This chapter discusses the progress in the study of epigenetic modifications that regulate stem cell differentiation. Stem cell epigenetic modification reflects the prospect that the new knowledge may enable us to reprogram or modulate the fate of stem cells, using treatments with defined components and at specific time points to alter the epigenetic status of the treated cell and thereby produce a desired cell phenotype. Stem cells respond to a combination of intrinsic programs and extracellular cues from the environment that determines which types of progeny they will produce. The intrinsic program is epigenetic modification, which encompasses DNA methylation, chromatin modification, and non-coding RNA-mediated processes. Epigenetic modifications are temporally regulated and reversible, thereby ensuring that stem cells can generate different types of cell from a fixed DNA sequence. DNA methylation regulates the timing of differentiation and maintenance of cell type identity. The DNA methylation pattern in the genome is established by a family of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT). Maintenance of methylation patterns is achieved by a function of DNMT1 during DNA replication, while new or de novo methylation is primarily catalyzed by DNMT3a and DNMT3b.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Epigenetics|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)