HISTOLOGY AND HISTOPATHOLOGY

Cellular and Molecular Biology

 

Review

Chromatin in embryonic stem cell neuronal differentiation

E. Meshorer

National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA and Department of Genetics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.

Offprint requests to: Eran Meshorer, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Building 41, Room B508, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA. e-mail: meshoree@mail.nih.gov or meshorer@cc.huji.ac.il


Summary. Chromatin, the basic regulatory unit of the eukaryotic genetic material, is controlled by epigenetic mechanisms including histone modifications, histone variants, DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling. Cellular differentiation involves large changes in gene expression concomitant with alterations in genome organization and chromatin structure. Such changes are particularly evident in self-renewing pluripotent embryonic stem cells, which begin, in terms of cell fate, as a tabula rasa, and through the process of differentiation, acquire distinct identities. Here I describe the changes in chromatin that accompany neuronal differentiation, particularly of embryonic stem cells, and discuss how chromatin serves as the master regulator of cellular destiny. Histol Histopathol 22, 311-319 (2007)

Key words: Chromatin, Embrionic stem cells, DNA, Histones, Neuron, Development, Differentiation