Review Article

Epigenetic programming and reprogramming during development

  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology volume 20, pages 282289 (2013)
  • doi:10.1038/nsmb.2489
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Abstract

Cell identity is determined by specific gene expression patterns that are conveyed by interactions between transcription factors and DNA in the context of chromatin. In development, epigenetic modifiers are thought to stabilize gene expression and ensure that patterns of DNA methylation and histone modification are reinstated in cells as they divide. Global erasure of epigenetic marks occurs naturally at two stages in the mammalian life cycle, but it can also be artificially engineered using a variety of reprogramming strategies. Here we review some of the recent advances in understanding how epigenetic remodeling contributes to conversion of cell fate in vivo and in vitro. We summarize current models of epigenetic erasure and discuss the various enzymes and mechanisms that may operate in cellular reprogramming.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Human Frontiers Science Programme (I.C.) and the Medical Research Council UK (A.G.F.) for support.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Lymphocyte Development Group, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London, UK.

    • Irene Cantone
    •  & Amanda G Fisher

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amanda G Fisher.