Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Glossary

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Term Definition
Cell-based therapy
Insertion of live whole cells or cell extracts into tissues to treat disease. Earliest written report in the Kama-Sutra cites use of a decoction of buck testes and milk.
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Cellular Memory Modules
Sites in the chromosomes of fruit flies where Trithorax-group (trxG) and Polycomb-group (PcG) proteins act antagonistically to imprint a particular state of gene expression (active or inactive) that is stably, epigenetically inherited over many cell generations.
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Centromere
Restricted region of chromosomes to which fibres attach during cell division allowing chromosomes to be pulled to different poles. Normally located centrally, but in some species is found near the end (pericentric), at the end (telocentric) or spread all over the chromosomes (holocentric). Characterised by repetitive non-coding DNA sequences and centromeric heterochromatin. The term kinetochore is sometimes used synonymously but is also defined as the protein structure which assembles on the centromere.
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Chromatin
The structural building block of a chromosome consisting of a complex of DNA and protein in eukaryotic cells.
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Chromatin-remodeling ATPases
Require cellular energy in the form of ATP in order to move nucleosomes along the DNA.
Chromosome
One or more large macromolecules in which genetic information (DNA) is normally packaged in.
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Cisplatin
Is an alkylating chemotherapeutic drug used to treat various types of cancers. Interferes with cell division by crosslinking to DNA, notably CpG islands. It activates multiple signal transduction pathways, and triggers cellular responses such as cell-cycle arrest, DNA repair and apoptosis.
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Cloning
The process of creating an identical copy of an original. A clone in the biological sense, therefore, is a single cell (e.g. bacteria, lymphocytes etc.) or a multi-cellular organism that is genetically identical to another living organism.
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CpG islands
In mammals, methylation is found sparsely but globally, distributed in definite CpG sequences throughout the entire genome, with the exception of CpG islands, or certain stretches (approximately 1 kilobase in length) where high CpG content is found. The methylation of these sequences can lead to inappropriate gene silencing.
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CpG methylation
In mammals, methylation is found sparsely but globally, distributed in definite CpG sequences throughout the entire genome, with the exception of CpG islands, or certain stretches (approximately 1 kilobase in length) where high CpG content is found. The methylation of these sequences can lead to inappropriate gene silencing.
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Cytokinin
Class of plant hormones that promote cell division. Examples are: kinetin, zeatin, benzyl adenine. Zeatin is named after the genera of corn, "Zea" as it was first discovered in corn.
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Cytosine
Pyrimidine base found in RNA and DNA. Cytosine (C4H5N3O) forms base-pairs with guanine only. It may become methylated where it occurs consecutively to guanine in the DNA sequence (see 5-methylcytosine).
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Darwinian evolutionary theory
States that biological species have evolved with 'modification by descent'. It is based on the observation that all species are built up of populations exhibiting natural variation, some of which is selected for because it enhances the fitness of an individual under a particular set of environmental conditions. Natural variation is generated by mutation whose degree and kind can be influenced by epigenetic traits.
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Deacetylation
The removal of acetyl groups (histone proteins in epigenetics). See also acetylation and epigenetic tag.
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Differentiation
Process whereby cells/tissues become more specialized during embryonic development.
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