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New nucleotide could revolutionize epigenetics
Date:4/16/2009

ting a dynamic system for regulating gene expression through 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. Kriaucionis and Heintz did not know of the other group's work, led by Anjana Rao, until earlier this month. "You look at our result, and the beautiful studies of the enzymology by Dr. Rao's group, and realize that you are at the tip of an iceberg of interesting biology and experimentation," says Heintz, a neuroscientist whose research has not focused on epigenetics in the past. "This finding of an enzyme that can convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine establishes this new epigenetic mark as a central player in the field."

Kriaucionis is now mapping the sites where 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is present in the genome, and the researchers plan to genetically modify mice to under- or overexpress the newfound nucleotide in specific cell types in order to study its effects. "This is a major discovery in the field, and it is certain to be tied to neural function in a way that we can decipher," Heintz says.


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Contact: Brett Norman
bnorman@rockefeller.edu
212-327-7613
Rockefeller University
Source:Eurekalert

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