Computational Modeling to Elucidate Molecular Mechanisms of Epigenetic Memory

Jianhua Xing, Jin Yu, Hang Zhang, Xiao Jun Tian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


How do mammalian cells that share the same genome exist in notably distinct phenotypes, exhibiting differences in morphology, gene expression patterns, and epigenetic chromatin statuses? Furthermore, how do cells of different phenotypes differentiate reproducibly from a single fertilized egg? These are fundamental problems in developmental biology. Epigenetic histone modifications play an important role in the maintenance of different cell phenotypes. The exact molecular mechanism for inheritance of the modification patterns over cell generations remains elusive. The complexity comes partly from the number of molecular species and the broad time scales involved. In recent years mathematical modeling has made significant contributions on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation and histone covalent modification inheritance. We will pedagogically introduce the typical procedure and some technical details of performing a mathematical modeling study, and discuss future developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpigenetic Technological Applications
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128013274
ISBN (Print)9780128010808
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Histone epigenetic memory
  • Histone modification enzyme
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Pattern reconstruction
  • Posttranslational modification
  • Reader and writer
  • Stochastic dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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