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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Latest Histone Stories

2010-10-04 16:58:18

Post-translational modifications of histones play an important role in regulating chromatin dynamics and function. One such modification, methylation, is involved in the regulation of the epigenetic program of a cell, determining chromatin structure, and regulating transcription. Methylation of histones occurs on both lysine and arginine residues, and until recently, was thought to be an irreversible process. The recent discovery of histone demethylases revealed that histone methylation is...

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2010-10-04 08:32:12

Like cats, human cells have a finite number of lives-once they divide a certain number of times (thankfully, more than nine) they change shape, slow their pace, and eventually stop dividing, a phenomenon called "cellular senescence". Biologists know that a cellular clock composed of structures at the chromosome end known as telomeres records how many "lives" a cell has expended. Up to now, investigators have not yet defined how the clock's ticking signals the approach of cellular oblivion. In...

2010-09-30 19:53:56

By creating a "map" of histone modifications in fat cells, investigators have discovered two new factors that regulate fat formation, a key step on the road to better understanding obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Broad Institute, the study appears in the October 1 issue of the journal Cell. "These findings help to demonstrate the power of epigenomic mapping when it comes to gleaning key insights into...

2010-09-25 02:03:21

Stress has become one of the major disease states in the developed world. But what is stress? It depends on from where you look. You may experience stress as something that affects your entire body and mind, the causes of which are plentiful. But if we zoom in on the building bricks of the body, our cells, stress and its causes are defined somewhat differently. Stress can arise at the cellular level after exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, bacterial toxins etc, where stressed cells have to...

2010-09-17 14:00:05

On average, one hundred billion cells in the human body divide over the course of a day. Most of the time the body gets it right but sometimes, problems in cell replication can lead to abnormalities in chromosomes resulting in many types of disorders, from cancer to Down Syndrome. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have defined the structure of a key molecule that plays a central role in how DNA is duplicated and then moved correctly and equally into two...

2010-08-20 14:01:56

Physical model describes the distribution of nucleosomes The DNA genomes of organisms whose cells possess nuclei are packaged in a highly characteristic fashion. Most of the DNA is tightly wrapped around protein particles called nucleosomes, which are connected to each other by flexible DNA segments, like pearls on a necklace. This arrangement plays a major role in deciding which genes are actively expressed, and thus which proteins can be synthesized in a given cell. The LMU Munich...

2010-08-04 01:05:41

Malfunction of a protein has been linked to a form of mental retardation that affects up to one out of every 500 males, says Nasser K. Yaghi, a Texas A&M University magna cum laude biology graduate who was selected to participate in a medical research project at Harvard that has been published in the journal Nature. The results of the study suggest that if the condition is detected early in fetal development a treatment could possibly be developed to correct the problem. "X-linked...

2010-07-12 13:50:34

Findings may lead to new drug targets A subtle mutation affecting the epigenome "“ a set of dynamic factors that influence gene activity -- may lead to an inherited form of mental retardation that affects boys, find researchers at Children's Hospital Boston. The disorder, which also involves cleft lip or cleft palate, appears to hinge on an enzyme working in a biological pathway that may offer several potential drug targets. The study, published online July 11 in the journal Nature,...

2010-06-16 23:14:40

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a new group of proteins involved in determining the life span of laboratory roundworms. Blocking the expression of one member of the group can extend the worm's life span by up to 30 percent. Because the proteins work in the worms' reproductive systems, the research represents yet another intriguing link between longevity and fertility. In particular, the researchers showed that the proteins are involved in epigenetics...

2010-05-06 15:41:16

Findings help illuminate biochemical mechanisms that determine stem cell function and fate Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) possess remarkable properties of self-renewal and pluripotency, the ability to become almost any kind of cell within the body. And yet they share the same genome or set of genes with lineage-committed cells, cells fated to be or do one thing. Scientists have long suspected that the distinct properties of different cells were attributable to their particular epigenomes...