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EpiBeat is an epigenetics resource and community for you to stay up-to-date and join the conversation on the rapidly expanding field of epigenetics. Here, you can read and discuss summaries of some of our favorite new epigenetic publications, each presented succinctly so you can keep current with the literature without having to read every paper in detail. It’s a simple way to keep with the beat in epigenetics! We also make it easy to learn more about epigenetics, get tips & tricks from the industry, ask questions about your research and get answers from other scientists. EpiBeat was created for scientists by scientists and is hosted by Zymo Research, The Epigenetics Company.

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  • October 28, 2013
  • 01:07 PM
  • 930 views

Fall is in the Air: DNA Methylation Regulates Seasonal Hormonal Changes in Hamsters.

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Ah the fall…the leaves are changing color, you can feel a chill in the air, the days are getting shorter, and your libido is decreasing…wait, what?!?  Well, maybe not in humans, but seasonal changes that affect the length of day, or photoperiod, can have a profound effect on reproductive behavior and hormone expression in seasonal ...The post Fall is in the Air: DNA Methylation Regulates Seasonal Hormonal Changes in Hamsters. appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Stevenson TJ, & Prendergast BJ. (2013) Reversible DNA methylation regulates seasonal photoperiodic time measurement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(41), 16651-6. PMID: 24067648  

  • October 7, 2013
  • 03:42 PM
  • 901 views

5-Methylcytosine in RNA is More Common and Widespread than Previously Known!

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

The existence of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) in nucleic acid has been known for more than 50 years, and the majority of research in the past has focused on 5-mC in DNA. However, 5-mC is also present in RNA and interest in this RNA modification has been increasing in recent years. To date, several roles of the ...The post 5-Methylcytosine in RNA is More Common and Widespread than Previously Known! appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Squires JE, Patel HR, Nousch M, Sibbritt T, Humphreys DT, Parker BJ, Suter CM, & Preiss T. (2012) Widespread occurrence of 5-methylcytosine in human coding and non-coding RNA. Nucleic acids research, 40(11), 5023-33. PMID: 22344696  

  • October 4, 2013
  • 01:41 PM
  • 1,057 views

Connecting Epigenetics and Memory to PTSD

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

1 in 5.  That is the statistic for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. PTSD is a severe psychological condition that can develop after witnessing traumatic events, and its symptoms include disturbing flashbacks, anxiety, distress, and numbing of the memory ...The post Connecting Epigenetics and Memory to PTSD appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Rudenko A, Dawlaty MM, Seo J, Cheng AW, Meng J, Le T, Faull KF, Jaenisch R, & Tsai LH. (2013) Tet1 is critical for neuronal activity-regulated gene expression and memory extinction. Neuron, 79(6), 1109-22. PMID: 24050401  

  • September 12, 2013
  • 05:27 PM
  • 713 views

More Methylation in RNA!?! RNA Continues to Surprise…

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

While DNA methylation is an extensively-studied epigenetic modification, relatively little is known about the methylation of cytosine bases in RNA.  Although the functional consequences of RNA modifications are not clear, RNA molecules are known to be extensively modified.  In fact, there are over 100 reported modifications to RNA, which is even more than are currently ...The post More Methylation in RNA!?! RNA Continues to Surprise… appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Hussain S, Sajini AA, Blanco S, Dietmann S, Lombard P, Sugimoto Y, Paramor M, Gleeson JG, Odom DT, Ule J.... (2013) NSun2-Mediated Cytosine-5 Methylation of Vault Noncoding RNA Determines Its Processing into Regulatory Small RNAs. Cell reports, 4(2), 255-61. PMID: 23871666  

  • August 28, 2013
  • 04:24 PM
  • 1,027 views

DNA Methylation Regulates Differentiation of Naive Immune Cells into Effector Cells

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

During an adaptive immune response, naive CD8 T cells differentiate into antigen-specific effector cells that release cytotoxic proteins and rapidly proliferate to kill infected cells. When the pathogen has cleared, the majority of effector cells undergo apoptosis while a selected pool becomes memory cells. The differentiation process from naive to memory cells is known to ...The post DNA Methylation Regulates Differentiation of Naive Immune Cells into Effector Cells appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Scharer CD, Barwick BG, Youngblood BA, Ahmed R, & Boss JM. (2013) Global DNA Methylation Remodeling Accompanies CD8 T Cell Effector Function. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). PMID: 23956425  

  • August 21, 2013
  • 06:51 PM
  • 681 views

Erasing Breast Cancer: miRNAs and Epigenetic Factors Play Key Roles in Aggressive Breast Cancer Mechanisms

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Cancer research is perhaps the poster child for the importance of integrating epigenetic analyses into a disease model. As research in the epigenetics of cancer continues to grow, relationships between myriad epigenetic regulators can become quite clear. In a recent study by Pier Paolo Pandolfi and colleagues, epigenetic players including microRNAs (miRNAs), chromatin-modifying enzymes, and ...The post Erasing Breast Cancer: miRNAs and Epigenetic Factors Play Key Roles in Aggressive Breast Cance........ Read more »

