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Yale J Biol Med. 2016 Dec 23;89(4):539-563. eCollection 2016 Dec.

Deciphering the Epigenetic Code in Embryonic and Dental Pulp Stem Cells.

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Institute for System Genomics and Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA.


A close cooperation between chromatin states, transcriptional modulation, and epigenetic modifications is required for establishing appropriate regulatory circuits underlying self-renewal and differentiation of adult and embryonic stem cells. A growing body of research has established that the epigenome topology provides a structural framework for engaging genes in the non-random chromosomal interactions to orchestrate complex processes such as cell-matrix interactions, cell adhesion and cell migration during lineage commitment. Over the past few years, the functional dissection of the epigenetic landscape has become increasingly important for understanding gene expression dynamics in stem cells naturally found in most tissues. Adult stem cells of the human dental pulp hold great promise for tissue engineering, particularly in the skeletal and tooth regenerative medicine. It is therefore likely that progress towards pulp regeneration will have a substantial impact on the clinical research. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding epigenetic cues that have evolved to regulate the pluripotent differentiation potential of embryonic stem cells and the lineage determination of developing dental pulp progenitors.


DNA methylation; chromatin topology; dental pulp stem cells; embryonic stem cells; enhancers; histone modifications; non-coding RNA

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