Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 6, pp 1017–1032 | Cite as

Epigenetic choreography of stem cells: the DNA demethylation episode of development

  • Swayamsiddha Kar
  • Sabnam Parbin
  • Moonmoon Deb
  • Arunima Shilpi
  • Dipta Sengupta
  • Sandip Kumar Rath
  • Madhumita Rakshit
  • Aditi Patra
  • Samir Kumar PatraEmail author


Reversible DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic manipulator of the genomic information in eukaryotes. DNA demethylation plays a very significant role during embryonic development and stands out for its contribution in molecular reconfiguration during cellular differentiation for determining stem cell fate. DNA demethylation arbitrated extensive make-over of the genome via reprogramming in the early embryo results in stem cell plasticity followed by commitment to the principal cell lineages. This article attempts to highlight the sequential phases and hierarchical mode of DNA demethylation events during enactment of the molecular strategy for developmental transition. A comprehensive knowledge regarding the pattern of DNA demethylation during embryogenesis and organogenesis and study of the related lacunae will offer exciting avenues for future biomedical research and stem cell-based regenerative therapy.


DNA demethylation Stem cell Epigenetics Development 



5 Methylcytosine


c-abl oncogene 1


Activation-induced deaminase


Acute myelogenous leukemia


Apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide


ADP-ribosylation factor-like 4C


Achaete-scute complex homologue 1




Brain-derived neurotrophic factor


Base excision repair glycosylases


Bone gamma-carboxyglutamate (Gla) protein


Bone morphogenetic protein 2


Bone morphogenetic protein 4


Calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha


Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2B


CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha




Checkpoint kinase 2




Common lymphoid progenitors


Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia


Common myeloid progenitors


Central nervous system


Ciliary neurotrophic factor


α1(X) collagen


α1 (II) collagen




Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein


Catenin (cadherin-associated protein), Alpha 1


Chemokine (C-X-C Motif) receptor 2


Dachshund homolog 1


Deleted in azoospermia-like


Dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3 grabbing non-integrin


Duchenne muscular dystrophy


DNA methyltransferase 1




Embryonic germ cells


E-74-like factor 5


Elongator complex protein 3


Embryonic stem cells


Fatty acid-binding protein 4


Fibroblast growth factors


Fibroblast growth factor receptor-3


Growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible protein 45α


Glucosaminyl (N-acetyl) transferase 2; I-branching enzyme (I Blood Group)


Glial fibrillary acidic protein


Glucose transporter type 4


Granulocyte/macrophage progenitors


Platelet glycoprotein 6/VI


Hematopoietic stem cells


Inner cell mass




Interleukin 13


Interleukin 17A




Interleukin 2


Interleukin 4




Induced pluripotent stem cells


Induced regulatory T


Janus Kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription


Jun dimerization protein 2


Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia


Lymphocyte-activation gene 3




Leukemia inhibitory factor


Lipoprotein lipase


Mammalian atonal homologue 3


Methyl-binding domain protein 2b


Methyl-binding domain protein 4


Myelodysplastic syndromes


Megakaryocyte/erythroid progenitors


O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase


Major histocompatibility complex, class II




Myogenic regulatory factors


Mesenchymal stem cells


Myogenic factor 5


Myogenic differentiation




Neurogenin 2


Natural killer


NK cell receptor A, also known as KLRC1 (C-type lectin-like inhibitory receptor)


Nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 2




Neural stem cells




Octamer-binding transcription factor 4


Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells






Paired box 3


Paired box protein 5


Programmed cell death 1


Platelet-derived growth factors


Primordial germ cells

PI-PLC beta1

Phosphoinositide-phospholipase C beta1

PPARγ and PPARγ2

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma


Perforin 1


Purine box factor 1


Retinoic acid receptor beta


Retinoic-acid-receptor-related orphan receptor-γt, or RORC


Runt-related transcription factor 1


Runt-related transcription factor 2


SRY box-containing factor 2


SRY (sex determining region Y) box 9


Synaptonemal complex protein 3


Transcription factor T-Box 21, or T-bet


Thymine DNA glycosylase




Ten-eleven translocation proteins


T helper


T-cell immunoglobulin mucin 3


T cell and natural killer cell




Wilms tumor 1



S. Kar, A. Shilpi, D. Sengupta, M. Deb, and S. K. Rath are thankful to NIT-Rourkela for granting them fellowships under the Institute Research Scheme. S. Parbin is thankful to DST, government of India for an INSPIRE fellowship. M. Rakshit is thankful to NIT-Rourkela for granting her a postdoctoral research associate position with institute fellowship. We thankfully acknowledge the suggestions and critics of the anonymous reviewer on the original manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swayamsiddha Kar
    • 1
  • Sabnam Parbin
    • 1
  • Moonmoon Deb
    • 1
  • Arunima Shilpi
    • 1
  • Dipta Sengupta
    • 1
  • Sandip Kumar Rath
    • 1
  • Madhumita Rakshit
    • 1
  • Aditi Patra
    • 2
  • Samir Kumar Patra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Epigenetics and Cancer Research Laboratory, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Group, Department of Life ScienceNational Institute of TechnologyRourkelaIndia
  2. 2.Additional Block Animal Health CentreVeterinary OfficeJalpaiguriIndia

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