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This book investigates the various processes that are affected by the age of an organism. Several new tools for the analysis of biological aging have been introduced recently, and this volume provides methods and protocols for these new techniques in addition to its coverage of established procedures. Researchers seeking new technology and techniques will find this volume of tremendous benefit as they move towards new directions.
Recent studies have indicated that epigenetic processes may play a major role in both cellular and organismal aging. These epigenetic processes include not only DNA methylation and histone modifications, but also extend to many other epigenetic mediators such as the polycomb group proteins, chromosomal position effects, and noncoding RNA. The topics of this book range from fundamental changes in DNA methylation in aging to the most recent research on intervention into epigenetic modifications to modulate the aging process. The major topics of epigenetics and aging covered in this book are: 1) DNA methylation and histone modifications in aging; 2) Other epigenetic processes and aging; 3) Impact of epigenetics on aging; 4) Epigenetics of age-related diseases; 5) Epigenetic interventions and aging: and 6) Future directions in epigenetic aging research. The most studied of epigenetic processes, DNA methylation, has been associated with cellular aging and aging of organisms for many years. It is now apparent that both global and gene-specific alterations occur not only in DNA methylation during aging, but also in several histone alterations. Many epigenetic alterations can have an impact on aging processes such as stem cell aging, control of telomerase, modifications of telomeres, and epigenetic drift can impact the aging process as evident in the recent studies of aging monozygotic twins. Numerous age-related diseases are affected by epigenetic mechanisms. For example, recent studies have shown that DNA methylation is altered in Alzheimer's disease and autoimmunity. Other prevalent diseases that have been associated with age-related epigenetic changes include cancer and diabetes. Paternal age and epigenetic changes appear to have an effect on schizophrenia and epigenetic silencing has been associated with several of the progeroid syndromes of premature aging. Moreover, the impact of dietary or drug intervention into epigenetic processes as they affect normal aging or age-related diseases is becoming increasingly feasible.
A collection of state-of-the-art methods for epigenetic analysis, including recent breakthrough techniques that have great potential in the rapidly expanding field of non-Mendelian genetics. The authors provide techniques for the analysis of chromatin remodeling, such as histone acetylation and methylation. In addition, methods in newly developed and especially promising areas of epigenetics, such as telomere position effects, quantitative epigenetics, and ADP ribosylation are covered. There is also an updated analysis of techniques involving DNA methylation and its role in the modification, as well as the maintenance, of chromatin structure. Of special interest are potentially revolutionary techniques. These include methods for determining changes in native chromatin, methods of microarray analysis applied to epigenetics, and methylation-sensitive single-strand conformation techniques. The methods are suitable not only for studying fundamental biological processes, but also for investigating possible therapeutic interventions and such diseases as cancer.
This volume presents a compendium of the most recent and advanced methods applied to the rapidly expanding field of telomerase inhibition. The techniques described provide the researcher with a diverse and comprehensive set of tools for the study of telomerase inhibition. The volume is aimed at biochemists, molecular biologists, cancer researchers, and geneticists.