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Epigenetics refers to DNA and chromatin modifications that persist from one cell division to the next without any changes in the underlying DNA sequence. Some epigenetic changes show transgenerational inheritance meaning that these changes can be passed from one generation to the next. Epigenetics plays an important role in cellular differentiation, allowing distinct cell types to have specific characteristics despite sharing the same DNA sequence. Some examples of epigenetic processes include imprinting, gene silencing, paramutation, X chromosome inactivation, reprogramming, position effect, maternal effects, heterochromatination and some carcinogenesis. The mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance systems can be categorized into at least four routes by which epigenetic changes persist over time. These routes include DNA methylation, chromatin modifications/variations, non-coding RNAs and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling.

Because of the critical importance of epigenetics in regulation of development and cellular function/fate, the main interest of this research group is to study the molecular mechanisms of the cellular memory and function, with special focus on DNA and chromatin modifications on the marker genes of different cellular processes.
Since the main focus at Royan Institute is assisting infertile couples using assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), this subgroup has recently opened a new field of epigenetic alterations during ARTs.
This sub-group has held two workshops on Epigenetics Methods during the recent two years, observing different methods of epigenetic analyses at the single gene as well as whole genome levels.

Group Leader
Maryam Shahhoseini, PhD

Research Assistants
M Azad, MSc
R Favaedi, MSc

Projects

  • Epigenetic evaluation of human embryonic stem cells during neural differentiation
  • Epigenetic signature of the human embryonic and induced pluoripotent stem cells by nucleosome ELISA method
  • Epigenetic analysis of differentiation in MSCs derived from amniotic fluid and bone marrow
  • Study of the epigenetic role of NFY proteins in the regulation of the marker genes involved in RA-induced differentiation of NT2 cells
  • Epigenetic and expression profile analysis of REST in human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and their neural cell derivatives
  • Histone modification analysis of CDH1 gene regulatory region in human prostate cancer stem cells and embryonal carcinoma cells
  • Geneteic analysis and protein expression profile of Septin family proteins in Infertile Men Referred to Royan Institute
  • Epigenetic signature of SRY binding sites in the genome of NTera2 cells
  • Epigenetic aspects of endometriosis
  • Epigenetic effects of in vitro fertilization (IVF)



 

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