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Epigenomes, Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Behavioral epigenetics studies how epigenetic alterations induced by experience and environmental [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
A Brief Overview of lncRNAs in Endothelial Dysfunction-Associated Diseases: From Discovery to Characterization
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030020 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 272
Abstract
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a novel class of regulatory RNA molecules and they are involved in many biological processes and disease developments. Several unique features of lncRNAs have been identified, such as tissue-and/or cell-specific expression pattern, which suggest that they could be [...] Read more.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a novel class of regulatory RNA molecules and they are involved in many biological processes and disease developments. Several unique features of lncRNAs have been identified, such as tissue-and/or cell-specific expression pattern, which suggest that they could be potential candidates for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. More recently, the scope of lncRNA studies has been extended to endothelial biology research. Many of lncRNAs were found to be critically involved in the regulation of endothelial function and its associated disease progression. An improved understanding of endothelial biology can thus facilitate the discovery of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for endothelial dysfunction-associated diseases, such as abnormal angiogenesis, hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanism of lncRNA remains undefined in previous published studies. Therefore, in this review, we aimed to discuss the current methodologies for discovering and investigating the functions of lncRNAs and, in particular, to address the functions of selected lncRNAs in endothelial dysfunction-associated diseases. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Targeting HDAC Complexes in Asthma and COPD
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030019 - 07 Sep 2019
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Abstract
Around three million patients die due to airway inflammatory diseases each year. The most notable of these diseases are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Therefore, new therapies are urgently needed. Promising targets are histone deacetylases (HDACs), since they regulate posttranslational protein [...] Read more.
Around three million patients die due to airway inflammatory diseases each year. The most notable of these diseases are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Therefore, new therapies are urgently needed. Promising targets are histone deacetylases (HDACs), since they regulate posttranslational protein acetylation. Over a thousand proteins are reversibly acetylated, and acetylation critically influences aberrant intracellular signaling pathways in asthma and COPD. The diverse set of selective and non-selective HDAC inhibitors used in pre-clinical models of airway inflammation show promising results, but several challenges still need to be overcome. One such challenge is the design of HDAC inhibitors with unique selectivity profiles, such as selectivity towards specific HDAC complexes. Novel strategies to disrupt HDAC complexes should be developed to validate HDACs further as targets for new anti-inflammatory pulmonary treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Disease Epigenetics)
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Open AccessReview
Behavioral Epigenetics: Perspectives Based on Experience-Dependent Epigenetic Inheritance
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030018 - 23 Aug 2019
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in gene regulation, and epigenetic markers such as DNA methylation and histone modifications are generally described as switches that regulate gene expression. Behavioral epigenetics is defined as the study of how epigenetic alterations induced by experience and [...] Read more.
Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in gene regulation, and epigenetic markers such as DNA methylation and histone modifications are generally described as switches that regulate gene expression. Behavioral epigenetics is defined as the study of how epigenetic alterations induced by experience and environmental stress may affect animal behavior. It studies epigenetic alterations due to environmental enrichment. Generally, molecular processes underlying epigenetic regulation in behavioral epigenetics include DNA methylation, post-translational histone modifications, noncoding RNA activity, and other unknown molecular processes. Whether the inheritance of epigenetic features will occur is a crucial question. In general, the mechanism underlying inheritance can be explained by two main phenomena: Germline-mediated epigenetic inheritance and interact epigenetic inheritance of somatic cells through germline. In this review, we focus on examining behavioral epigenetics based on its possible modes of inheritance and discuss the considerations in the research of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Dynamic Partnership of Polycomb and Trithorax in Brain Development and Diseases
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030017 - 21 Aug 2019
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA and histone modifications, are pivotal for normal brain development and functions by modulating spatial and temporal gene expression. Dysregulation of the epigenetic machinery can serve as a causal role in numerous brain disorders. Proper mammalian brain development and functions [...] Read more.
Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA and histone modifications, are pivotal for normal brain development and functions by modulating spatial and temporal gene expression. Dysregulation of the epigenetic machinery can serve as a causal role in numerous brain disorders. Proper mammalian brain development and functions depend on the precise expression of neuronal-specific genes, transcription factors and epigenetic modifications. Antagonistic polycomb and trithorax proteins form multimeric complexes and play important roles in these processes by epigenetically controlling gene repression or activation through various molecular mechanisms. Aberrant expression or disruption of either protein group can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. This review focus on the current progress of Polycomb and Trithorax complexes in brain development and disease, and provides a future outlook of the field. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of the High-Throughput TAB-Array for the Discovery of Novel 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine Biomarkers in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030016 - 10 Aug 2019
Viewed by 606
Abstract
The clinical outcomes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remain dismal, with an estimated five-year survival rate of less than 5%. Early detection and prognostic approaches, including robust biomarkers for PDAC, are critical for improving patient survival. Our goal was to explore the biomarker [...] Read more.
