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Regulation of gene expression and cell fate by DNA (hydroxy)methylation

Final Report Summary - HEAVYMETHYL (Regulation of gene expression and cell fate by DNA (hydroxy)methylation)

During embryonic development, the expression of many genes in different tissues is switched on or off, which results in the generation of many differentiated cell types, which all carry the same genome sequence. (Hydroxy)methylation of cytosine residues in eukaryotic DNA represents a major means to regulate gene expression during development. These modifications are considered to be epigenetic marks, since they have a profound impact on gene expression patterns and phenotype, but are inherited from mother to daughter cells independent of the underlying DNA sequence. In the project ‘HeavyMethyl’, state-of-the-art proteomics and genomics approaches have been used to investigate the biological function of DNA (hydroxy)methylation and the proteins that interact with these epigenetic modifications during embryonic stem cell differentiation. The results obtained in the project revealed that dynamic interactions with (hydroxy)methylated DNA play an important role in regulating gene expression and cell fate during embryonic stem cell differentiation.