6A, and TET2 are highly mutated in variety of cancers. We are confident that dbEM will be very useful in cancer research particularly in the field of epigenetic proteins based cancer therapeutics. This database is available for public at URL: http://crdd.osdd.net/raghava/dbem.

  8. dbEM: A database of epigenetic modifiers curated from cancerous and normal genomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh Nanda, Jagpreet; Kumar, Rahul; Raghava, Gajendra P. S.

    2016-01-01

    We have developed a database called dbEM (database of Epigenetic Modifiers) to maintain the genomic information of about 167 epigenetic modifiers/proteins, which are considered as potential cancer targets. In dbEM, modifiers are classified on functional basis and comprise of 48 histone methyl transferases, 33 chromatin remodelers and 31 histone demethylases. dbEM maintains the genomic information like mutations, copy number variation and gene expression in thousands of tumor samples, cancer cell lines and healthy samples. This information is obtained from public resources viz. COSMIC, CCLE and 1000-genome project. Gene essentiality data retrieved from COLT database further highlights the importance of various epigenetic proteins for cancer survival. We have also reported the sequence profiles, tertiary structures and post-translational modifications of these epigenetic proteins in cancer. It also contains information of 54 drug molecules against different epigenetic proteins. A wide range of tools have been integrated in dbEM e.g. Search, BLAST, Alignment and Profile based prediction. In our analysis, we found that epigenetic proteins DNMT3A, HDAC2, KDM6A, and TET2 are highly mutated in variety of cancers. We are confident that dbEM will be very useful in cancer research particularly in the field of epigenetic proteins based cancer therapeutics. This database is available for public at URL: http://crdd.osdd.net/raghava/dbem.

  9. 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.

  10. Small RNA-directed epigenetic natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jixian Zhai

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Progress in epigenetics has revealed mechanisms that can heritably regulate gene function independent of genetic alterations. Nevertheless, little is known about the role of epigenetics in evolution. This is due in part to scant data on epigenetic variation among natural populations. In plants, small interfering RNA (siRNA is involved in both the initiation and maintenance of gene silencing by directing DNA methylation and/or histone methylation. Here, we report that, in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a cluster of approximately 24 nt siRNAs found at high levels in the ecotype Landsberg erecta (Ler could direct DNA methylation and heterochromatinization at a hAT element adjacent to the promoter of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC, a major repressor of flowering, whereas the same hAT element in ecotype Columbia (Col with almost identical DNA sequence, generates a set of low abundance siRNAs that do not direct these activities. We have called this hAT element MPF for Methylated region near Promoter of FLC, although de novo methylation triggered by an inverted repeat transgene at this region in Col does not alter its FLC expression. DNA methylation of the Ler allele MPF is dependent on genes in known silencing pathways, and such methylation is transmissible to Col by genetic crosses, although with varying degrees of penetrance. A genome-wide comparison of Ler and Col small RNAs identified at least 68 loci matched by a significant level of approximately 24 nt siRNAs present specifically in Ler but not Col, where nearly half of the loci are related to repeat or TE sequences. Methylation analysis revealed that 88% of the examined loci (37 out of 42 were specifically methylated in Ler but not Col, suggesting that small RNA can direct epigenetic differences between two closely related Arabidopsis ecotypes.

  11. Twin methodology in epigenetic studies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    for a trait or disease is becoming a popular and powerful design for epigenome-wide association study in linking environmental exposure to differential epigenetic regulation and to disease status while controlling for individual genetic make-up. It can be expected that novel uses of twin methods in epigenetic...

  12. 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

  13. Epigenetic inheritance, prions and evolution

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    ... processes in disease and ageing), i.e., epigenetic changes occurring within individuals. However, a steadily growing body of evidence indicates that epigenetic changes may also sometimes be transmitted from parents to progeny, meiotically in sexually reproducingorganisms or mitotically in asexually reproducing ones.

  14. Epigenetics & chromatin: Interactions and processes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    S. Henikoff (Steven); F.G. Grosveld (Frank)

    2013-01-01

    textabstractOn 11 to 13 March 2013, BioMed Central will be hosting its inaugural conference, Epigenetics & Chromatin: Interactions and Processes, at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA. Epigenetics & Chromatin has now launched a special article series based on the general themes of the

  15. 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…

  16. Epigenetic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Perspectives for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

    OpenAIRE

    Kubota, Takeo; Takae, Hirasawa; Miyake, Kunio

    2012-01-01

    The number of children with mild neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, has been recently increasing in advanced countries. This increase is probably caused by environmental factors rather than genetic factors, because it is unlikely that genetic mutation rates suddenly increased within a short period. Epigenetics is a mechanism that regulates gene expression, depending not on the underlying DNA sequence but on the chemical modifications of DNA and histone proteins. Because mental stre...

  17. Group differences in the heritability of items and test scores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wicherts, Jelte M.; Johnson, Wendy

    2009-01-01

    It is important to understand potential sources of group differences in the heritability of intelligence test scores. On the basis of a basic item response model we argue that heritabilities which are based on dichotomous item scores normally do not generalize from one sample to the next. If groups differ in mean ability, the functioning of items at different ability levels may result in group differences in the heritability of items, even when these items function equivalently across groups and the heritability of the underlying ability is equal across groups. We illustrate this graphically, by computer simulation, and by focusing on several problems associated with a recent study by Rushton et al. who argued that the heritability estimates of items of Raven's Progressive Matrices test in North-American twin samples generalized to other population groups, and hence that the population group differences on this test of general mental ability (or intelligence) had a substantial genetic component. Our results show that item heritabilities are strongly dependent on the group on which the heritabilities were based. Rushton et al.'s results were artefactual and do not speak to the nature of population group differences in intelligence test performance. PMID:19403538

  18. 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

  19. Epigenetics and cardiovascular disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ordovás, José M; Smith, Caren E

    2010-09-01

    Despite advances in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this group of multifactorial disorders remains a leading cause of mortality worldwide. CVD is associated with multiple genetic and modifiable risk factors; however, known environmental and genetic influences can only explain a small part of the variability in CVD risk, which is a major obstacle for its prevention and treatment. A more thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to CVD is, therefore, needed to develop more efficacious and cost-effective therapy. Application of the 'omics' technologies will hopefully make these advances a reality. Epigenomics has emerged as one of the most promising areas that will address some of the gaps in our current knowledge of the interaction between nature and nurture in the development of CVD. Epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA alterations, which collectively enable the cell to respond quickly to environmental changes. A number of CVD risk factors, such as nutrition, smoking, pollution, stress, and the circadian rhythm, have been associated with modification of epigenetic marks. Further examination of these mechanisms may lead to earlier prevention and novel therapy for CVD.

  20. Epigenetics and Trained Immunity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Heijden, Charlotte D C C; Noz, Marlies P; Joosten, Leo A B; Netea, Mihai G; Riksen, Niels P; Keating, Samuel T

    2017-11-21

    A growing body of clinical and experimental evidence has challenged the traditional understanding that only the adaptive immune system can mount immunological memory. Recent findings describe the adaptive characteristics of the innate immune system, underscored by its ability to remember antecedent foreign encounters and respond in a nonspecific sensitized manner to reinfection. This has been termed trained innate immunity. Although beneficial in the context of recurrent infections, this might actually contribute to chronic immune-mediated diseases, such as atherosclerosis. Recent Advances: In line with its proposed role in sustaining cellular memories, epigenetic reprogramming has emerged as a critical determinant of trained immunity. Recent technological and computational advances that improve unbiased acquisition of epigenomic profiles have significantly enhanced our appreciation for the complexities of chromatin architecture in the contexts of diverse immunological challenges. Key to resolving the distinct chromatin signatures of innate immune memory is a comprehensive understanding of the precise physiological targets of regulatory proteins that recognize, deposit, and remove chemical modifications from chromatin as well as other gene-regulating factors. Drawing from a rapidly expanding compendium of experimental and clinical studies, this review details a current perspective of the epigenetic pathways that support the adapted phenotypes of monocytes and macrophages. We explore future strategies that are aimed at exploiting the mechanism of trained immunity to improve the prevention and treatment of infections and immune-mediated chronic disorders. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.

