If you’ve spent any time browsing the EpiGenie site, then you already know that we find epigenetics pretty interesting. So, of course any book with the title of Epigenetics is going to grab our attention. Epigenetics edited by Jörg Tost, gathers information from several top scientists working in various facets of epigenetics to assemble a major compilation of current epigenetics research.
The chapters found in this text covers: biological mechanisms and epigenetic machinery like DNA methylation, histone tails, chromatin structure, nucleosome occupancy, Polycomb group proteins, siRNAs and miRNAs; the epigenetic systems of plants, embryonic stem cells, cell differentiation, imprinting marks, and random X chromosome inactivation; epigenetics in cancers, premature aging, longevity and the developmental origins of disease and the transfer of epigenetic information across generations. Here are some bite-sized looks at chapters that we found to be especially intriguing.
Histone Variants and Nucleosome Occupancy
Sevinc Ercan and Michael J. Carrozza
Chromatin structure and modification is being shown to have a significant role in many processes involving DNA. This chapter describes how histone variants alter DNA metabolic processes including transcription, DNA replication and DNA repair. Histone variants H3.1, H3.2, H3.3, CenH3s, H2A.Z, gammaH2A.X, MacroH2A, H2A.Bbd, H1 variants and testis specific variants are covered in this section as well as the functions associated with these variants, plus nucleosome occupancy levels found throughout the eukaryotic genome.
The Role of MicroRNAs in Human Cancer
Yoshimasa Saito, Jeffrey M. Friedman, and Peter A. Jones
Recent discoveries have shown that aberrant expression of miRNAs may contribute to the development and progression of human cancer, and are regulated by different mechanisms like transcription factor binding, epigenetic alterations, or chromosomal abnormalities. Specifically, epigenetic alterations driven by chromatin modifying drugs or by genetic disruption of certain DNA methyltransferases cause distinct changes in miRNA expression profiles in cancer cells. Therefore, miRNA expression profiling may provide a useful tool for cancer diagnosis and modulating miRNA expression could become a potent therapeutic strategy for human diseases including cancer. This chapter reviews the current literature on miRNAs, and their role in human carcinogenesis, in particular.
Longevity, Epigenetics and Cancer
Ruben Agrelo, Mario F. Fraga, and Manel Esteller
Aging is known to be the main risk factor associated with cancer development. In cell epigenetics, DNA methylation and histone modification becomes altered during aging and in cancer. It has been shown that global hypomethylation and CpG island hypermethylation occur progressively as we age and can lead to cancerous cell transformation. This chapter explores the physiological effects of epigenetic modifications during cellular aging and transformation.
The EpiGenie Verdict
Epigenetics is a text that can be used as a major resource for those working in epigenetics, or for those just interested in it. Since it’s packed with reviews and breaking academic research, as well as insights into the future of epigenetic discovery, it should appeal to readers of all levels who want to explore the field of epigenetics.
You can order a copy of Epigenetics of your very own at the Horizon Press website.