Ethanol derived acetate modifies brain epigenetic landscape

Derek Sung: @immunofluorescence

Faculty Spotlight: Cesar de la Fuente

Regenerating the lung: harnessing the untapped potential of AT2 cells

Where are they now – Theonie Anastassiadis

Faculty Spotlight: Will Bailis

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February 8, 2020

The physiological effects of alcohol on the brain and motor function have been studied extensively for decades. In low doses, alcohol causes euphoria and reduces anxiety, while in higher doses it impairs cognition and balance, and increases response time. Long-term consumption of alcohol is associated with changes in memory and alcohol-related learning, which play important roles in the development of alcohol use disorder. Dr. Philipp Mews, a CAMB graduate from the Genetics and Gene Regulation (now Genetics and Epigenetics) sub-program, explored the link between alcohol metabolism, gene expression, and alcohol-related learning behaviors, and recently publ...

August 25, 2018

Stemming from a relatively recent explosion of research, the epigenetic regulation of gene expression is now appreciated as an important biological phenomenon. The prefix “epi-” means above or around in Greek, as epigenetics is defined by the study of DNA modifications that do not change the underlying sequence of the DNA. Importantly, these additions change cellular gene expression to diversify the functionality of cells with the same underlying genetic code.

Chemical modifications to DNA such as methyl groups (mCpG) are dynamically regulated to govern cell fate during development. The family of DNA methyltransferase enzymes, or DNMTs, covalently add mCp...

May 28, 2018

Many of us remember being taught a simplified doctrine on histone modifications: certain marks tend to appear on transcriptionally inactive, condensed heterochromatin, while others characterize active, open euchromatin. In particular, H3K27me3 tends to mark facultative heterochromatin that may be expressed during development, whereas H3K9me3 is associated with constitutive heterochromatin. However, histone modifications do not reliably distinguish between heterochromatin and euchromatin, as numerous studies have shown, and as Justin Becker and colleagues in the Zaret lab demonstrate in their recent publication in Molecular Cell1. They debut a new techniqu...

March 1, 2018

The human body has over 200 different cell types, and gene regulation is key to establishing and maintaining cell identity. During mitosis, chromatin condenses and long-range interactions between distal enhancers are lost [1]. As a result, scientists have long believed that transcription during mitosis is silenced, raising the question of how cells reactivate transcription to maintain cell identity. How cell identity is controlled is a fundamental biological question, and understanding this process could also provide insights for cell reprogramming and regenerative medicine.

Addressing how cells maintain identity during mitosis is not a trivial issue, give...

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