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DNA Methylation and Histone Deacetylation in the Control of Gene Expression: Basic Biochemistry to Human Development and Disease

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DNA methylation is a major determinant in the epigenetic silencing of genes. The mechanisms underlying the targeting of DNA methylation and the subsequent repression of transcription are relevant to human development and disease, as well as for attempts at somatic gene therapy. The success of transgenic technologies in plants and animals is also compromised by DNA methylation-dependent silencing pathways. Recent biochemical experiments provide a mechanistic foundation for understanding the influence of DNA methylation on transcription. The DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1, and several methyl-CpG binding proteins, MeCP2, MBD2, and MBD3, all associate with histone deacetylase. These observations firmly connect DNA methylation with chromatin modifications. They also provide new pathways for the potential targeting of DNA methylation to repressive chromatin as well as the assembly of repressive chromatin on methylated DNA. Here we discuss the implications of the methylation–acetylation connection for human cancers and the developmental syndromes Fragile X and Rett, which involve a mistargeting of DNA methylation-dependent repression.
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Keywords: Rett syndrome Fragile X syndrome Methyl-CpG binding proteins DNA methyltransferase Histone deacetylase Chromatin remodeling p161NK4 5-aza 2′deoxycytidine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-5431

Publication date: January 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research will publish articles in all aspects of hepatology. Hepatology, as a research discipline, has seen unprecedented growth especially in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hepatic health and disease, which continues to have a major impact on understanding liver development, stem cells, carcinogenesis, tissue engineering, injury, repair, regeneration, immunology, metabolism, fibrosis, and transplantation. Continued research and improved understanding in these areas will have a meaningful impact on liver disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The existing journal Gene Expression has expanded its focus to become Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research to meet this growing demand. In its revised and expanded scope, the journal will publish high-impact original articles, reviews, short but complete articles, and special articles (editorials, commentaries, opinions) on all aspects of hepatology, making it a unique and invaluable resource for readers interested in this field. The expanded team, led by an Editor-in-Chief who is uniquely qualified and a renowned expert, along with a dynamic and functional editorial board, is determined to make this a premier journal in the field of hepatology.

    From Volume 16, Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.

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