Individual cell fate decisions can vary according to changes in gene expression in response to environmental, developmental, or metabolic cues. This plasticity is tightly regulated during embryonic development and mediated by the exquisitely coordinated activation and repression of groups of genes. Genes that become repressed are immersed in a condensed chromatin environment that renders them refractory to stimulation. This mechanism is responsible for both the loss of cell plasticity during differentiation and the preservation of cell identity. Understanding the molecular events involved in the establishment and maintenance of these restrictive domains will benefit the design of strategies for cellular reprogramming, differentiation, and cancer treatment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We apologize for those authors whose work could not be cited because of space limitation. We would like to thank all the members of the J.C.I.B. lab at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the CMRB for their insightful comments and input. This work was partially supported by grants RYC-2007-01510 and SAF2009-08588 from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación of Spain to M.J.B. and grants from the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable and Cellex Foundations, Sanofi-Aventis, and MICINN to J.C.I.B.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Cell Biology