DNA METHYLATION

Tissue-specific DNA demethylation after birth

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1083-1084
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1083-d

Because of changes in their environment, including the need to repair tissue, cells cannot remain static. They must do their job even if conditions around them vary. One way to accommodate change in gene expression is through DNA methylation. The vast majority of this modification takes place during mammalian embryogenesis. Initially, methyl groups are removed around implantation, and then de novo methylation occurs in specific tissues and at set times during cell differentiation. Using high-throughput and genetic analysis, Reizel et al. show that considerable postnatal demethylation also occurs. For example, hormone signaling triggers DNA demethylation at enhancer-like regions in the liver after birth in mice. These epigenetic changes give access to specific chromatin sites for proper hepatocyte gene expression and function.

Nat. Comm. 10.1038/s41467-018-04456-6 (2018).

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