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Int J Stem Cells. 2016 May 30;9(1):36-43. doi: 10.15283/ijsc.2016.9.1.36.

Epigenetic Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells.

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Division of Stem Cell Gene Therapy Research, Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS), Delhi, India.


Hematopoietic stem cells are endowed with a distinct potential to bolster self-renewal and to generate progeny that differentiate into mature cells of myeloid and lymphoid lineages. Both hematopoietic stem cells and mature cells have the same genome, but their gene expression is controlled by an additional layer of epigenetics such as DNA methylation and post-translational histone modifications, enabling each cell-type to acquire various forms and functions. Until recently, several studies have largely focussed on the transcription factors andniche factors for the understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which hematopoietic cells replicate and differentiate. Several lines of emerging evidence suggest that epigenetic modifications eventually result in a defined chromatin structure and an "individual" gene expression pattern, which play an essential role in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Distinct epigenetic marks decide which sets of genes may be expressed and which genes are kept silent. Epigenetic mechanisms are interdependent and ensure lifelong production of blood and bone marrow, thereby contributing to stem cell homeostasis. The epigenetic analysis of hematopoiesis raises the exciting possibility that chromatin structure is dynamic enough for regulated expression of genes. Though controlled chromatin accessibility plays an essential role in maintaining blood homeostasis; mutations in chromatin impacts on the regulation of genes critical to the development of leukemia. In this review, we explored the contribution of epigenetic machinery which has implications for the ramification of molecular details of hematopoietic self-renewal for normal development and underlying events that potentially co-operate to induce leukemia.


Epigenetics; Hematopoietic stem cells; Regulation; Self-renewal

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