Chromatin modification in zebrafish development

Jordi Cayuso Mas, Emily S. Noël, Elke A. Ober

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The generation of complex organisms requires that an initial population of cells with identical gene expression profiles can adopt different cell fates during development by progressively diverging transcriptional programs. These programs depend on the binding of transcritional regulators to specific genomic sites, which in turn is controlled by modifications of the chromatin. Chromatin modifications may occur directly upon DNA by methylation of specific nucleotides, or may involve post-translational modification of histones. Local regulation of histone post-translational modifications regionalizes the genome into euchromatic regions, which are more accessible to DNA-binding factors, and condensed heterochromatic regions, inhibiting the binding of such factors. In addition, these modifications may be required in a genome-wide fashion for processes such as DNA replication or chromosome condensation. From an embryologist's point of view chromatin modifications are intensively studied in the context of imprinting and have more recently received increasing attention in understanding the basis of pluripotency and cellular differentiation. Here, we describe recently uncovered roles of chromatin modifications in zebrafish development and regeneration, as well as available resources and commonly used techniques. We provide a general introduction into chromatin modifications and their respective functions with a focus on gene transcription, as well as key aspects of their roles in the early zebrafish embryo, neural development, formation of the digestive system and tissue regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Zebrafish: Genetics, Genomics and Informatics
EditorsH. William Detrich III, Monte Westerfield, Leonard I. Zon
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780123748140
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2011

Publication series

NameMethods in Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-679X


  • acetylation
  • chromatin
  • condensation
  • histone
  • phosphorylation
  • replication

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