  1. Epigenetic biomarkers of colorectal cancer: Focus on DNA methylation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coppedè, Fabio

    2014-01-28

    The original theory of the multi-step process of colorectal cancer (CRC), suggesting that the disease resulted from the accumulation of mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in colonic mucosa cells, has been largely revised following the observation that epigenetic modifications of several genes occur in the average CRC genome. Therefore, the current opinion is that CRCs are the consequence of the accumulation of both mutations and epigenetic modifications of several genes. This mini-review article focuses on DNA methylation biomarkers in CRC. Recent large-scale DNA methylation studies suggest that CRCs can be divided into at least three-four subtypes according to the frequency of DNA methylation and those of mutations in key CRC genes. Despite hundreds of genes might be epigenetically modified in CRC cells, there is interest in the identification of DNA methylation biomarkers to be used for CRC diagnosis, progression, tendency to tissue invasion and metastasis, prognosis, and response to chemotherapeutic agents. Moreover, DNA methylation largely depends on one-carbon metabolism, the metabolic pathway required for the production of S-adenosylmethionine, the major intracellular methylating agent. Complex interactions are emerging among dietary one-carbon nutrients (folates, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, methionine, and others), their metabolic genes, CRC risk, and DNA methylation profiles in CRC. Moreover, active research is also focused on the possible contribution of folic acid dietary fortification during pregnancy and the possible methylation of CRC-related genes in the offspring. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. DNA sequence-dependent epigenetic inheritance of gene silencing and histone H3K9 methylation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xiaoyi; Moazed, Danesh

    2017-04-07

    Epigenetic inheritance mechanisms play fundamental roles in maintaining cellular memory of gene expression states. In fission yeast, histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) is methylated (H3K9me) at heterochromatic domains. These domains can be epigenetically inherited when epe1+ , encoding an enzyme that promotes H3K9 demethylation, is deleted. How native epigenetic states are stably maintained in epe1+ cells remains unknown. Here, we developed a system to examine the role of DNA sequence and genomic context in propagation of a cis-heritable H3K9me-dependent silenced state. We show that in epe1+ cells, in addition to sequence-independent mechanisms that propagate H3K9me, epigenetic inheritance of silencing requires binding sites for sequence-dependent activating transcription factor (ATF)-adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) response element-binding protein (CREB) family transcription factors within their native chromosomal context. Thus, specific DNA sequences contribute to cis inheritance of H3K9me and silent epigenetic states. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  3. The epigenetics of germ-line immortality: lessons from an elegant model system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Furuhashi, Hirofumi; Kelly, William G

    2010-08-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms are thought to help regulate the unique transcription program that is established in germ cell development. During the germline cycle of many organisms, the epigenome undergoes waves of extensive resetting events, while a part of epigenetic modification remains faithful to specific loci. Little is known about the mechanisms underlying these events, how loci are selected for, or avoid, reprogramming, or even why these events are required. In particular, although the significance of genomic imprinting phenomena involving DNA methylation in mammals is now well accepted, the role of histone modification as a transgenerational epigenetic mechanism has been the subject of debate. Such epigenetic mechanisms may help regulate transcription programs and/or the pluripotent status conferred on germ cells, and contribute to germ line continuity across generations. Recent studies provide new evidence for heritability of histone modifications through germ line cells and its potential effects on transcription regulation both in the soma and germ line of subsequent generations. Unraveling transgenerational epigenetic mechanisms involving highly conserved histone modifications in elegant model systems will accelerate the generation of new paradigms and inspire research in a wide variety of fields, including basic developmental studies and clinical stem cell research.

  4. An introduction to epigenetics as the link between genotype and environment: a personal view.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Soom, A; Peelman, L; Holt, W V; Fazeli, A

    2014-09-01

    Lamarck was one of the first scientists who attempted to explain evolution, and he is especially well known for formulating the concept that acquired characteristics can be transmitted to future generations and may therefore steer evolution. Although Lamarckism fell out of favour soon after the publication of Darwin's work on natural selection and evolution, the concept of transmission of acquired characteristics has recently gained renewed attention and has led to some rethinking of the standard evolutionary model. Epigenetics, or the study of heritable (mitotically and/or meiotically) changes in gene activity that are not brought about by changes in the DNA sequence, can explain some types of ill health in offspring, which have been exposed to stressors during early development, when DNA is most susceptible to such epigenetic influences. In this review, we explain briefly the history of epigenetics and we propose some examples of epigenetic and transgenerational effects demonstrated in humans and animals. Growing evidence is available that the health and phenotype of a given individual is already shaped shortly before and after the time of conception. Some evidence suggests that epigenetic markings, which have been established around conception, can also be transmitted to future generations. This knowledge can possibly be used to revolutionize animal breeding and to increase human and animal health worldwide. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  5. Heritability of plasma neopterin levels in the Old Order Amish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raheja, Uttam K; Fuchs, Dietmar; Lowry, Christopher A; Stephens, Sarah H; Pavlovich, Mary A; Mohyuddin, Hira; Yousufi, Hassaan; Ryan, Kathleen A; O'Connell, Jeff; Brenner, Lisa A; Punzalan, Cecile; Hoisington, Andrew J; Nijjar, Gursharon K; Groer, Maureen; Shuldiner, Alan R; Pollin, Toni I; Stiller, John W; Mitchell, Braxton D; Postolache, Teodor T

    2017-06-15

    We examined the heritability of neopterin, a biomarker for cell-mediated immunity and oxidative stress, and potentially for psychiatric disorders, in the Old Order Amish. Plasma neopterin levels were determined in 2015 Old Order Amish adults. Quantitative genetic procedures were used to estimate heritability of neopterin. Heritability of log-neopterin was estimated at 0.07 after adjusting for age, gender, and household (p=0.03). The shared household effect was 0.06 (pAmish. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  6. Intergenerational epigenetic inheritance in reef-building corals

    KAUST Repository

    Liew, Yi Jin

    2018-02-22

    The notion that intergenerational or transgenerational inheritance operates solely through genetic means is slowly being eroded: epigenetic mechanisms have been shown to induce heritable changes in gene activity in plants and metazoans. Inheritance of DNA methylation provides a potential pathway for environmentally induced phenotypes to contribute to evolution of species and populations. However, in basal metazoans, it is unknown whether inheritance of CpG methylation patterns occurs across the genome (as in plants) or as rare exceptions (as in mammals). Here, we demonstrate genome-wide intergenerational transmission of CpG methylation patterns from parents to sperm and larvae in a reef-building coral. We also show variation in hypermethylated genes in corals from distinct environments, indicative of responses to variations in temperature and salinity. These findings support a role of DNA methylation in the transgenerational inheritance of traits in corals, which may extend to enhancing their capacity to adapt to climate change.

  7. Nature or nurture: let food be your epigenetic medicine in chronic inflammatory disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szarc vel Szic, Katarzyna; Ndlovu, Matladi N; Haegeman, Guy; Vanden Berghe, Wim

    2010-12-15

    Numerous clinical, physiopathological and epidemiological studies have underlined the detrimental or beneficial role of nutritional factors in complex inflammation related disorders such as allergy, asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Today, nutritional research has shifted from alleviating nutrient deficiencies to chronic disease prevention. It is known that lifestyle, environmental conditions and nutritional compounds influence gene expression. Gene expression states are set by transcriptional activators and repressors and are often locked in by cell-heritable chromatin states. Only recently, it has been observed that the environmental conditions and daily diet can affect transgenerational gene expression via "reversible" heritable epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic changes in DNA methylation patterns at CpG sites (epimutations) or corrupt chromatin states of key inflammatory genes and noncoding RNAs, recently emerged as major governing factors in cancer, chronic inflammatory and metabolic disorders. Reciprocally, inflammation, metabolic stress and diet composition can also change activities of the epigenetic machinery and indirectly or directly change chromatin marks. This has recently launched re-exploration of anti-inflammatory bioactive food components for characterization of their effects on epigenome modifying enzymatic activities (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, ribosylation, oxidation, ubiquitination, sumoylation). This may allow to improve healthy aging by reversing disease prone epimutations involved in chronic inflammatory and metabolic disorders. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Genetic alterations and epigenetic changes in hepatocarcinogenesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luz Stella Hoyos Giraldo

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available

    Hepatocarcinogenesis as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC is associated with background of chronic liver disease usually in association with cirrhosis, marked hepatic fibrosis, hepatitis B virus (HBV and/or hepatitis virus (HCV infection, chronic inflammation, Aflatoxin B1(AFB1 exposure, chronic alcoholism, metabolic disorder of the liver and necroinflamatory liver disease. Hepatocarcinogenesis involve two mechanisms, genetic alterations (with changes in the cell's DNA sequence and epigenetic changes (without changes in the cell's DNA sequence, but changes in the pattern of gene expression that can persist through one or more generations (somatic sense. Hepatocarcinogenesis is associated with activation of oncogenes and decreased expression of tumor suppressor genes (TSG; include those involved in cell cycle control, apoptosis, DNA repair, immortalization and angiogenesis. AFB1 is metabolized in the liver into a potent carcinogen, aflatoxin 8, 9-epoxide, which is detoxified by epoxide hydrolase (EPHX and glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1.

    A failure of detoxification processes can allow to mutagenic metabolite to bind to DNA and inducing P53 mutation. Genetic polymorphism of EPHX and GSTM1 can make individuals more susceptible to AFB1. Epigenetic inactivation of GSTP1 by promoter hypermethylation plays a role in the development of HCC because, it leads that electrophilic metabolite increase DNA damage and mutations. HBV DNA integration into the host chromosomal DNA of hepatocytes has been detected in HBV-related HCC.

