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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Sep;1790(9):863-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Histone modification patterns and epigenetic codes.

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Department of Biosciences and Medical Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, NOVUM, Huddinge, Sweden.


The eukaryotic DNA is wrapped around histone octamers, which consist of four different histones, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. The N-terminal tail of each histone is post-transcriptionally modified. The modification patterns constitute codes that regulate chromatin organisation and DNA utilization processes, including transcription. Recent progress in technology development has made it possible to perform systematic genome-wide studies of histone modifications. This helps immensely in deciphering the histone codes and their biological influence. In this review, we discuss the histone modification patterns found in genome-wide studies in different biological models and how they influence cell differentiation and carcinogenesis.

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