Interplay between DNA methylation, histone modification and chromatin remodeling in stem cells and during development

Int J Dev Biol. 2009;53(2-3):203-14. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.082741ki.


Genes constitute only a small proportion of the mammalian genome, the majority of which is composed of non-genic repetitive elements including interspersed repeats and satellites. A unique feature of the mammalian genome is that there are numerous tissue-dependent, differentially methylated regions (T-DMRs) in the non-repetitive sequences, which include genes and their regulatory elements. The epigenetic status of T-DMRs varies from that of repetitive elements and constitutes the DNA methylation profile genome-wide. Since the DNA methylation profile is specific to each cell and tissue type, much like a fingerprint, it can be used as a means of identification. The formation of DNA methylation profiles is the basis for cell differentiation and development in mammals. The epigenetic status of each T-DMR is regulated by the interplay between DNA methyltransferases, histone modification enzymes, histone subtypes, non-histone nuclear proteins and non-coding RNAs. In this review, we will discuss how these epigenetic factors cooperate to establish cell- and tissue-specific DNA methylation profiles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Histones