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Various diseases are the result of a plethora of genetic and metabolic modifications that take place in cells over the course of an organism's lifetime. These are accompanied by an increase in the incidence of errors in the regulation of gene activity, which can in turn promote the development of disease. In addition, metabolic activity alters with age and age- associated maladies. In a study carried out on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a long-established model system in genetics, a team led Dr. Shahaf Peleg at LMU's Biomedical Center has now shed new side effect of a commonly used epigenetic drug on metabolic activity. The group's findings appear in the online journal Scientific Reports.
Epigenetic processes essentially determine which genes in a given cell type are amenable to activation. These processes involve the attachment of certain chemical tags, such as methyl groups (CH3), at specific positions in both DNA and a class of gene regulatory proteins known as histones. In various diseases, the mechanisms that control epigenetic modifications become less discriminating.
Shahaf - Peleg - Colleagues - Impact - Inhibition
Shahaf Peleg and his colleagues have looked at the impact of the inhibition of 'deacetylases', enzymes that remove epigenetically attached acetyl groups (CH3COO-) from histones. Since these proteins are responsible for "packaging" of the DNA in the cell nucleus, they play a vital role in regulating the accessibility of genes. Therefore, drugs that inhibit the deacetylases have...
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