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Epigenomics. 2013 Dec;5(6):701-13. doi: 10.2217/epi.13.67.

Dynamic changes of the epigenetic landscape during cellular differentiation.

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Ludwig Maximilians University & Munich Center for Integrated Protein Science (CiPSM), Adolf-Butenandt-Institute, Schillerstrasse 44, 80336 Munich, Germany.


Epigenetic mechanisms are crucial to stabilize cell type-specific gene-expression programs. However, during differentiation, these programs need to be modified - a complex process that requires dynamic but tightly controlled rearrangements in the epigenetic landscape. During recent years, the major epigenetic machineries for gene activation and repression have been extensively characterized. Snapshots of the epigenetic landscape in pluripotent versus differentiated cells have further revealed how chromatin can change during cellular differentiation. Although transcription factors are the key drivers of developmental transitions, it became clear that their function is greatly influenced by the chromatin environment. Better insight into the tight interplay between transcription factor networks and the epigenetic landscape is therefore necessary to improve our understanding of cellular differentiation mechanisms. These systems can then be challenged and modified for the development of regenerative therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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