DNA methylation in epigenetic control of gene expression.
Over three decades ago DNA methylation had been suggested to play a role in the regulation of gene expression. This chapter reviews the development of this field of research over the last three decades, from the time when this idea was proposed up until now when the molecular mechanisms involved in the effect of DNA methylation on gene expression are becoming common knowledge. The dynamic changes that the DNA methylation pattern undergoes during gametogenesis and embryo development have now been revealed. The three-way connection between DNA methylation, chromatin structure and gene expression has been recently clarified and the interrelationships between DNA methylation and histone modification are currently under investigation. DNA methylation is implicated in developmental processes such as X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting and disease, including tumor development. This chapter discusses all these issues in depth.
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