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Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
IF: 1.841 5-Year IF: 1.927 SJR: 0.627 SNIP: 0.516 CiteScore™: 1.96

ISSN Print: 1045-4403
ISSN Online: 2162-6502

Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevEukarGeneExpr.v18.i3.10
pages 189-206

The Epigenetics of Adult (Somatic) Stem Cells

Kenneth J. Eilertsen
Epigenetics and Nuclear Reprogramming Laboratory, Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Clinical Nutrition Research Unit, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
Z. Elizabeth Floyd
Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Ubiquitin Biology Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
Jeffrey M. Gimble
Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, 3Clinical Nutrition Research Unit, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA

ABSTRACT

While genetic studies have provided a wealth of information about health and disease, there is a growing awareness that individual characteristics are also determined by factors other than genetic sequences. These "epigenetic" changes broadly encompass the influence of the environment on gene regulation and expression and in a more narrow sense, describe the mechanisms controlling DNA methylation, histone modification and genetic imprinting. In this review, we focus on the epigenetic mechanisms that regulate adult (somatic) stem cell differentiation, beginning with the metabolic pathways and factors regulating chromatin structure and DNA methylation and the molecular biological tools that are currently available to study these processes. The role of these epigenetic mechanisms in manipulating adult stem cells is followed by a discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing this emerging field.


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