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Science 330 (6004): 612-616

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Molecular Signals of Epigenetic States

Roberto Bonasio,* Shengjiang Tu,* Danny Reinberg{dagger}

Abstract: Epigenetic signals are responsible for the establishment, maintenance, and reversal of metastable transcriptional states that are fundamental for the cell’s ability to "remember" past events, such as changes in the external environment or developmental cues. Complex epigenetic states are orchestrated by several converging and reinforcing signals, including transcription factors, noncoding RNAs, DNA methylation, and histone modifications. Although all of these pathways modulate transcription from chromatin in vivo, the mechanisms by which epigenetic information is transmitted through cell division remain unclear. Because epigenetic states are metastable and change in response to the appropriate signals, a deeper understanding of their molecular framework will allow us to tackle the dysregulation of epigenetics in disease.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, New York University, New York, NY 10016, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: reinbd01{at}

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