    DNA tumor viruses cause cancer mainly by interfering with cell cycle controls, and activating the cell's replication machinery by blocking the action of key TSG. HBx protein is a

  9. Environmental variation partitioned into separate heritable components.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ørsted, Michael; Rohde, Palle Duun; Hoffmann, Ary Anthony; Sørensen, Peter; Kristensen, Torsten Nygaard

    2018-01-01

    Trait variation is normally separated into genetic and environmental components, yet genetic factors also control the expression of environmental variation, encompassing plasticity across environmental gradients and within-environment responses. We defined four components of environmental variation: plasticity across environments, variability in plasticity, variation within environments, and differences in within-environment variation across environments. We assessed these components for cold tolerance across five rearing temperatures using the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP). The four components were found to be heritable, and genetically correlated to different extents. By whole genome single marker regression, we detected multiple candidate genes controlling the four components and showed limited overlap in genes affecting them. Using the binary UAS-GAL4 system, we functionally validated the effects of a subset of candidate genes affecting each of the four components of environmental variation and also confirmed the genetic and phenotypic correlations obtained from the DGRP in distinct genetic backgrounds. We delineate selection targets associated with environmental variation and the constraints acting upon them, providing a framework for evolutionary and applied studies on environmental sensitivity. Based on our results we suggest that the traditional quantitative genetic view of environmental variation and genotype-by-environment interactions needs revisiting. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  10. Efficient and heritable transformation of Phalaenopsis orchids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hsing, Hong-Xian; Lin, Yi-Jyun; Tong, Chii-Gong; Li, Min-Jeng; Chen, Yun-Jin; Ko, Swee-Suak

    2016-12-01

    Phalaenopsis orchid (Phal. orchid) is visually attractive and it is important economic floriculture species. Phal. orchids have many unique biological features. However, investigation of these features and validation on their biological functions are limited due to the lack of an efficient transformation method. We developed a heritable and efficient Agrobacterium- mediated transformation using protocorms derived from tetraploid or diploid Phal. orchids. A T-DNA vector construct containing eGFP driven by ubiquitin promoter was subjected to transformation. An approximate 1.2-5.2 % transformation rate was achieved. Genomic PCR confirmed that hygromycin selection marker, HptII gene and target gene eGFP were integrated into the orchid genome. Southern blotting indicated a low T-DNA insertion number in the orchid genome of the transformants. Western blot confirmed the expression of eGFP protein in the transgenic orchids. Furthermore, the GFP signal was detected in the transgenic orchids under microscopy. After backcrossing the pollinia of the transgenic plants to four different Phal. orchid varieties, the BC1 progenies showed hygromycin resistance and all surviving BC1 seedlings were HptII positive in PCR and expressed GFP protein as shown by western blot. This study demonstrated a stable transformation system was generated for Phal. orchids. This useful transformation protocol enables functional genomics studies and molecular breeding.

  11. Complex disease, gender and epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaminsky, Zachary; Wang, Sun-Chong; Petronis, Arturas

    2006-01-01

    Gender differences in susceptibility to complex disease such as asthma, diabetes, lupus, autism and major depression, among numerous other disorders, represent one of the hallmarks of non-Mendelian biology. It has been generally accepted that endocrinological differences are involved in the sexual dimorphism of complex disease; however, specific molecular mechanisms of such hormonal effects have not been elucidated yet. This paper will review evidence that sex hormone action may be mediated via gene-specific epigenetic modifications of DNA and histones. The epigenetic modifications can explain sex effects at DNA sequence polymorphisms and haplotypes identified in gender-stratified genetic linkage and association studies. Hormone-induced DNA methylation and histone modification changes at specific gene regulatory regions may increase or reduce the risk of a disease. The epigenetic interpretation of sexual dimorphism fits well into the epigenetic theory of complex disease, which argues for the primary pathogenic role of inherited and/or acquired epigenetic misregulation rather than DNA sequence variation. The new experimental strategies, especially the high throughput microarray-based epigenetic profiling, can be used for testing the epigenetic hypothesis of gender effects in complex diseases.

  12. Pancreatic Cancer, A Mis-interpreter of the Epigenetic Language.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iguchi, Eriko; Safgren, Stephanie L; Marks, David L; Olson, Rachel L; Fernandez-Zapico, Martin E

    2016-12-01

    Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. with close to 40,000 deaths per year. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represents approximately 90 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases and is the most lethal form of the disease. Current therapies for PDAC are ineffective and most patients cannot be treated by surgical resection. Most research efforts have primarily focused on how genetic alterations cause, alter progression, contribute to diagnosis, and influence PDAC management. Over the past two decades, a model has been advanced of PDAC initiation and progression as a multi-step process driven by the acquisition of mutations leading to loss of tumor suppressors and activation of oncogenes. The recognition of the essential roles of these genetic alterations in the development of PDAC has revolutionized our knowledge of this disease. However, none of these findings have turned into effective treatment for this dismal malignancy. In recent years, studies in the areas of chromatin modifications, and non-coding RNAs have uncovered mechanisms for regulating gene expression which occur independently of genetic alterations. Chromatin-based mechanisms are interwoven with microRNA-driven regulation of protein translation to create an integrated epigenetic language, which is grossly dysregulated in PDAC. Thus in PDAC, key tumor suppressors that are well established to play a role in PDAC may be repressed, and oncogenes can be upregulated secondary to epigenetic alterations. Unlike mutations, epigenetic changes are potentially reversible. Given this feature of epigenetic mechanisms, it is conceivable that targeting epigenetic-based events promoting and maintaining PDAC could serve as foundation for the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for this disease.

  13. SNP based heritability estimation using a Bayesian approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Krag, Kristian; Janss, Luc; Mahdi Shariati, Mohammad

    2013-01-01

    of 0.05, all models had difficulties in estimating the true heritability. The two Bayesian models were compared with a restricted maximum likelihood (REML) approach using a genomic relationship matrix. The comparison showed that the Bayesian approaches performed equally well as the REML approach......Heritability is a central element in quantitative genetics. New molecular markers to assess genetic variance and heritability are continually under development. The availability of molecular single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers can be applied for estimation of variance components....... Differences in family structure were in general not found to influence the estimation of the heritability. For the sample sizes used in this study, a 10-fold increase of SNP density did not improve precision estimates compared with set-ups with a less dense distribution of SNPs. The methods used in this study...

  14. Childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression: beyond heritability

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Franic, S.; Middeldorp, C.M.; Dolan, C.V.; Ligthart, L.; Boomsma, D.I.

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To review the methodology of behavior genetics studies addressing research questions that go beyond simple heritability estimation and illustrate these using representative research on childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression. Method: The classic twin design and its extensions may

  15. Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety and Depression: Beyond Heritability

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Franic, S.; Middeldorp, C.M.; Dolan, C.V.; Ligthart, R.S.L.; Boomsma, D.I.

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To review the methodology of behavior genetics studies addressing research questions that go beyond simple heritability estimation and illustrate these using representative research on childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression. Method: The classic twin design and its extensions may

  16. Heritability of wing-beat frequency in Anopheles quadrimaculatus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robertson, Shawn P; Caprio, Michael A; Faver, Marla K

    2002-12-01

    The repeatability of male wing-beat frequency measurements of Anopheles quadrimaculatus was determined by using mosquitoes allowed free flight in a confined space. Heritability of the wing-beat frequency trait was estimated for a laboratory and a wild-strain population of An. quadrimaculatus by using free-flight measurement with a parent-offspring regression of offspring on dams. Repeatability was 0.75 for free flight. Wing-beat frequency rose for the 1st day after adult emergence and then became steady. Female heritability of wing-beat frequency was 21.6% for colony and 24.0% for wild-strain mosquitoes. Male heritability was 57.2% for colony and 53.7% for wild-strain mosquitoes. Male heritability was significantly different from 0 when probabilities were combined across both populations.

  17. Tic symptom dimensions and their heritabilities in Tourette's syndrome

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Haan, Marcel J; Delucchi, Kevin L; Mathews, Carol M; Cath, Danielle C

    INTRODUCTION: Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome (TS) is both genotypically and phenotypically heterogeneous. Gene-finding strategies have had limited success, possibly because of symptom heterogeneity. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed at specifically investigating heritabilities of tic symptom factors in

  18. Epigenetic differences between human papillomavirus-positive and -negative oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biron, Vincent L; Mohamed, Adil; Hendzel, Michael J; Alan Underhill, D; Seikaly, Hadi

    2012-04-01

    Epigenetic modifications are defined as heritable changes in gene expression that are not encoded in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Despite the importance of epigenetics in tumorigenesis, there is a paucity of information regarding the epigenetic profiles of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). The objective of this study was to identify epigenetic signatures associated with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive and -negative OPSCC. We collected demographic, pathologic, and survival data from 44 patients with advanced-stage OPSCC treated with surgery and chemoradiation at the University of Alberta between January 2006 and December 2008. Tumour specimen from these patients were retreived and sectioned for immunohistochemical analysis. Double immunofluorescence staining was performed with p16 (HPV surrogate) and a panel of epigenetic markers, namely, histone methyl-lysines 4, 9, and 27 and H4 methyl-lysine 20. Correlation between p16 and epigenetic markers was measured using Metamorph and Image J software. Forty-one percent of patients were p16 positive. No statistically significant differences were found between p16-positive and -negative patients in terms of age at diagnosis, tumour subsite, or smoking history. We found significant differences in histone methylation between p16-positive and -negative tumours. OPSCC tumours positive for p16 had global elevations of histone H4 monomethylated lysine 20 (H4K20me1) and H3 trimethylated lysine 27 (H3K27me3) with depletions of H4 trimethylated lysine 20 (H4K20me3). In contrast, p16-negative tumours had depleted levels of H4K20me1 and H3K27me3 with high levels of H4K20me3. HPV-positive and -negative OPSCCs have distinct epigenetic profiles representing broad gene expression differences between these tumours.

  19. 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.

  20. Partitioning heritability by functional category using GWAS summary statistics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Finucane, Hilary K.; Bulik-Sullivan, Brendan; Gusev, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 17 complex diseases and traits with an average sample size of 73,599. To enable this analysis, we introduce a new method, stratified LD score regression, for partitioning heritability from GWAS summary statistics while accounting for linked markers. This new...... type-specific enrichments, including significant enrichment of central nervous system cell types in the heritability of body mass index, age at menarche, educational attainment and smoking behavior....

