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During the development of an organism, a wide variety of cell fate decisions are taken based on specific inheri-
 

Summary: During the development of an organism, a wide variety
of cell fate decisions are taken based on specific inheri-
tance or cell interactions. Ultimately, most of these deci-
sions are carried out by sequence-specific transcription
factors, through activation or repression of gene express-
ion. Clearly, alterations of gene expression must occur in
the context of chromatin, but until recently, only a few
developmental roles for changes in chromatin structure
were known. Over the past few years, a series of results
has been helping to explain how chromatin regulation
contributes to making developmental decisions.
It has long been known that activation and repression
of gene expression correlate with the acetylation state of
histones. In general, acetylated histones are correlated
with more open chromatin and active gene expression,
whereas deacetylated histones correlate with closed
chromatin and repressed gene expression. Early work
using histone deacetylase inhibitors showed that they
disrupted normal development, indicating that the
acetylation state of histones is developmentally important

  

Source: Ahringe, Julie - Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine