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Epigenomics of mammary gland development


Differentiation of stem cells into highly specialised cells requires gene expression changes brought about by remodelling of the chromatin architecture. During this lineage-commitment process, the majority of DNA needs to be packaged into inactive heterochromatin, allowing only a subset of regulatory elements to remain open and functionally required genes to be expressed. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, post-translational modifications to histone tails, and nucleosome positioning all potentially contribute to the changes in higher order chromatin structure during differentiation. The mammary gland is a particularly useful model to study these complex epigenetic processes since the majority of its development is postnatal, the gland is easily accessible, and development occurs in a highly reproducible manner. Inappropriate epigenetic remodelling can also drive tumourigenesis; thus, insights into epigenetic remodelling during mammary gland development advance our understanding of breast cancer aetiology. We review the current literature surrounding DNA methylation and histone modifications in the developing mammary gland and its implications for breast cancer.

Type Journal
ISBN 1465-5411
Authors Holliday, H.; Baker, L. A.; Junankar, S. R.; Clark, S. J.; Swarbrick, A.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Alexander Swarbrick
Published Date 2018-09-03
Published Volume 20
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 100
Status Always Electronic
DOI 10.1186/s13058-018-1031-x
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version