Epigenetic regulation of pancreas development and function

Dana Avrahami, Klaus H. Kaestner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Multiple signaling systems and transcription factor cascades control pancreas development and endocrine cell fate determination. Epigenetic processes contribute to the control of this transcriptional hierarchy, involving both histone modifications and DNA methylation. Here, we summarize recent advances in the field that demonstrate the importance of epigenetic regulation in pancreas development, β-cell proliferation, and cell fate choice. These breakthroughs were made using the phenotypic analysis of mice with mutations in genes that encode histone modifying enzymes and related proteins; by application of activators or inhibitors of the enzymes that acetylate or methylate histones to fetal pancreatic explants in culture; and by genomic approaches that determined the patterns of histone modifications and chromatin state genome-wide.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)693-700
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Related work in the Kaestner lab was supported by NIH grants R01-DK088383 and U01 DK089529 .


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenenetics
  • Histone marks
  • Pancreas development


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