Friday, September 26, 2008

H2A.Z and DNA Methylation

A Nature paper Histone H2A.Z and DNA methylation are mutually antagonistic chromatin marks, authored by Daniel Zilberman, Devin Coleman-Derr, Tracy Ballinger and Steven Henikoff (doi:10.1038/nature07324; published online 24 September 2008) explores the transcription process and DNA methylation. Methylation is involved in the suppression of gene transcription. Non-functional methylation patterns have been associated with cancer.

The paper refers to H2A.Z, a histone variant, which "promotes transcriptional competence." H2A.Z and DNA methylation dynamics are not completely understood. The plant Arabidopsis thaliana was used to study DNA methylation. H2A.Z and DNA methylation appear to have opposing effects. While the presence of H2A.Z inhibits DNA methylation, its absence can signal gene silencing.

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