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July 24, 2013
Udo Opperman At The Challenges in Chemical Biology Conference
Now Udo Opperman is talking about histone modifications, which takes us into epigenetics. Whatever it is, epigenetics seems to be a big topic at this meeting - there are several talks and many posters addressing this area.
His efforts at Oxford and the Structural Genomics Consortium are towards generating chemical tools for all the histone-modifying enzymes (methylases/demethylases, acetylases/deacetylases, and so on). That covers a lot of ground, and a number of different mechanisms. To make things harder, they're going for tens of nanomolar in potency and high selectivity - but if these compounds are going to be really useful, that's the profile that they'll need.
One of the things that's coming up as these compounds become available is that these enzymes aren't necessarily confined to histones. Why shouldn't lysines, etc., on other proteins also be targets for regulation? Studies are just getting started on this, and it could well be that there are whole signaling networks out there that we haven't really appreciated.
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