In a new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers have now found a new principle for how epigenetic changes can occur. They have showed that one enzyme, tryptase, can be found in the nucleus of cells and that tryptase can cleave off the tails of histones. In this way, certain epigenetic modifications of the histone tails are removed.
A very interesting finding was that this mechanism is important for maintaining the identity of the cells. Cells that lacked tryptase showed major changes, including a loss of their cellular identity and they also started to proliferate in an uncontrolled way.
These effects were seen in mast cells which are central in allergic reactions. The researchers propose that this type of epigenetic effect could be of importance in dealing with allergic disease. However, it cannot be excluded that similar epigenetic effects are operative also in other cell types. Paper. (public access) – Fabio R. Melo, Ola Wallerman, Aida Paivandy, Gabriela Calounova, Ann-Marie Gustafson, Benjamin R. Sabari, Giuliano Zabucchi, C David Allis, Gunnar Pejler. Tryptase-catalyzed core histone truncation: a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism in mast cells. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.11.044More.
Nor to be picky but it sounds as though the researchers have discovered a “mechanism,” not a “principle.”
Which is a good thing. “Principles,” such as one finds with Darwinism (you know: evolution has no direction; the cosmos did not have man in mind; you can so be a Darwinist and a Christian, etc.), are just what we don’t need more of. We need to know what’s going on. So thanks, team.
See also: Stories that mattered in 2016: Epigenetics becomes, increasingly, a normal study area in science
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
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