  • August 8, 2013
  • 02:31 PM
  • 549 views

Shining a Light on 5-hmC: Direct Labeling and Optical Detection of DNA Hydroxymethylation

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

DNA hydroxymethylation is a DNA modification that has been known to exist for decades, but its importance to biology and its role as an epigenetic mark have only been appreciated for the past few years.  The presence of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) has been observed in the genomes of many different organisms, and in mammals its levels ...The post Shining a Light on 5-hmC: Direct Labeling and Optical Detection of DNA Hydroxymethylation appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2013
  • 07:59 PM
  • 868 views

An Apple a Day Keeps the DNA Methylation Away! Vitamin C and DNA Demethylation in Mouse ES Cells

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is essential for normal development and also plays important roles in diverse cellular functions, such as genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, suppression of repetitive DNA elements, carcinogenesis, and other human diseases. In the last few years, scientists have focused on better understanding the process of active DNA demethylation in ...The post An Apple a Day Keeps the DNA Methylation Away! Vitamin C and DNA Demethylation in Mouse........ Read more »

Blaschke K, Ebata KT, Karimi MM, Zepeda-Martínez JA, Goyal P, Mahapatra S, Tam A, Laird DJ, Hirst M, Rao A.... (2013) Vitamin C induces Tet-dependent DNA demethylation and a blastocyst-like state in ES cells. Nature. PMID: 23812591  

  • July 3, 2013
  • 04:06 PM
  • 914 views

Mysterious Mechanism of Multiple Myeloma Explained by Epigenetics

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

If you are trying to understand an enemy so you can battle them more effectively, it is usually best to know as much as you can about them, including where they are attacking from.  A timely example, considering the upcoming Independence Day holiday on the 4th of July, is the famous case of Paul Revere’s ...The post Mysterious Mechanism of Multiple Myeloma Explained by Epigenetics appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Vicente-Dueñas C, Romero-Camarero I, González-Herrero I, Alonso-Escudero E, Abollo-Jiménez F, Jiang X, Gutierrez NC, Orfao A, Marín N, Villar LM.... (2012) A novel molecular mechanism involved in multiple myeloma development revealed by targeting MafB to haematopoietic progenitors. The EMBO journal, 31(18), 3704-17. PMID: 22903061  

  • June 21, 2013
  • 12:20 PM
  • 1,167 views

Want To Lose More Weight With Less Effort? Epigenetics Can Help.

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Genetic and lifestyle factors both play important roles in controlling our weight, and epigenetics has recently emerged as a powerful new tool to study the effects of lifestyle on obesity. Epigenetic mechanisms regulate heritable patterns of gene expression without changes in the DNA sequence through numerous processes, including DNA methylation and histone modification. Adolescence is ...The post Want To Lose More Weight With Less Effort? Epigenetics Can Help. appeared first on EpiBeat.... Read more »

Moleres A, Campión J, Milagro FI, Marcos A, Campoy C, Garagorri JM, Gómez-Martínez S, Martínez JA, Azcona-Sanjulián MC, & Martí A. (2013) Differential DNA methylation patterns between high and low responders to a weight loss intervention in overweight or obese adolescents: the EVASYON study. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 27(6), 2504-12. PMID: 23475851  

  • June 14, 2013
  • 07:13 PM
  • 720 views

Yet Another Reason to Thank Dad This Father’s Day! Evidence for Paternally-Inherited Epigenetic Modifications

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Maternal health during gestation and prenatal conditions are well documented as having profound effects on health and development of a baby after birth. The mechanisms behind many of these effects are attributed to epigenetic changes that take place in utero. More recently, pre-fertilization maternal health has been also been implicated in affecting development of babies ...The post Yet Another Reason to Thank Dad This Father’s Day! Evidence for Paternally-Inherited Epigenetic Modifications a........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2013
  • 05:42 PM
  • 885 views

Old Dog, New Tricks? Cytosine Methylation in Long Non-Coding RNAs

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Cytosine methylation (5-mC) in DNA is very common, and is generally associated with repression of gene expression.  DNA methylation was the first discovered type of epigenetic modification and remains one of the most actively investigated epigenetic processes, especially with respect to its use as a valuable biomarker for cancer and other human diseases.  The presence ...The post Old Dog, New Tricks? Cytosine Methylation in Long Non-Coding RNAs appeared first on .... Read more »

Amort T, Soulière MF, Wille A, Jia XY, Fiegl H, Wörle H, Micura R, & Lusser A. (2013) Long non-coding RNAs as targets for cytosine methylation. RNA biology, 10(6). PMID: 23595112  

