, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 403-404
Date: 27 Sep 2012

Guest editorial: Epigenetics of hematopoiesis and hematological malignancies

This is an excerpt from the content

Epigenetics refers specifically to the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms confer heritable, but potentially reversible, status of gene activity, mainly through chromatin structure and covalent modifications of DNA and histones. Cellular homeostasis is maintained through epigenetic regulation of gene expression and disruption of such regulation underlies a wide variety of pathological states. Epigenetics is one of the most promising and rapidly growing fields in the post-genome era. Most of the enzymes involved in the covalent modifications of DNA and histones have been identified in the past decade.

Role of epigenetic gene regulation has been extensively analyzed in hematopoiesis, particularly hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) [1]. An array of genes encoding enzymes for DNA and histone modifications have been characterized, mainly through the study of knockout mice. In contrast, recent genome-wide comprehensi