  1. Aging epigenetics: causes and consequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huidobro, Covadonga; Fernandez, Agustin F; Fraga, Mario F

    2013-01-01

    Growth and development of higher organisms are regulated by the orchestrated change of epigenetic marks over time. In addition, there is also an epigenetic variation without any apparent role in development that is thought to be the result of the stochastic accumulation of epigenetic errors. The process depends on genetic and environmental factors and, when it takes place in adult stem cells, it could play an important role in aging, although the underlying molecular mechanisms are still largely unknown. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Epigenetic memory in kidney diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mimura, Imari

    2016-02-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms have been the focus of intensive research. De Marinis et al. demonstrated that high glucose levels exert stimulatory effects on activation histone marks, leading to the upregulation of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) gene expression, which is proinflammatory. They also showed that the effect was reversed by the inhibition of histone acetyltransferase, suggesting a new therapeutic approach for improving diabetic kidney disease. Epigenetic changes are memorized as epigenetic memory that could exacerbate diabetic complications. Copyright © 2016 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Insights into the epigenetic mechanisms controlling pancreatic carcinogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCleary-Wheeler, Angela L; Lomberk, Gwen A; Weiss, Frank U; Schneider, Günter; Fabbri, Muller; Poshusta, Tara L; Dusetti, Nelson J; Baumgart, Sandra; Iovanna, Juan L; Ellenrieder, Volker; Urrutia, Raul; Fernandez-Zapico, Martin E

    2013-01-28

    During the last couple decades, we have significantly advanced our understanding of mechanisms underlying the development of pancreatic ductual adenocarcinoma (PDAC). In the late 1990s into the early 2000s, a model of PDAC development and progression was developed as a multi-step process associated with the accumulation of somatic mutations. The correlation and association of these particular genetic aberrations with the establishment and progression of PDAC has revolutionized our understanding of this process. However, this model leaves out other molecular events involved in PDAC pathogenesis that contribute to its development and maintenance, specifically those being epigenetic events. Thus, a new model considering the new scientific paradigms of epigenetics will provide a more comprehensive and useful framework for understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this disease. Epigenetics is defined as the type of inheritance not based on a particular DNA sequence but rather traits that are passed to the next generation via DNA and histone modifications as well as microRNA-dependent mechanisms. Key tumor suppressors that are well established to play a role in PDAC may be altered through hypermethylation, and oncogenes can be upregulated secondary to permissive histone modifications. Factors involved in tumor invasiveness can be aberrantly expressed through dysregulated microRNAs. A noteworthy characteristic of epigenetic-based inheritance is its reversibility, which is in contrast to the stable nature of DNA sequence-based alterations. Given this nature of epigenetic alterations, it becomes imperative that our understanding of epigenetic-based events promoting and maintaining PDAC continues to grow. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  5. Heritabilities of somatotype components in a population from rural Mozambique.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saranga, Sílvio Pedro José; Prista, António; Nhantumbo, Leonardo; Beunen, Gaston; Rocha, Jorge; Williams-Blangero, Sarah; Maia, José A

    2008-01-01

    There have been few genetic studies of normal variation in body size and composition conducted in Africa. In particular, the genetic determinants of somatotype remain to be established for an African population. (1) To estimate the heritabilities of aspects of somatotype and (2) to compare the quantitative genetic effects in an African population to those that have been assessed in European and American populations. The sample composed of 329 subjects (173 males and 156 females) aged 7-17 years, belonging to 132 families. The sibships in the sample ranged in size from two to seven individuals. All sampled individuals were residents of the Calanga region, an area located to the north of Maputo in Mozambique. Somatotype was assessed using the Heath-Carter technique. Herit abilities were estimated using SAGE software. Moderate heritabilities were determined for each trait. Between 30 and 40% of the variation in each somatotype measure was attributable to genetic factors. The heritability of ectomorphy was 31%. Mesomorphy was similarly moderately heritable, with approximately 30% of the variationattributable to genetic factors. The heritability of endomorph was higher in the Calanga population (h(2) = 0.40). Quantitative genetic analyses of somatotype variation among siblings indicate that genetic factors significantly influence endomorphy, mesomorhpy, and ectomorphy. However, environmental factors also have significant effects on the variation in physique present in the population of Calanga. Lack of proper nutrition, housing, medical assistance, and primary health care, together with very demanding and sex-specific daily chores may contribute to the environmental effects on these traits.

  6. Heritability of compulsive Internet use in adolescents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vink, Jacqueline M; van Beijsterveldt, Toos C E M; Huppertz, Charlotte; Bartels, Meike; Boomsma, Dorret I

    2016-03-01

    Over the past decades, Internet use has grown substantially, and it now serves people as a supportive tool that is used regularly and-in large parts of the world-inevitably. Some people develop problematic Internet use, which may lead to addictive behavior and it is becoming important to explore the risk factors for compulsive Internet use. Data were analyzed on compulsive Internet use [with the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS)] from 5247 monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) adolescent twins registered with the Netherlands Twin Register. The participants form a sample that is informative for genetic analyses, allowing the investigation of the causes of individual differences in compulsive Internet use. The internal consistency of the instrument was high and the 1.6-year test-retest correlation in a subsample (n = 902) was 0.55. CIUS scores increased slightly with age. Remarkably, gender did not explain variation in CIUS scores, as mean scores on the CIUS were the same in boys and girls. However, the time spent on specific Internet activities differed: boys spent more time on gaming, whereas girls spent more time on social network sites and chatting. The heritability estimates were the same for boys and girls: 48 percent of the individual differences in CIUS score were influenced by genetic factors. The remaining variance (52 percent) was due to environmental influences that were not shared between family members. Because a life without Internet is almost impossible nowadays, it is important to further explore the determinants of compulsive Internet use, including genetic risk factors. © 2015 The Authors. Addiction Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction.

  7. Heritability of compulsive Internet use in adolescents

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Beijsterveldt, Toos C. E. M.; Huppertz, Charlotte; Bartels, Meike; Boomsma, Dorret I.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Over the past decades, Internet use has grown substantially, and it now serves people as a supportive tool that is used regularly and—in large parts of the world—inevitably. Some people develop problematic Internet use, which may lead to addictive behavior and it is becoming important to explore the risk factors for compulsive Internet use. Data were analyzed on compulsive Internet use [with the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS)] from 5247 monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) adolescent twins registered with the Netherlands Twin Register. The participants form a sample that is informative for genetic analyses, allowing the investigation of the causes of individual differences in compulsive Internet use. The internal consistency of the instrument was high and the 1.6‐year test–retest correlation in a subsample (n = 902) was 0.55. CIUS scores increased slightly with age. Remarkably, gender did not explain variation in CIUS scores, as mean scores on the CIUS were the same in boys and girls. However, the time spent on specific Internet activities differed: boys spent more time on gaming, whereas girls spent more time on social network sites and chatting. The heritability estimates were the same for boys and girls: 48 percent of the individual differences in CIUS score were influenced by genetic factors. The remaining variance (52 percent) was due to environmental influences that were not shared between family members. Because a life without Internet is almost impossible nowadays, it is important to further explore the determinants of compulsive Internet use, including genetic risk factors. PMID:25582809

