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The Bright and Dark Side of DNA Methylation: A Matter of Balance

Department of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Piedmont, 28100 Novara, Italy
Department of Translational Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont, 28100 Novara, Italy
Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1243;
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 6 October 2019 / Accepted: 10 October 2019 / Published: 12 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation in Health and Disease)
DNA methylation controls several cellular processes, from early development to old age, including biological responses to endogenous or exogenous stimuli contributing to disease transition. As a result, minimal DNA methylation changes during developmental stages drive severe phenotypes, as observed in germ-line imprinting disorders, while genome-wide alterations occurring in somatic cells are linked to cancer onset and progression. By summarizing the molecular events governing DNA methylation, we focus on the methods that have facilitated mapping and understanding of this epigenetic mark in healthy conditions and diseases. Overall, we review the bright (health-related) and dark (disease-related) side of DNA methylation changes, outlining how bulk and single-cell genomic analyses are moving toward the identification of new molecular targets and driving the development of more specific and less toxic demethylating agents. View Full-Text
Keywords: epigenetics; DNA methylation; DNMTs; imprinting; cancer epigenetics; DNA methylation; DNMTs; imprinting; cancer
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Borchiellini, M.; Ummarino, S.; Di Ruscio, A. The Bright and Dark Side of DNA Methylation: A Matter of Balance. Cells 2019, 8, 1243.

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