DNA Methylation in Health and Disease

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Cell Nuclei: Function, Transport and Receptors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019) | Viewed by 19416

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratory for Functional Epigenetics, Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
Interests: epigenetics; DNA methylation; cancer; cellular heterogeneity; genomics

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Guest Editor
Chief Executive Officer, Enthera, Milano, Italy
Interests: induced pluripotent stem cells; epigenetics; hematopoiesis; neurogenesis; early and late stage clinical trials
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Epigenetic processes determine how cells acquire, maintain, and read memories of past events. Such epigenetic information is maintained at the level of chromatin, where it can influence cellular responses long after memory has been imprinted. DNA methylation represents one of the most well-known and stable epigenetic modifications, with patterns of DNA methylation being faithfully copied through cell divisions. However, during most physiological and pathological processes of adaptation, active changes to the DNA methylation landscape occur, and major efforts are made to document them and understand how they can predict or underlie future responses.

Recent methodological developments for single cell analyses and thedeconvolution of tissue-level DNA methylation patterns now enable us to characterize these changes at an unprecedented resolution and with unsurpassed accuracy. This Special Issue will highlight advances made in this field by summarizing the roles of DNA methylation in both health and diseases as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, by reviewing where they are situated in the genome and how methylation changes come about, and by describing how stable changes can mechanistically impact future cellular and organismal processes.

Prof. Dr. Bernard Thienpont
Dr. Giovanni Amabile
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • biomarkers
  • epigenetics
  • cellular heterogeneity

Published Papers (2 papers)

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15 pages, 6540 KiB  
Review
The Bright and Dark Side of DNA Methylation: A Matter of Balance
by Marta Borchiellini, Simone Ummarino and Annalisa Di Ruscio
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101243 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 6024
Abstract
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation in Health and Disease)
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16 pages, 833 KiB  
Review
DNA Methylation as a Future Therapeutic and Diagnostic Target in Rheumatoid Arthritis
by Marzena Ciechomska, Leszek Roszkowski and Wlodzimierz Maslinski
Cells 2019, 8(9), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8090953 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 69 | Viewed by 12885
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disease of unknown etiology that leads to progressive joint destruction and ultimately to disability. RA affects as much as 1% of the population worldwide. To date, RA is not a curable disease, and the mechanisms responsible [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disease of unknown etiology that leads to progressive joint destruction and ultimately to disability. RA affects as much as 1% of the population worldwide. To date, RA is not a curable disease, and the mechanisms responsible for RA development have not yet been well understood. The development of more effective treatments and improvements in the early diagnosis of RA is direly needed to increase patients’ functional capacity and their quality of life. As opposed to genetic mutation, epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation, are reversible, making them good therapeutic candidates, modulating the immune response or aggressive synovial fibroblasts (FLS—fibroblast-like synoviocytes) activity when it is necessary. It has been suggested that DNA methylation might contribute to RA development, however, with insufficient and conflicting results. Besides, recent studies have shown that circulating cell-free methylated DNA (ccfDNA) in blood offers a very convenient, non-invasive, and repeatable “liquid biopsy”, thus providing a reliable template for assessing molecular markers of various diseases, including RA. Thus, epigenetic therapies controlling autoimmunity and systemic inflammation may find wider implications for the diagnosis and management of RA. In this review, we highlight current challenges associated with the treatment of RA and other autoimmune diseases and discuss how targeting DNA methylation may improve diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation in Health and Disease)
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