  8. Analysis of Heritability and Shared Heritability Based on Genome-Wide Association Studies for Thirteen Cancer Types

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sampson, Joshua N; Wheeler, William A; Yeager, Meredith; Panagiotou, Orestis; Wang, Zhaoming; Berndt, Sonja I; Lan, Qing; Abnet, Christian C; Amundadottir, Laufey T; Figueroa, Jonine D; Landi, Maria Teresa; Mirabello, Lisa; Savage, Sharon A; Taylor, Philip R; Vivo, Immaculata De; McGlynn, Katherine A; Purdue, Mark P; Rajaraman, Preetha; Adami, Hans-Olov; Ahlbom, Anders; Albanes, Demetrius; Amary, Maria Fernanda; An, She-Juan; Andersson, Ulrika; Andriole, Gerald; Andrulis, Irene L; Angelucci, Emanuele; Ansell, Stephen M; Arici, Cecilia; Armstrong, Bruce K; Arslan, Alan A; Austin, Melissa A; Baris, Dalsu; Barkauskas, Donald A; Bassig, Bryan A; Becker, Nikolaus; Benavente, Yolanda; Benhamou, Simone; Berg, Christine; Van Den Berg, David; Bernstein, Leslie; Bertrand, Kimberly A; Birmann, Brenda M; Black, Amanda; Boeing, Heiner; Boffetta, Paolo; Boutron-Ruault, Marie-Christine; Bracci, Paige M; Brinton, Louise; Brooks-Wilson, Angela R; Bueno-de-Mesquita, H Bas; Burdett, Laurie; Buring, Julie; Butler, Mary Ann; Cai, Qiuyin; Cancel-Tassin, Geraldine; Canzian, Federico; Carrato, Alfredo; Carreon, Tania; Carta, Angela; Chan, John K C; Chang, Ellen T; Chang, Gee-Chen; Chang, I-Shou; Chang, Jiang; Chang-Claude, Jenny; Chen, Chien-Jen; Chen, Chih-Yi; Chen, Chu; Chen, Chung-Hsing; Chen, Constance; Chen, Hongyan; Chen, Kexin; Chen, Kuan-Yu; Chen, Kun-Chieh; Chen, Ying; Chen, Ying-Hsiang; Chen, Yi-Song; Chen, Yuh-Min; Chien, Li-Hsin; Chirlaque, María-Dolores; Choi, Jin Eun; Choi, Yi Young; Chow, Wong-Ho; Chung, Charles C; Clavel, Jacqueline; Clavel-Chapelon, Françoise; Cocco, Pierluigi; Colt, Joanne S; Comperat, Eva; Conde, Lucia; Connors, Joseph M; Conti, David; Cortessis, Victoria K; Cotterchio, Michelle; Cozen, Wendy; Crouch, Simon; Crous-Bou, Marta; Cussenot, Olivier; Davis, Faith G; Ding, Ti; Diver, W Ryan; Dorronsoro, Miren; Dossus, Laure; Duell, Eric J; Ennas, Maria Grazia; Erickson, Ralph L; Feychting, Maria; Flanagan, Adrienne M; Foretova, Lenka; Fraumeni, Joseph F; Freedman, Neal D; Beane Freeman, Laura E; Fuchs, Charles; Gago-Dominguez, Manuela; Gallinger, Steven; Gao, Yu-Tang; Gapstur, Susan M; Garcia-Closas, Montserrat; García-Closas, Reina; Gascoyne, Randy D; Gastier-Foster, Julie; Gaudet, Mia M; Gaziano, J Michael; Giffen, Carol; Giles, Graham G; Giovannucci, Edward; Glimelius, Bengt; Goggins, Michael; Gokgoz, Nalan; Goldstein, Alisa M; Gorlick, Richard; Gross, Myron; Grubb, Robert; Gu, Jian; Guan, Peng; Gunter, Marc; Guo, Huan; Habermann, Thomas M; Haiman, Christopher A; Halai, Dina; Hallmans, Goran; Hassan, Manal; Hattinger, Claudia; He, Qincheng; He, Xingzhou; Helzlsouer, Kathy; Henderson, Brian; Henriksson, Roger; Hjalgrim, Henrik; Hoffman-Bolton, Judith; Hohensee, Chancellor; Holford, Theodore R; Holly, Elizabeth A; Hong, Yun-Chul; Hoover, Robert N; Horn-Ross, Pamela L; Hosain, G M Monawar; Hosgood, H Dean; Hsiao, Chin-Fu; Hu, Nan; Hu, Wei; Hu, Zhibin; Huang, Ming-Shyan; Huerta, Jose-Maria; Hung, Jen-Yu; Hutchinson, Amy; Inskip, Peter D; Jackson, Rebecca D; Jacobs, Eric J; Jenab, Mazda; Jeon, Hyo-Sung; Ji, Bu-Tian; Jin, Guangfu; Jin, Li; Johansen, Christoffer; Johnson, Alison; Jung, Yoo Jin; Kaaks, Rudolph; Kamineni, Aruna; Kane, Eleanor; Kang, Chang Hyun; Karagas, Margaret R; Kelly, Rachel S; Khaw, Kay-Tee; Kim, Christopher; Kim, Hee Nam; Kim, Jin Hee; Kim, Jun Suk; Kim, Yeul Hong; Kim, Young Tae; Kim, Young-Chul; Kitahara, Cari M; Klein, Alison P; Klein, Robert J; Kogevinas, Manolis; Kohno, Takashi; Kolonel, Laurence N; Kooperberg, Charles; Kricker, Anne; Krogh, Vittorio; Kunitoh, Hideo; Kurtz, Robert C; Kweon, Sun-Seog; LaCroix, Andrea; Lawrence, Charles; Lecanda, Fernando; Lee, Victor Ho Fun; Li, Donghui; Li, Haixin; Li, Jihua; Li, Yao-Jen; Li, Yuqing; Liao, Linda M; Liebow, Mark; Lightfoot, Tracy; Lim, Wei-Yen; Lin, Chien-Chung; Lin, Dongxin; Lindstrom, Sara; Linet, Martha S; Link, Brian K; Liu, Chenwei; Liu, Jianjun; Liu, Li; Ljungberg, Börje; Lloreta, Josep; Lollo, Simonetta Di; Lu, Daru; Lund, Eiluv; Malats, Nuria; Mannisto, Satu; Marchand, Loic Le; Marina, Neyssa; Masala, Giovanna; Mastrangelo, Giuseppe; Matsuo, Keitaro; Maynadie, Marc; McKay, James; McKean-Cowdin, Roberta; Melbye, Mads; Melin, Beatrice S; Michaud, Dominique S; Mitsudomi, Tetsuya; Monnereau, Alain; Montalvan, Rebecca; Moore, Lee E; Mortensen, Lotte Maxild; Nieters, Alexandra; North, Kari E; Novak, Anne J; Oberg, Ann L; Offit, Kenneth; Oh, In-Jae; Olson, Sara H; Palli, Domenico; Pao, William; Park, In Kyu; Park, Jae Yong; Park, Kyong Hwa; Patiño-Garcia, Ana; Pavanello, Sofia; Peeters, Petra H M; Perng, Reury-Perng; Peters, Ulrike; Petersen, Gloria M; Picci, Piero; Pike, Malcolm C; Porru, Stefano; Prescott, Jennifer; Prokunina-Olsson, Ludmila; Qian, Biyun; Qiao, You-Lin; Rais, Marco; Riboli, Elio; Riby, Jacques; Risch, Harvey A; Rizzato, Cosmeri; Rodabough, Rebecca; Roman, Eve; Roupret, Morgan; Ruder, Avima M; Sanjose, Silvia de; Scelo, Ghislaine; Schned, Alan; Schumacher, Fredrick; Schwartz, Kendra; Schwenn, Molly; Scotlandi, Katia; Seow, Adeline; Serra, Consol; Serra, Massimo; Sesso, Howard D; Setiawan, Veronica Wendy; Severi, Gianluca; Severson, Richard K; Shanafelt, Tait D; Shen, Hongbing; Shen, Wei; Shin, Min-Ho; Shiraishi, Kouya; Shu, Xiao-Ou; Siddiq, Afshan; Sierrasesúmaga, Luis; Sihoe, Alan Dart Loon; Skibola, Christine F; Smith, Alex; Smith, Martyn T; Southey, Melissa C; Spinelli, John J; Staines, Anthony; Stampfer, Meir; Stern, Marianna C; Stevens, Victoria L; Stolzenberg-Solomon, Rachael S; Su, Jian; Su, Wu-Chou; Sund, Malin; Sung, Jae Sook; Sung, Sook Whan; Tan, Wen; Tang, Wei; Tardón, Adonina; Thomas, David; Thompson, Carrie A; Tinker, Lesley F; Tirabosco, Roberto; Tjønneland, Anne; Travis, Ruth C; Trichopoulos, Dimitrios; Tsai, Fang-Yu; Tsai, Ying-Huang; Tucker, Margaret; Turner, Jenny; Vajdic, Claire M; Vermeulen, Roel C H|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/216532620; Villano, Danylo J; Vineis, Paolo; Virtamo, Jarmo; Visvanathan, Kala; Wactawski-Wende, Jean; Wang, Chaoyu; Wang, Chih-Liang; Wang, Jiu-Cun; Wang, Junwen; Wei, Fusheng; Weiderpass, Elisabete; Weiner, George J; Weinstein, Stephanie; Wentzensen, Nicolas; White, Emily; Witzig, Thomas E; Wolpin, Brian M; Wong, Maria Pik; Wu, Chen; Wu, Guoping; Wu, Junjie; Wu, Tangchun; Wu, Wei; Wu, Xifeng; Wu, Yi-Long; Wunder, Jay S; Xiang, Yong-Bing; Xu, Jun; Xu, Ping; Yang, Pan-Chyr; Yang, Tsung-Ying; Ye, Yuanqing; Yin, Zhihua; Yokota, Jun; Yoon, Ho-Il; Yu, Chong-Jen; Yu, Herbert; Yu, Kai; Yuan, Jian-Min; Zelenetz, Andrew; Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Anne; Zhang, Xu-Chao; Zhang, Yawei; Zhao, Xueying; Zhao, Zhenhong; Zheng, Hong; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zheng, Wei; Zhou, Baosen; Zhu, Meng; Zucca, Mariagrazia; Boca, Simina M; Cerhan, James R; Ferri, Giovanni M; Hartge, Patricia; Hsiung, Chao Agnes; Magnani, Corrado; Miligi, Lucia; Morton, Lindsay M; Smedby, Karin E; Teras, Lauren R; Vijai, Joseph; Wang, Sophia S; Brennan, Paul; Caporaso, Neil E; Hunter, David J; Kraft, Peter; Rothman, Nathaniel; Silverman, Debra T; Slager, Susan L; Chanock, Stephen J; Chatterjee, Nilanjan

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Studies of related individuals have consistently demonstrated notable familial aggregation of cancer. We aim to estimate the heritability and genetic correlation attributable to the additive effects of common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for cancer at 13 anatomical sites.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Nickel and Epigenetic Gene Silencing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hong Sun

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Insoluble nickel compounds are well-established human carcinogens. Occupational exposure to these compounds leads to increased incidence of lung and nasal cancer in nickel refinery workers. Apart from its weak mutagenic activity and hypoxia mimicking effect there is mounting experimental evidence indicating that epigenetic alteration plays an important role in nickel-induced carcinogenesis. Multiple epigenetic mechanisms have been identified to mediate nickel-induced gene silencing. Nickel ion is able to induce heterochromatinization by binding to DNA-histone complexes and initiating chromatin condensation. The enzymes required for establishing or removing epigenetic marks can be targeted by nickel, leading to altered DNA methylation and histone modification landscapes. The current review will focus on the epigenetic changes that contribute to nickel-induced gene silencing.

