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Title: Physical modeling of the heritability and maintenance of epigenetic modifications
We develop a predictive theoretical model of the physical mechanisms that govern the heritability and maintenance of epigenetic modifications. This model focuses on a particular modification, methylation of lysine-9 of histone H3 (H3K9), which is one of the most representative and critical epigenetic marks that affects chromatin organization and gene expression. Our model combines the effect of segregation and compaction on chromosomal organization with the effect of the interaction between proteins that compact the chromatin (heterochromatin protein 1) and the methyltransferases that affect methyl spreading. Our chromatin model demonstrates that a block of H3K9 methylations in the epigenetic sequence determines the compaction state at any particular location in the chromatin. Using our predictive model for chromatin compaction, we develop a methylation model to address the reestablishment of the methylation sequence following DNA replication. Our model reliably maintains methylation over generations, thereby establishing the robustness of the epigenetic code.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
20423 to 20429
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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