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Cancer has become one of the most dangerous diseases of the aging population of industrialized countries. Finding tools to fight cancer is hard, because Cancer presents itself as highly heterogeneous, with over 100 types of cancers described. Not only does Cancer affect aged humans, it has been observed in children in the form of e.g. Medulloblastoma. In the third episode of Active Motif's Epigenetics Podcast, our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger sits down with Dr. David Jones, group leader at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, to talk about his research on Medulloblastoma and also the emerging role of epigenetic factors in Cancer.

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The Nucleosome is the basic building unit of chromatin. It consists out of 147 base pairs of double stranded DNA wrapped around the Histone core octamer that consists out of 2 copies of each dimer of H2A/H2B, and H3/H4. Nucleosomes are organized like "beads on a string" to form a modifiable regulatory basis for higher order structures of chromatin. The first images of the nucleosome as a particle was published by our guests Ada and Don Olins from the University of New England in 1974 (Olins, A. L. & Olins, D. E. Spheroid Chromatin Units (ν Bodies). Science 183, 330–332 (1974).). This observation lead the way to numerous discoveries around chromatin which ultimately culminated in the discovery of the 2.8 Angstrom high-resolution crystal structure 20 years ago in the year 1997 (Luger, K., Mäder, A. W., Richmond, R. K., Sargent, D. F. & Richmond, T. J. Crystal structure of the nucleosome core particle at 2.8 Å resolution. Nature 389, 251–260 (1997).)

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Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) was first developed in Drosophila, where interactions of RNA Pol II with genes were investigated (Mol. Cell. Biol. August 1985 vol. 5 no. 8 2009-2018). Then, in a 1993 publication, (Genes & Dev. 1993 7:592-604), the group of James Broach described the association of histone acetylation state with transcriptional gene silencing in yeast. The technique was first used successfully in mammalian cells by Richard Treisman's group, published in 1998 (Cell (1998) 92:475-87).

Chromatin Immunoprecipitation is used to link specific states of chromatin to individual loci in a cell, to understand how genes are regulated, and to decipher the Histone Code. In this Episode, we discuss the multiple challenges of ChIP experiments and the difficulties that can arise during different steps of the process.

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Epigenetics News:

Multiple Challenges in ChIP

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