  12. Nickel and epigenetic gene silencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Hong; Shamy, Magdy; Costa, Max

    2013-10-25

    Insoluble nickel compounds are well-established human carcinogens. Occupational exposure to these compounds leads to increased incidence of lung and nasal cancer in nickel refinery workers. Apart from its weak mutagenic activity and hypoxia mimicking effect there is mounting experimental evidence indicating that epigenetic alteration plays an important role in nickel-induced carcinogenesis. Multiple epigenetic mechanisms have been identified to mediate nickel-induced gene silencing. Nickel ion is able to induce heterochromatinization by binding to DNA-histone complexes and initiating chromatin condensation. The enzymes required for establishing or removing epigenetic marks can be targeted by nickel, leading to altered DNA methylation and histone modification landscapes. The current review will focus on the epigenetic changes that contribute to nickel-induced gene silencing.

  13. 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.

  14. Epigenetic mechanisms in penile carcinoma

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kuasne, Hellen; Marchi, Fabio Albuquerque; Rogatto, Silvia Regina

    2013-01-01

    in different cell types is acquired by chromatin modifications, which are established by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms involving DNA methylation, histone acetylation, and miRNAs. Recent evidence indicates that the dysregulation in these processes can result in the development of several diseases, including......Penile carcinoma (PeCa) represents an important public health problem in poor and developing countries. Despite its unpredictable behavior and aggressive treatment, there have only been a few reports regarding its molecular data, especially epigenetic mechanisms. The functional diversity...... cancer. Epigenetic alterations, such as the methylation of CpGs islands, may reveal candidates for the development of specific markers for cancer detection, diagnosis and prognosis. There are a few reports on the epigenetic alterations in PeCa, and most of these studies have only focused on alterations...

  15. 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...... to molecular phenotypes offers new opportunities to study the genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) contributions to epigenetic regulation of gene activity during developmental, ageing and disease processes. Besides the classical twin model, the case co-twin design using identical twins discordant...... for a trait or disease is becoming a popular and powerful design for epigenome-wide association study in linking environmental exposure to differential epigenetic regulation and to disease status while controlling for individual genetic make-up. It can be expected that novel uses of twin methods in epigenetic...

  16. 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.

    2015-01-01

    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, holds great therapeutic potential in the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. PMID:25131543

  17. Epigenetic memory: the Lamarckian brain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Andre

    2014-01-01

    Recent data support the view that epigenetic processes play a role in memory consolidation and help to transmit acquired memories even across generations in a Lamarckian manner. Drugs that target the epigenetic machinery were found to enhance memory function in rodents and ameliorate disease phenotypes in models for brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Chorea Huntington, Depression or Schizophrenia. In this review, I will give an overview on the current knowledge of epigenetic processes in memory function and brain disease with a focus on Morbus Alzheimer as the most common neurodegenerative disease. I will address the question whether an epigenetic therapy could indeed be a suitable therapeutic avenue to treat brain diseases and discuss the necessary steps that should help to take neuroepigenetic research to the next level. PMID:24719207

  18. Ovarian carcinomas with genetic and epigenetic BRCA1 loss have distinct molecular abnormalities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gilks, C. Blake; Press, Joshua Z.; De Luca, Alessandro; Boyd, Niki; Young, Sean; Troussard, Armelle; Ridge, Yolanda; Kaurah, Pardeep; Kalloger, Steve E.; Blood, Katherine A.; Smith, Margaret; Spellman, Paul T.; Wang, Yuker; Miller, Dianne M.; Horsman, Doug; Faham, Malek; Gilks, C. Blake; Gray, Joe; Huntsman, David G.

    2008-05-02

    Subclassification of ovarian carcinomas can be used to guide treatment and determine prognosis. Germline and somatic mutations, loss of heterozygosity (LOH), and epigenetic events such as promoter hypermethylation can lead to decreased expression of BRCA1/2 in ovarian cancers. The mechanism of BRCA1/2 loss is a potential method of subclassifying high grade serous carcinomas. A consecutive series of 49 ovarian cancers was assessed for mutations status of BRCA1 and BRCA2, LOH at the BRCA1 and BRCA2 loci, methylation of the BRCA1 promoter, BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN, and PIK3CA transcript levels, PIK3CA gene copy number, and BRCA1, p21, p53, and WT-1 immunohistochemistry. Eighteen (37%) of the ovarian carcinomas had germline or somatic BRCA1 mutations, or epigenetic loss of BRCA1. All of these tumors were high-grade serous or undifferentiated type. None of the endometrioid (n=5), clear cell (n=4), or low grade serous (n=2) carcinomas showed loss of BRCA1, whereas 47% of the 38 high-grade serous or undifferentiated carcinomas had loss of BRCA1. It was possible to distinguish high grade serous carcinomas with BRCA1 mutations from those with epigenetic BRCA1 loss: tumors with BRCA1 mutations typically had decreased PTEN mRNA levels while those with epigenetic loss of BRCA1 had copy number gain of PIK3CA. Overexpression of p53 with loss of p21 expression occurred significantly more frequently in high grade serous carcinomas with epigenetic loss of BRCA1, compared to high grade serous tumors without loss of BRCA1. High grade serous carcinomas can be subclassified into three groups: BRCA1 loss (genetic), BRCA1 loss (epigenetic), and no BRCA1 loss. Tumors in these groups show distinct molecular alterations involving the PI3K/AKT and p53 pathways.

  19. Ovarian carcinomas with genetic and epigenetic BRCA1 loss havedistinct molecular abnormalities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Press, Joshua Z.; De Luca, Alessandro; Boyd, Niki; Young, Sean; Troussard, Armelle; Ridge, Yolanda; Kaurah, Pardeep; Kalloger, Steve E.; Blood, Katherine A.; Smith, Margaret; Spellman, Paul T.; Wang, Yuker; Miller, Dianne M.; Horsman, Doug; Faham, Malek; Gilks, C. Blake; Gray,Joe; Huntsman, David G.

    2007-07-23

    Subclassification of ovarian carcinomas can be used to guide treatment and determine prognosis. Germline and somatic mutations, loss of heterozygosity (LOH), and epigenetic events such as promoter hypermethylation can lead to decreased expression of BRCA1/2 in ovarian cancers. The mechanism of BRCA1/2 loss is a potential method of subclassifying high grade serous carcinomas. A consecutive series of 49 ovarian cancers was assessed for mutations status of BRCA1 and BRCA2, LOH at the BRCA1 and BRCA2 loci, methylation of the BRCA1 promoter, BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN, and PIK3CA transcript levels, PIK3CA gene copy number, and BRCA1, p21, p53, and WT-1 immunohistochemistry. Eighteen (37%) of the ovarian carcinomas had germline or somatic BRCA1 mutations, or epigenetic loss of BRCA1. All of these tumors were high-grade serous or undifferentiated type. None of the endometrioid (n = 5), clear cell (n = 4), or low grade serous (n = 2) carcinomas showed loss of BRCA1, whereas 47% of the 38 high-grade serous or undifferentiated carcinomas had loss of BRCA1. It was possible to distinguish high grade serous carcinomas with BRCA1 mutations from those with epigenetic BRCA1 loss: tumors with BRCA1 mutations typically had decreased PTEN mRNA levels while those with epigenetic loss of BRCA1 had copy number gain of PIK3CA. Overexpression of p53 with loss of p21 expression occurred significantly more frequently in high grade serous carcinomas with epigenetic loss of BRCA1, compared to high grade serous tumors without loss of BRCA1. High grade serous carcinomas can be subclassified into three groups: BRCA1 loss (genetic), BRCA1 loss (epigenetic), and no BRCA1 loss. Tumors in these groups show distinct molecular alterations involving the PI3K/AKT and p53 pathways.

  20. An assessment of molecular pathways of obesity susceptible to nutrient, toxicant and genetically induced epigenetic perturbation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xue, Jing; Ideraabdullah, Folami Y

    2016-04-01

    In recent years, the etiology of human disease has greatly improved with the inclusion of epigenetic mechanisms, in particular as a common link between environment and disease. However, for most diseases we lack a detailed interpretation of the epigenetic regulatory pathways perturbed by environment and causal mechanisms. Here, we focus on recent findings elucidating nutrient-related epigenetic changes linked to obesity. We highlight studies demonstrating that obesity is a complex disease linked to disruption of epigenetically regulated metabolic pathways in the brain, adipose tissue and liver. These pathways regulate (1) homeostatic and hedonic eating behaviors, (2) adipocyte differentiation and fat accumulation, and (3) energy expenditure. By compiling these data, we illustrate that obesity-related phenotypes are repeatedly linked to disruption of critical epigenetic mechanisms that regulate key metabolic genes. These data are supported by genetic mutation of key epigenetic regulators, and many of the diet-induced epigenetic mechanisms of obesity are also perturbed by exposure to environmental toxicants. Identifying similarly perturbed epigenetic mechanisms in multiple experimental models of obesity strengthens the translational applications of these findings. We also discuss many of the ongoing challenges to understanding the role of environmentally induced epigenetic pathways in obesity and suggest future studies to elucidate these roles. This assessment illustrates our current understanding of molecular pathways of obesity that are susceptible to environmental perturbation via epigenetic mechanisms. Thus, it lays the groundwork for dissecting the complex interactions between diet, genes and toxicants that contribute to obesity and obesity-related phenotypes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. 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...... associated with ART techniques, but disentangling the influence of the ART procedures per se from the effect of the reproductive disease of the parents is a challenge. Epidemiological human studies have shown altered birth weight profiles in ART compared with spontaneously conceived singletons. Conception...

