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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Jun 27;363(1500):2099-109. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.2262.

Epigenetic mechanisms regulating fate specification of neural stem cells.

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  • 1Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma 630-0101, Japan.


Neural stem cells (NSCs) possess the ability to self-renew and to differentiate along neuronal and glial lineages. These processes are defined by the dynamic interplay between extracellular cues including cytokine signalling and intracellular programmes such as epigenetic modification. There is increasing evidence that epigenetic mechanisms involving, for example, changes in DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA expression are closely associated with fate specification of NSCs. These epigenetic alterations could provide coordinated systems for regulating gene expression at each step of neural cell differentiation. Here we review the roles of epigenetics in neural fate specification in the mammalian central nervous system.

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