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Stem Cell Epigenetics

Stem cell self-renewal and differentiation are mediated by epigenetic factors including histone variants, non-coding RNAs, DNA modifications such as methylation, and histone modifications such as acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation, and ubiquitination. DNA methylation decreases gene expression by blocking transcription factor binding and by recruiting methyl CpG binding domain (MBD) proteins, which promote formation of transcriptionally inactive heterochromatin. While DNA methylation typically decreases gene expression, histone modifications can either activate or silence gene expression depending on the modification(s). Significant changes in epigenetic modifications and chromatin structure are associated with stem cell differentiation and somatic cell reprogramming. During differentiation, epigenetic changes lead to the silencing of pluripotency-associated genes and the activation of cell type specific gene expression. In contrast, somatic cell reprogramming is associated with chromatin remodeling and demethylation of pluripotency-associated genes. R&D Systems has a variety of premium quality epigenetic-related proteins and antibodies. In addition, Tocris Biosciences has an extensive collection of epigenetic-related small molecules.