Epigenetics: Why histone modifications matter in health and disease

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Histones are an integral part of chromatin as they make up the ‘protein spools’ DNA is wound around. Post translational modifications on histones provide important signals for the regulation of gene transcription. Ali Shilatifard likens the role of these modifications to an intricate language that conveys its message in a context and time dependent way. He will discuss some of the enzymes responsible for the modifications, what we know about their impact in normal and disease development and what we still need to learn.

Given their importance, these modifying enzymes make attractive drug targets. James Bradner will discuss how the results of basic research can be translated into the clinic. He will highlight success stories of compounds that are already used in the clinic and give an overview of therapeutic areas where epigenetic drugs might have the biggest impact. He will focus on the challenges of selecting the right targets among the many molecules that are involved in writing, reading and erasing histone marks and on how to develop modulators of their activity for clinical use.

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1. What are the epigenetic target classes of greatest interest in your research? (select all that apply)*Histone acetyltransferases
Histone methyltransferases
DNA methyltransferases
Histone deacetylases
Histone demethylases
Other (please specify)
2. What are the primary applications for which you are using epigenetics research tools? (select all that apply)*Basic research/disease area research
Primary screening
Secondary screening
Lead optimization
Drug toxicity/safety assessment
3. Are you planning to invest in epigenetics research solutions? (select one of the following)*Yes, in approximately 0-3 months
Yes, in approximately 3-6 months
Yes, in approximately 6-12 months
Yes, in the next 12+ months
I’m not sure
No, not at the moment
4. If you are planning to invest in epigenetics research, what solutions are of most interest? (select all that apply)*Biochemical assays
Cell-based assays
Other (please specify)
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Dr. Ali Shilatifard

Dr. James Bradner

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Sponsored by PerkinElmer