EPIGENETICS Alterations in the epigenetic structure are associated with several pathologies

EPIGENETICS
Alterations in the epigenetic structure are associated with several
pathologies, especially with neoplastic conditions. Epigenetic
mechanisms have the potential to record and respond to a variety of
stimuli and stressors that the organism has faced. They constitute a
sort of molecular memory of the organism and a reservoir of adaptation
plasticity to counteract external and internal pressure against
physiological homeostasis. These two characteristics make epigenetic
modifications extraordinary candidate for both new biomarkers
discovery and new targets for drug design 153, 154. Among
epigenetic modifications DNA methylation is the most studied.
DNA methylation is an architectural element of chromatin structure
and plays a critical role in the control of gene expression and cellular
differentiation in eukaryotic organisms. The DNA methylation
essentially occurs in the cytosine of the CpG motifs. In the genome
the vast majority of CpG elements are methylated, but there are
regions where the concentration of CpG motifs is higher, that usually
are demethylated. Such regions are called CpG islands, and
frequently lie at 5′ and 3′ of genes. The methylation of such

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