Researchers led by Brigitte Gomperts at the University of California, Los Angeles, show that interleukin-13 induces epigenetic changes in allergic airway inflammation. Using transgenic mice, the researchers overexpressed IL13, finding that it led to DNA methylation changes in 177 genes. "We have found that IL13 expression in the airways is associated with coordinate changes in the methylation status of promoters of a large number of gene components of the IL13 transcriptome, consistent with an epigenetic regulatory function of gene methylation in allergic airway inflammation," the researchers write, adding that "interventions that manipulate the epigenome of the asthmatic lung may provide highly effective therapies in the future."
Also in the American Journal of Translational Research, Lei Nie from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and his colleagues review the roles of long, non-coding RNAs, particularly during cancer development. LncRNAs can mediate epigenetic modifications and directly regulate target gene transcription. In cancer, there is increasing evidence that "lncRNAs are crucial players in a variety of tissue carcinogenesis, invasion, and metastasis," and can be categorized as either onocgenic or tumor-suppressors, Nie et al. write. "Characterization of oncogenic and tumor suppressor lncRNAs is an attractive field, which will lead to new markers of cancer diagnosis and identification of novel therapeutic targets," the authors add.