Epigenetic regulation of the genome is mediated by chemical modifications of chromatin, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, which affect gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. The state of epigenetic modifications of a particular cell is called the epigenome. This is critical for the establishment and maintenance of spatio-temporally regulated gene expression patterns underlying many biological processes such as cellular differentiation in the embryo, regulation of homeostasis, germ cell development, and reprogramming of the somatic nucleus in cloned animals or iPS cells. The epigenetic modifications are also involved in transposon silencing and pathogenesis of various human diseases including cancer. The epigenetic gene regulation is, therefore, one of the most important issues in not only basic science but also translational research including cancer therapy and regenerative medicine. We are interested in the mechanism by which the epigenome is established, maintained, and reprogrammed in mammals and also in the human disorders caused by aberrations in epigenome regulation. We are currently focusing on mammalian-specific epigenetic phenomena, such as genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation, and on transposon silencing by small RNA in the germline.

 "Genomic Imprinting"
Editors: Hiroyuki Sasaki and Fumitoshi Ishino
Cytogenetic and Genome Research Vol.113, No.1-4, pp1-350, KARGER(2006)