The clinical outcomes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remain dismal, with an estimated five-year survival rate of less than 5%. Early detection and prognostic approaches, including robust biomarkers for PDAC, are critical for improving patient survival. Our goal was to explore the biomarker potential of 5-hydroxymethylcytosines (5hmC), an emerging epigenetic marker with a distinct role in cancer pathobiology, yet under-investigated, due largely to technical constraints relating to PDAC. The TET-assisted bisulfite (TAB)-Array assay represents state-of-the-art technology and was used to directly profile 5hmC at single-base resolution with the Illumina EPIC array (~850,000 cytosine modification sites) in 17 pairs of tumor/adjacent tissue samples from US patients collected at the University of Chicago Medical Center. The TAB-Array data were analyzed to explore the genomic distribution of 5hmC and evaluate whether 5hmC markers were differentially modified between tumors and adjacent tissues. We demonstrated distinctive distribution patterns of 5hmC in tissue samples from PDAC patients relative to cis-regulatory elements (e.g., histone modification marks for enhancers), indicating their potential gene regulatory relevance. Substantial differences in 5hmC-modified CpG sites were detected between tumors and adjacent tissues in genes related to cancer pathobiology. The detected 5hmC-contaning marker genes also showed prognostic value for overall survival in the US patients with PDAC from the Cancer Genome Atlas Project. This study demonstrated the technical feasibility of the TAB-Array approach in cancer biomarker discovery and the biomarker potential of 5hmC for PDAC. Future studies using tissues and/or liquid biopsies may include 5hmC as a potential epigenetic biomarker target for PDAC. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Epigenetic Modifications in Generalized Autoimmune Epithelitis: Sjögren’s Syndrome and Primary Biliary Cholangitis
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030015 - 08 Aug 2019
Viewed by 465
Abstract
Sjögren’s syndrome (SjS) and primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) can be classified as a model of generalized autoimmune epithelitis based on their frequent coexistence in clinical practice and the highly specific immune mediated injury of target epithelial cells. Both of these autoimmune diseases are [...] Read more.
Sjögren’s syndrome (SjS) and primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) can be classified as a model of generalized autoimmune epithelitis based on their frequent coexistence in clinical practice and the highly specific immune mediated injury of target epithelial cells. Both of these autoimmune diseases are characterized by female predominance, highly specific circulating autoantibodies, and immune-mediated destruction of the salivary and lachrymal glands and the biliary epithelial cells, respectively. Although the genetic predisposition has been well described for both diseases, genetic studies have failed to completely elucidate their pathogenesis. The recent integration of epigenetic data, analyzing the different cellular partners, opens new perspectives and allows for better understanding of these complex and still incurable diseases. Epigenetic studies on SjS have elucidated the role of DNA methylation alterations in disease pathogenesis, while epigenetic changes that influence expression of genes on the X chromosome have been implicated in the geo-variability and occurrence of PBC. The aim of this review is to describe the advances in epigenetics in the field of autoimmune epithelitis as well as to highlight how epigenetic changes could contribute to better understanding of disease pathogenesis and progression. These advances could yield insights on novel therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Disease Epigenetics)
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Open AccessReview
LncRNAs and PRC2: Coupled Partners in Embryonic Stem Cells
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030014 - 06 Aug 2019
Viewed by 604
Abstract
The power of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) lies in their ability to self-renew and differentiate. Behind these two unique capabilities is a fine-tuned molecular network that shapes the genetic, epigenetic, and epitranscriptomic ESC plasticity. Although RNA has been shown to be functionally important [...] Read more.
The power of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) lies in their ability to self-renew and differentiate. Behind these two unique capabilities is a fine-tuned molecular network that shapes the genetic, epigenetic, and epitranscriptomic ESC plasticity. Although RNA has been shown to be functionally important in only a small minority of long non-coding RNA genes, a growing body of evidence has highlighted the pivotal and intricate role of lncRNAs in chromatin remodeling. Due to their multifaceted nature, lncRNAs interact with DNA, RNA, and proteins, and are emerging as new modulators of extensive gene expression programs through their participation in ESC-specific regulatory circuitries. Here, we review the tight cooperation between lncRNAs and Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), which is intimately involved in determining and maintaining the ESC epigenetic landscape. The lncRNA-PRC2 partnership is fundamental in securing the fully pluripotent state of ESCs, which must be primed to differentiate properly. We also reflect on the advantages brought to this field of research by the advent of single-cell analysis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Metabolic–Epigenetic Axis in Pluripotent State Transitions
Epigenomes 2019, 3(3), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes3030013 - 31 Jul 2019
Viewed by 753
Abstract
Cell state transition (CST) occurs during embryo development and in adult life in response to different stimuli and is associated with extensive epigenetic remodeling. Beyond growth factors and signaling pathways, increasing evidence point to a crucial role of metabolic signals in this process. [...] Read more.
Cell state transition (CST) occurs during embryo development and in adult life in response to different stimuli and is associated with extensive epigenetic remodeling. Beyond growth factors and signaling pathways, increasing evidence point to a crucial role of metabolic signals in this process. Indeed, since several epigenetic enzymes are sensitive to availability of specific metabolites, fluctuations in their levels may induce the epigenetic changes associated with CST. Here we analyze how fluctuations in metabolites availability influence DNA/chromatin modifications associated with pluripotent stem cell (PSC) transitions. We discuss current studies and focus on the effects of metabolites in the context of naïve to primed transition, PSC differentiation and reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), analyzing their mechanism of action and the causal correlation between metabolites availability and epigenetic alteration. Full article
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