Epigenetic Mechanisms of Gene Regulation

Relationships between DNA Methylation, Histone Modification, and Chromatin Structure
  • Keith D. Robertson
Part of the Medical Intelligence Unit book series (MIUN)


DNA methylation is a post-replicative, or epigenetic, modification of the genome that is critical for proper mammalian embryonic development, gene silencing, X chromosome inactivation, and imprinting. Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns are nonrandomly distributed and undergo significant remodeling events during embryogenesis. DNA methylation patterns are also frequently ‘remodeled’ in tumor cells in a way that directly contributes to tumor suppressor gene inactivation and genomic instability. The mechanisms for the establishment and maintenance of genomic DNA methylation patterns during development and in somatic cells remains a very important and unanswered question in the DNA methylation field. Emerging evidence suggests that protein-protein interactions between components of the DNA methylation machinery (the DNA methyltransferases) and aspects of chromatin structure such as histone tail modifications and chromatin remodeling, directly determine which regions of the genome are to be methylated. By studying these mechanisms in detail we should be able gain insights into how DNA methylation patterns become disrupted in tumor cells and how these defects may be corrected.


Proliferate Cell Nuclear Antigen Chromatin Remodel Histone Methylation Histone Deacetylation Replication Focus 
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Copyright information

© and Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith D. Robertson
    • 1
  1. 1.Epigenetic Gene Regulation and Cancer Section National Cancer InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesda

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