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Chromatin modification in zebrafish development.

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Methods in cell biology

Elsevier BV

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      The generation of complex organisms requires that an initial population of cells with identical gene expression profiles can adopt different cell fates during development by progressively diverging transcriptional programs. These programs depend on the binding of transcritional regulators to specific genomic sites, which in turn is controlled by modifications of the chromatin. Chromatin modifications may occur directly upon DNA by methylation of specific nucleotides, or may involve post-translational modification of histones. Local regulation of histone post-translational modifications regionalizes the genome into euchromatic regions, which are more accessible to DNA-binding factors, and condensed heterochromatic regions, inhibiting the binding of such factors. In addition, these modifications may be required in a genome-wide fashion for processes such as DNA replication or chromosome condensation. From an embryologist's point of view chromatin modifications are intensively studied in the context of imprinting and have more recently received increasing attention in understanding the basis of pluripotency and cellular differentiation. Here, we describe recently uncovered roles of chromatin modifications in zebrafish development and regeneration, as well as available resources and commonly used techniques. We provide a general introduction into chromatin modifications and their respective functions with a focus on gene transcription, as well as key aspects of their roles in the early zebrafish embryo, neural development, formation of the digestive system and tissue regeneration.

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      [1 ] MRC National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, London, NW7 1AA, UK.
      Methods Cell Biol.
      Methods in cell biology
      Elsevier BV
      : 104


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