  2. Epigenetic regulation of persistent pain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Guang; Ren, Ke; Dubner, Ronald

    2014-01-01

    Persistent or chronic pain is tightly associated with various environmental changes and linked to abnormal gene expression within cells processing nociceptive signaling. Epigenetic regulation governs gene expression in response to environmental cues. Recent animal model and clinical studies indicate that epigenetic regulation plays an important role in the development/maintenance of persistent pain and, possibly the transition of acute pain to chronic pain, thus shedding light in a direction for development of new therapeutics for persistent pain. PMID:24948399

  3. Nickel and Epigenetic Gene Silencing

    OpenAIRE

    Hong Sun; Magdy Shamy; Max Costa

    2013-01-01

    Insoluble nickel compounds are well-established human carcinogens. Occupational exposure to these compounds leads to increased incidence of lung and nasal cancer in nickel refinery workers. Apart from its weak mutagenic activity and hypoxia mimicking effect there is mounting experimental evidence indicating that epigenetic alteration plays an important role in nickel-induced carcinogenesis. Multiple epigenetic mechanisms have been identified to mediate nickel-induced gene silencing. Nickel io...

  4. Epigenetic Mechanisms of Drug Addiction

    OpenAIRE

    Feng, Jian; Nestler, Eric J.

    2013-01-01

    Epigenetic regulation can mediate long-lasting changes in gene expression, which makes it an attractive mechanism for the stable behavioral abnormalities that characterize drug addiction. Recent research has unveiled numerous types of epigenetic modifications within the brain’s reward circuitry in animal models of drug addiction. In this review, we summarize the latest advances in the field, focusing on histone modifications, DNA methylation, and non-coding RNAs. We also highlight several are...

  5. Epigenetics and early life origins of chronic noncommunicable diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Guoying; Walker, Sheila O; Hong, Xiumei; Bartell, Tami R; Wang, Xiaobin

    2013-02-01

    In light of the increasing threats of chronic noncommunicable diseases in developing countries, the growing recognition of the early life origins of chronic disease, and innovative breakthroughs in biomedical research and technology, it is imperative that we harness cutting-edge data to improve health promotion and maintenance. It is well recognized that chronic diseases are complex traits affected by a wide range of environmental and genetic factors; however, the role of epigenetic factors, particularly with regard to early life origins, remains largely unexplored. Given the unique properties of the epigenome-functionality during critical time windows, such as the intrauterine period, heritability, and reversibility-enhancing our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms may offer new opportunities for the development of novel early prediction and prevention paradigms. This may present an unparalleled opportunity to offer maternal and child health professionals important tools with the translational value to predict, detect, and prevent disease at an early age, long before its clinical occurrence, and as such, break lifelong and transgenerational cycles of disease. In doing so, modern technology can be leveraged to make great contributions to population health, quality of life, and reducing the burdensome economic costs of noncommunicable diseases in developing countries. Copyright © 2013 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. The evolutionary potential of paramutation: a population-epigenetic model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geoghegan, Jemma L; Spencer, Hamish G

    2013-09-01

    Paramutation involves an interaction between homologous alleles resulting in a heritable change in gene expression without altering the DNA sequence. Initially believed to be restricted to plants, paramutation has recently been observed in animal models, and a paramutation-like event has been noted in humans. Despite the accumulating evidence suggesting that trans-acting epigenetic effects can be inherited transgenerationally and therefore generate non-genomic phenotypic variation, these effects have been largely ignored in the context of evolutionary theory. The model presented here incorporates paramutation into the standard model of viability selection at one locus and demonstrates that paramutation can create long-term biological diversity in the absence of genetic change, and even in the absence of the original paramutagenic allele. Therefore, if paramutation is present, attributing evolution to only a traditional genetic model may fail to encompass the broad scope of phenotypic differences observed in nature. Moreover, we show also that an unusual mathematical behaviour, analogous to "Ewens' gap" of the two-locus two-allele symmetric-selection model, occurs: when the rate of one parameter-for example, the rate of paramutation-is increased, a pair of equilibria may disappear only to reappear as this parameter increases further. In summary, by incorporating even the simplest epigenetic parameters into the standard population-genetic model of selection, we show how this type of inheritance system can profoundly alter the course of evolution. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Milk kinship hypothesis in light of epigenetic knowledge

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ozkan Hasan

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background A wet nurse can be used if a baby’s natural mother is unable or chooses not to breastfeed her infant. The practice of using wet nurses is ancient and common to many cultures. Presentation of the hypothesis We hypothesize that infants breastfeeding from the same woman may develop consanguinity even in cases in which they are not blood relatives, and that children of two individuals breastfed by the same woman may thus be at risk of several genetic diseases because of such consanguinity. Testing the hypothesis Possible evidence for the milk kinship hypothesis is to be found in the composition of breast milk, which is composed of living substances such as stem cells or substances that can affect epigenetic regulation such as microRNAs. Implications of the hypothesis If these epigenetic modifications are heritable, marriages between individuals breastfed by the same woman may result in the same consequences as consanguineous marriages. In this paper, we attempt to assess this possibility.

  8. [Epigenetic variability induced by nicotinic acid in Triticum aestivum L].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bogdanova, E D

    2003-09-01

    The effect of nicotinic acid (NA) on hereditary traits of spring common wheat cultivar Kazakhstanskaya 126 (K.126) were studied under the laboratory and field conditions. Treatment of seeds and vegetating plants with 0.01-0.1% NA (aqueous solution) induced heritable epigenetic changes in wheat. As a result, strong tall plants with the long productive spike, large seeds, and several quantitative and qualitative characters other than in the original cultivar were obtained in the second and further generations after treatment. Crosses of changed plants with each other did not result in segregation with respect to leaf downiness or anthocyan stem color in F2-F4, suggesting the same epigenetic state of genes responsible for changed characters. In crosses with the original cultivar, characters of the changed plants always dominated in F1. Basing on the current views, the changes were attributed to a transition of the hl1 and pc recessive marker genes into new, dominant epiallelic states Hl1 and Pc, which respectively determine downy leaves and the colored stem. The NA effect was specific, since only one type of the variation was observed. The changed characters were stable, and no reversion to the original phenotype was detected in 57 generations.

  9. Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Epigenetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sapienza, Carmen; Issa, Jean-Pierre

    2016-07-17

    The search for a connection between diet and human cancer has a long history in cancer research, as has interest in the mechanisms by which dietary factors might increase or decrease cancer risk. The realization that altering diet can alter the epigenetic state of genes and that these epigenetic alterations might increase or decrease cancer risk is a more modern notion, driven largely by studies in animal models. The connections between diet and epigenetic alterations, on the one hand, and between epigenetic alterations and cancer, on the other, are supported by both observational studies in humans as well as animal models. However, the conclusion that diet is linked directly to epigenetic alterations and that these epigenetic alterations directly increase or decrease the risk of human cancer is much less certain. We suggest that true and measurable effects of diet or dietary supplements on epigenotype and cancer risk are most likely to be observed in longitudinal studies and at the extremes of the intersection of dietary risk factors and human population variability. Careful analysis of such outlier populations is most likely to shed light on the molecular mechanisms by which suspected environmental risk factors drive the process of carcinogenesis.

  10. Epigenetics across the human lifespan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanherkar, Riya R.; Bhatia-Dey, Naina; Csoka, Antonei B.

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetics has the potential to explain various biological phenomena that have heretofore defied complete explication. This review describes the various types of endogenous human developmental milestones such as birth, puberty, and menopause, as well as the diverse exogenous environmental factors that influence human health, in a chronological epigenetic context. We describe the entire course of human life from periconception to death and chronologically note all of the potential internal timepoints and external factors that influence the human epigenome. Ultimately, the environment presents these various factors to the individual that influence the epigenome, and the unique epigenetic and genetic profile of each individual also modulates the specific response to these factors. During the course of human life, we are exposed to an environment that abounds with a potent and dynamic milieu capable of triggering chemical changes that activate or silence genes. There is constant interaction between the external and internal environments that is required for normal development and health maintenance as well as for influencing disease load and resistance. For example, exposure to pharmaceutical and toxic chemicals, diet, stress, exercise, and other environmental factors are capable of eliciting positive or negative epigenetic modifications with lasting effects on development, metabolism and health. These can impact the body so profoundly as to permanently alter the epigenetic profile of an individual. We also present a comprehensive new hypothesis of how these diverse environmental factors cause both direct and indirect epigenetic changes and how this knowledge can ultimately be used to improve personalized medicine. PMID:25364756

  11. 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.

