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Voelker-Albert, Moritz; Bronkhorst, Abel; Holdenrieder, Stefan and Imhof, Axel (2020): Histone Modifications in Stem Cell Development and Their Clinical Implications. In: Stem Cell Reports, Vol. 15, No. 6: pp. 1196-1205

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Human stem cells bear a great potential for multiple therapeutic applications but at the same time constitute a major threat to human health in the form of cancer stem cells. The molecular processes that govern stem cell maintenance or differentiation have been extensively studied in model organisms or cell culture, but it has been difficult to extrapolate these insights to therapeutic applications. Recent advances in the field suggest that local and global changes in histone modifications that affect chromatin structure could influence the capability of cells to either maintain their stem cell identity or differentiate into specialized cell types. The enzymes that regulate these modifications are therefore among the prime targets for potential drugs that can influence and potentially improve the therapeutic application of stem cells. In this review, we discuss recent findings on the role of histone modifications in stem cell regulation and their potential implications for clinical applications.

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