Brush up on the basics for some of the latest methods and technologies that are delivery breakthroughs in labs around the world.
Like a fine wine, chromatin analyses are only getting better with age. Through continued innovation these techniques remain at the forefront of the quest to understand development and disease.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) aren’t taking a backseat to DNA binding proteins anymore. RNA analysis has taken the best of chromatin analysis, adapted it, and made it its own. RBPs mediate critical RNA-based processes such as alternative splicing, polyadenylation, sub-cellular localization, translation, and miRNA regulation.
Unless you’ve been stranded on a CpG island for the last 20 years, then you’ve probably heard of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and its importance in epigenetics. Maybe you haven’t kept up with all the innovations to detect it though, since a new one seems to pop up every other month. 5mC is vital for controlling gene expression in mammals and it has been linked to countless developmental processes and diseases.
Move over 5mC, there’s a new kid on the block. 5hmC is the first oxidative product in the active demethylation of 5mC, and it’s the latest, hottest topic in epigenetics. There’s a lot more to 5hmC than just some intermediate of demethylation.
Epigenetic marks are like batman villains, they never seem to work alone. So why study them each alone? Recently, the trend in epigenetics has been studying multiple epigenetic marks simultaneously.
Researchers are beginning see the genome not as static and unchanging but as re-writable. Editing the genome of a living cell is not quite as simple as ctrl+C ctrl+V though. Researchers have had to find and alter some unique proteins to escape the issues of toxicity and mutation that editing can cause.
In order to get a real understanding of how the epigenome regulates gene expression you need to be able to manipulate transcription without changing the underlying genetic code. Modifications to genome editing tools have allowed researchers to do just that by altering the location and activity of key epigenomic players.
Studying cellular events is no mean feat, but what if you could control what was going on in cells to really understand the inner workings? Enter optogenetics. Using only opsin proteins and a little bit of light you can take control of processes from neuron activation to subcellular localization of your favourite protein. Who doesn’t want that kind of control?