Navigation Links
HSCI researchers extend human epigenomic map
Date:8/8/2013

Ten years ago, scientists announced the end of the Human Genome Project, the international attempt to learn which combination of four nucleotidesadenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanineis unique to homo sapien DNA. This biological alphabet helped researchers identify the approximately 25,000 genes coded in the human genome, but as time went on, questions arose about how all of these genes are controlled.

Now, Harvard Stem Cell Institute Principal Faculty member Alexander Meissner, PhD, reports another milestone, this time contributing to the multilayered NIH-funded human Roadmap Epigenomics Project. Epigenetics is the study of how the over 200 human cell types (e.g., muscle cells, nerve cells, liver cells, etc.) can have an identical compliment of genes but express them differently. Part of the answer lies in the way that DNA is packaged, with tight areas silencing genes and open areas allowing for genes to be translated into proteins. Stem cells differentiate into various cell types by marking specific genes that will be open and closed after division.

New research by Meissner, published online as a letter in the journal Nature, describes the dynamics of DNA methylation across a wide range of human cell types. Chemically, these marks are the addition of a methyl groupone carbon atom surrounded by three hydrogen atoms (CH3)anywhere a cytosine nucleotide sits next to a guanine nucleotide in the DNA sequence.

Meissner's team, led by graduate student Michael Ziller, at Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology mapped nearly all of the 28-million cytosine-guanine pairings among the 3-billion nucleotides that make up human DNA, and then wanted to know which of these 28 million are dynamic or static across all the cell types.

"When we asked, how many of them are changing, the answer was a very small fraction," said Meissner. The researchers found that eighty percent of the 28-million cytosine-guanine pairs are largely unchanged and might not participate in the regulation of the cell types, while the dynamic ones sit at sites that are relevant for gene expressionin particular distal regulatory sites such as enhancers. "Importantly this allows us to improve our current approaches of mapping this important mark through more targeted strategies that still capture most of the dynamics," Meissner said.

The methylation map generated by the Meissner lab is part of a larger National Institutes of Health (NIH) consortium to look at all of the different epigenetic modification that are found across a large number of human cell and tissue types. Earlier this year, the Meissner's lab recorded all of the gene expression and multi-layered epigenetic dynamics that take place in early stem cell differentiation when they prepare to divide into their next fated cell type.

In addition to his roles at Harvard, Meissner is affiliated with the Broad Institute and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Only a graduate student in 2007, he has quickly established himself as a leader in the epigenetics field. "It just happens to be that we're at the right time and at the right place, both physically and sort of in time, " he said. "Just five years ago, we would have had the same question, but we wouldn't have had the same tools to answer the question."


'/>"/>

Contact: B. D. Colen
bd_colen@harvard.edu
617-495-7821
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers re-evaluate swine nutrition
2. Researchers get close-up view of water pores needed in the eyes lens
3. Practice makes the brains motor cortex more efficient, Pitt researchers say
4. MIT researchers reveal how the brain keeps eyes on the prize
5. Mount Sinai researchers develop first successful laboratory model for studying hepatitis C
6. Montana State University researchers highlight bears use of Banff highway crossings
7. HudsonAlpha and UAB researchers work to identify optimal treatments for ER+ breast cancer
8. UPCI researchers target cell sleep to lower chances of cancer recurrence
9. U-M researchers land $2M grant to cooperate with nature on growing algae for energy
10. UT Southwestern researchers identify novel mechanism that helps stomach bug cause illness
11. Researchers uncover cellular mechanisms for attention in the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016   Veridium ... announced the appointment of new CEO James ... executive with decades of experience, has served in ... Cisco, where he specialized in expanding a pipeline ... technology portfolios. He most recently served as managing ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 1, 2016 ... type (Fingerprint, Voice), Future Technology (Iris Recognition System), ... Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by ... 442.7 Million in 2016, and is projected to ... a CAGR of 14.06%.      (Logo: ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... 29, 2016   Neurotechnology , a ... recognition technologies, today released FingerCell 3.0, a ... solutions that run on low-power, low-memory microcontrollers. ... less than 128KB of memory, enabling it ... have limited on-board resources, such as: mobile ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... 9, 2016 The research report ... players in the  Global Label-Free Array Systems Market  accounted ... in 2015. Players such as Biacore, Agilent Technologies, ForteBio, ... in the global market due to their unmatched product ... Product upgrades and timely product launches are expected to ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... Dec. 9, 2016 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... China,s leading provider of cord blood collection, laboratory ... today announced the results of its 2016 Annual General Meeting, ... S.A.R., China . At ... the re-appointment of KPMG Huazhen LLP as the independent auditors ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... According to a new market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market ... (Research, PCR, Gene, DNA, NGS, Diagnostic, RNAI), End user (Academic, Pharmaceutical, ... is expected to reach USD 2.20 Billion by 2021 from USD ... forecast period. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Biostimulants ... Amino, & Fulvic), Extract Based, and Others. The report also ... & Turf, Row Crops, and Others. The report provides separate ... Japan , Europe , ... , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: