Sequential histone-modifying activities determine the robustness of transdifferentiation

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Science  15 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6198, pp. 826-829
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255885

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Epigenetics direct transdifferentiation

To make an entire animal, many and varied cell types form and interact. Some of these differentiated cells take a U-turn and can de-differentiate or transdifferentiate to another cell fate. Although relatively rare in nature, Zuryn et al. followed such a program in the tiny roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, where a rectal cell–to–motor neuron conversion is seen. Transcription factors with conserved roles in cell plasticity and terminal fate selection partner up with specific histone-modifying enzymes in discrete steps to specify separate sequential phases of cell identity.

Science, this issue p. 826