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Circ Res. 2011 Oct 14;109(9):1067-81. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.243709.

Epigenetic modifications of stem cells: a paradigm for the control of cardiac progenitor cells.

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Department of Cardiac Development and Remodeling, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim Germany.


Stem cells of all types are characterized by the ability to self-renew and to differentiate. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that both maintenance of stemness and lineage commitment, including determination of the cardiomyogenic lineage, are tightly controlled by epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling. Epigenetic mechanisms are intrinsically reversible, interdependent, and highly dynamic in regulation of chromatin structure and specific gene transcription programs, thereby contributing to stem cell homeostasis. Here, we review the current understanding of epigenetic mechanisms involved in regulation of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation and in the control of cardiac progenitor cell commitment during heart development. Further progress in this area will help to decipher the epigenetic landscape in stem and progenitor cells and facilitate manipulation of stem cells for regenerative applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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