  • May 30, 2013
  • 08:43 PM
  • 1,063 views

The Basics of Bisulfite Conversion for DNA Methylation Analysis

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Bisulfite conversion is one of the most popular and powerful methods available to study cytosine methylation in DNA (also known as 5-methylcytosine or 5-mC).  The use of sodium bisulfite to convert unmethylated cytosines to uracil was first reported in 1970 by two groups independently, Shapiro et al. at New York University and Hayatsu et al. ...... Read more »

Hayatsu H, Wataya Y, & Kazushige K. (1970) The addition of sodium bisulfite to uracil and to cytosine. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 92(3), 724-6. PMID: 5411063  

Frommer M, McDonald LE, Millar DS, Collis CM, Watt F, Grigg GW, Molloy PL, & Paul CL. (1992) A genomic sequencing protocol that yields a positive display of 5-methylcytosine residues in individual DNA strands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 89(5), 1827-31. PMID: 1542678  

  • May 24, 2013
  • 03:26 PM
  • 634 views

A State of Dis”array”: Two Recent Studies Highlight Common Problems Associated with Using Illumina’s 450k Array for Epigenetics Research

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Epigenetic analysis is one of the hottest areas in all of biological research.  Covalent modifications to DNA, proteins, and RNA, without changing the primary sequence of these molecules, are known to epigenetically regulate numerous cellular processes and contribute to many important human disease phenotypes.  One of the most intensely studied epigenetic modifications is DNA methylation ...... Read more »

  • May 16, 2013
  • 05:02 PM
  • 702 views

Does Loss of DNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation in the Brain Lead to Loss of Memory?

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

5-methylcytosine (5-mC) and 5-hydroxymethycytosine (5-hmC) are two major epigenetic modifications of DNA.  Dynamic changes in 5-mC and 5-hmC levels are tightly regulated and impact neural cell development, differentiation, and other biological functions. Deregulation of 5-mC and 5-hmC has also been implicated in various human diseases. However, whether 5-mC and 5-hmC are involved in aging-related neurodegenerative ...... Read more »

  • May 10, 2013
  • 07:49 PM
  • 907 views

Digging for Answers: The Potential of Curcumin as an Epigenetic Therapeutic Drug to Treat Cancer

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

The brilliant golden powder of turmeric is best known as the main spice in curry, but has also been widely used for many years in Eastern traditional medicines as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Turmeric has been used as an alleviator for arthritis, stomach pain, and cancer, among many other health issues. The healing properties of turmeric ...... Read more »

Link A, Balaguer F, Shen Y, Lozano JJ, Leung HC, Boland CR, & Goel A. (2013) Curcumin modulates DNA methylation in colorectal cancer cells. PloS one, 8(2). PMID: 23460897  

  • May 3, 2013
  • 05:33 PM
  • 735 views

Chop It While It’s Hot! An Enzyme-Free Alternative to Hydroxymethylated DNA Detection

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) has been widely studied in many biological contexts, but the precise mechanistic functions of this epigenetic modification remain largely unknown.  Some evidence suggests that 5-hmC may be an intermediate in the process of DNA demethylation because it can be further oxidized to form 5-formylcytosine (5-fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5-caC), which are recognized and eliminated ...... Read more »

  • May 1, 2013
  • 05:21 PM
  • 933 views

Cut It Out! Characterization of PvuRts1I Homologues and Hydroxymethylated DNA Digestion

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Restriction enzymes are critical tools that have aided researchers in making scientific breakthroughs for decades.  The discovery and characterization of the 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) DNA modification also resulted in the unearthing of 5-mC-sensitive or -dependent restriction enzymes, however these enzymes are generally not capable of distinguishing 5-mC from 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC).   Although the biological function of 5-hmC ...... Read more »

  • April 30, 2013
  • 01:32 PM
  • 638 views

Down the Drain? 1MNA Acts as a Potent ‘Methylation Sink’ in Cancer Cells

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

The cancer field consistently proves to be one of the most critical areas for investigations into mechanisms governing tight epigenetic regulation, as nearly all types of cancers demonstrate misregulated epigenetic patterns. Most studies focus on the final epigenomic landscape in terms of histone and DNA modifications and methylomes; relatively few, however, have placed as much ...... Read more »

  • April 26, 2013
  • 08:20 PM
  • 508 views

Patenting Genes: Human Invention or Product of Nature?

by EpiBeat in EpiBeat

Leading up to the debate on gene patenting, this week marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix. On April 25th, 1953 the work of James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and other colleagues on the structure of DNA was published in Nature. Without this milestone achievement, we wouldn’t ...... Read more »

Hall JM, Lee MK, Newman B, Morrow JE, Anderson LA, Huey B, & King MC. (1990) Linkage of early-onset familial breast cancer to chromosome 17q21. Science (New York, N.Y.), 250(4988), 1684-9. PMID: 2270482  

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