Check out our overview of the key epigenetic modifications that play a big role in gene regulation, development, and disease, as well as the proteins that are responsible for reading, writing, and erasing the epigenome.
Histones are proteins that condense and structure the DNA of eukaryotic cell nuclei into units called nucleosomes. Their main functions are to compact DNA and regulate chromatin, therefore impacting gene regulation.
Chromatin modifiers are a large and varied group of proteins that conduct a wide range of epigenetic functions. The ability to bind DNA, adjust chromatin conformation and modify histones allows them to influence gene expression making them powerful targets for epigenomic research and potential therapeutic targets.
DNA methylation is the process through which a methyl group is added to DNA nucleotides. The most common form of this occurs at the 5-carbon position of cytosine (5 methylcytosine or 5mC). DNA methylation can stably alter the gene expression of a cell, which may direct processes like stem cell differentiation and genomic imprinting.