  12. Epigenetics Across the Human Lifespan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Riya Rajan Kanherkar

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Epigenetics has the potential to explain various biological phenomena that have heretofore defied complete explication. This review describes the various types of endogenous human developmental milestones such as birth, puberty, and menopause, as well as the diverse exogenous environmental factors that influence human health, in a chronological epigenetic context. We describe the entire course of human life from periconception to death and chronologically note all of the potential internal timepoints and external factors that influence the human epigenome. Ultimately, the environment presents these various factors to the individual that influence the epigenome, and the unique epigenetic and genetic profile of each individual also modulates the specific response to these factors. During the course of human life, we are exposed to an environment that abounds with a potent and dynamic milieu capable of triggering chemical changes that activate or silence genes. There is constant interaction between the external and internal environments that is required for normal development and health maintenance as well as for influencing disease load and resistance. For example, exposure to pharmaceutical and toxic chemicals, diet, stress, exercise, and other environmental factors are capable of eliciting positive or negative epigenetic modifications with lasting effects on development, metabolism and health. These can impact the body so profoundly as to permanently alter the epigenetic profile of an individual. We also present a comprehensive new hypothesis of how these diverse environmental factors cause both direct and indirect epigenetic changes and how this knowledge can ultimately be used to improve personalized medicine.

  13. Epigenetics and pancreatic cancer: Pathophysiology and novel treatment aspects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neureiter, Daniel; Jäger, Tarkan; Ocker, Matthias; Kiesslich, Tobias

    2014-01-01

    An improvement in pancreatic cancer treatment represents an urgent medical goal. Late diagnosis and high intrinsic resistance to conventional chemotherapy has led to a dismal overall prognosis that has remained unchanged during the past decades. Increasing knowledge about the molecular pathogenesis of the disease has shown that genetic alterations, such as mutations of K-ras, and especially epigenetic dysregulation of tumor-associated genes, such as silencing of the tumor suppressor p16ink4a, are hallmarks of pancreatic cancer. Here, we describe genes that are commonly affected by epigenetic dysregulation in pancreatic cancer via DNA methylation, histone acetylation or miRNA (microRNA) expression, and review the implications on pancreatic cancer biology such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, morphological pattern formation, or cancer stem cell regulation during carcinogenesis from PanIN (pancreatic intraepithelial lesions) to invasive cancer and resistance development. Epigenetic drugs, such as DNA methyltransferases or histone deactylase inhibitors, have shown promising preclinical results in pancreatic cancer and are currently in early phases of clinical development. Combinations of epigenetic drugs with established cytotoxic drugs or targeted therapies are promising approaches to improve the poor response and survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients. PMID:24976721

  14. Genetic and Epigenetic Intra-tumour Heterogeneity in Colorectal Cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Huw Geraint; Jenkins, Gareth; Williams, Namor; Griffiths, Paul; Chambers, Phil; Beynon, John; Harris, Dean

    2017-05-01

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a highly heterogeneous disease, with pathologically similar cancers having completely different responses to treatment and patient survival. Intra-tumour heterogeneity (defined as distinct morphological and phenotypic differences) has recently been demonstrated to be an important factor in the development and behaviour of cancer cells and can be used to determine response to anticancer therapy. Patients with resected CRC had DNA extracted from eight defined tumour areas which were analysed for two genetic mutations (BRAF and KRAS) and one epigenetic trait (CpG island methylator phenotype/CIMP). Normal adjacent tissue was studied as control. Twelve patients with CRC were included. Intra-tumoural heterogeneity for KRAS mutation was seen in 2 patients (17%). There was no statistical evidence of CIMP status heterogeneity (p = 0.85), but 6 of the 12 patients (50%) demonstrated at least one heterogeneous area within the tumour. Intra-tumoural heterogeneity for both genetic and epigenetic factors in CRC is more prevalent than previously thought in Stage II and Stage III CRC. This study provides new insight into epigenetic heterogeneity of CRC and supports the development of a more targeted biopsy strategy to support expansion of personalised treatment.

  15. [Research progress of epigenetic transgenerational phenotype].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kexue, Ma; Keshi, Ma; Xingzi, Xi

    2014-05-01

    The epigenome undergoes a reprogramming process during gametogenesis and early embryogenesis. Therefore, it is believed that epigenetic information cannot be transmitted across generations. However, the occurrence of epigenetic transgenerational phenotype suggests that certain epigenetic marks may escape reprogramming. Although the existence of such a mode of inheritance has been controversial, there is increasing evidence that epigenetic memory does occur in mammals. Due to the reversibility of epigenetic modification, the epigenome is easily changed by a variety of environ-mental factors, such as chemicals, nutrition and behaviour. Therefore, it provides a potential mechanism for the transgenerational transmission of the impact of environmental factors. The purpose of this review is to introduce the concept of epi-genetic transgenerational phenotype, to discuss the epigenetic reprogramming and the molecular mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational transmission, and to list some environmental factors that are associated with epigenetic transgenerational diseases.

  16. Reference: 639 [Arabidopsis Phenome Database[Archive

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available e molecular mechanisms and the evolutionary implications of transposon-mediated epigenetic... changes in the BNS locus. Heritable epigenetic mutation of a transposon-flanked Arabidopsis gene d

  17. The good, the bad and the ugly: Epigenetic mechanisms in glioblastoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carén, Helena; Pollard, Steven M.; Beck, Stephan

    2013-01-01

    Cell type-specific patterns of gene expression reflect epigenetic changes imposed through a particular developmental lineage as well as those triggered by environmental cues within adult tissues. There is great interest in elucidating the molecular basis and functional importance of epigenetic mechanisms in both normal physiology and disease – particularly in cancer, where abnormal ‘-omic’ states are often observed. In this article we review recent progress in studies of epigenetic mechanisms in the most common primary adult brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. Three distinct areas are discussed. First, the evidence in support of ongoing ‘normal’ epigenetic processes associated with differentiation – as predicted by ‘cancer stem cell’ models of the disease. Second, identification of site-specific and global epigenetic abnormalities. Third, genetic disruptions directly within the core epigenetic machinery, exemplified by the recently identified mutations within isocitrate dehydrogenase genes IDH1/2 and variant histone genes H3.3/H3F3A. These constitute the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ of epigenetic mechanisms in cancer. PMID:22771539

  18. Genome-Wide Epigenetic Studies in Human Disease: A Primer on -Omic Technologies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Huihuang; Tian, Shulan; Slager, Susan L; Sun, Zhifu; Ordog, Tamas

    2016-01-15

    Epigenetic information encoded in covalent modifications of DNA and histone proteins regulates fundamental biological processes through the action of chromatin regulators, transcription factors, and noncoding RNA species. Epigenetic plasticity enables an organism to respond to developmental and environmental signals without genetic changes. However, aberrant epigenetic control plays a key role in pathogenesis of disease. Normal epigenetic states could be disrupted by detrimental mutations and expression alteration of chromatin regulators or by environmental factors. In this primer, we briefly review the epigenetic basis of human disease and discuss how recent discoveries in this field could be translated into clinical diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. We introduce platforms for mapping genome-wide chromatin accessibility, nucleosome occupancy, DNA-binding proteins, and DNA methylation, primarily focusing on the integration of DNA methylation and chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing technologies into disease association studies. We highlight practical considerations in applying high-throughput epigenetic assays and formulating analytical strategies. Finally, we summarize current challenges in sample acquisition, experimental procedures, data analysis, and interpretation and make recommendations on further refinement in these areas. Incorporating epigenomic testing into the clinical research arsenal will greatly facilitate our understanding of the epigenetic basis of disease and help identify novel therapeutic targets. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. Role of epigenetic mechanisms in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nickel, Annina; Stadler, Sonja C

    2015-01-01

    The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial process during normal development that allows dynamic and reversible shifts between epithelial and mesenchymal cell states. Cancer cells take advantage of the complex, interrelated cellular networks that regulate EMT to promote their migratory and invasive capabilities. During the past few years, evidence has accumulated that indicates that genetic mutations and changes to epigenetic mechanisms are key drivers of EMT in cancer cells. Recent studies have begun to shed light on the epigenetic reprogramming in cancer cells that enables them to switch from a noninvasive form to an invasive, metastatic form. The authors review the current knowledge of alterations of epigenetic machinery, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, nucleosome remodeling and expression of microRNAs, associated with EMT and tumor progression of breast cancer cells. Last, existing and upcoming drug therapies targeting epigenetic regulators and their potential benefit for developing novel treatment strategies are discussed. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Epigenetic changes and repositioning determine the evolutionary fate of duplicated genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodin, S N; Parkhomchuk, D V; Riggs, A D

    2005-05-01

    Consideration of epigenetic silencing, perhaps by DNA methylation, led to an epigenetic complementation (EC) model for evolution by gene duplication (Rodin and Riggs (2003) J. Mol. Evol., 56, 718-729). This and subsequent work on genome-wide analyses of gene duplicates in several eukaryotic species pointed to a fundamental link between localization in the genome, epigenetic regulation of expression, and the evolutionary fate of new redundant gene copies, which can be either non- or neo-functionalization. Our main message in this report is that repositioning of a new duplicate to an ectopic site epigenetically alters its expression pattern, and concomitantly the rate and direction of mutations. Furthermore, comparison of syntenic vs. non-syntenic pairs of gene duplicates of different age unambiguously indicates that repositioning saves redundant gene duplicates from pseudogenization and hastens their evolution towards a new development-time and tissue-specific pattern of function.