Project aims to shed light on the epigenetic mechanisms

Cellzome has announced a joint project with Pfizer’s Pain & Sensory Disorders and Regenerative Medicine unit ‘Neusentis’, to characterise epigenetic factors involved in stem cell differentiation using Cellzome’s Episphere technology.
The aim of the project is to shed light on the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of stem cell differentiation. Pfizer will provide its know-how in stem cell handling and regenerative medicine, while Cellzome will apply its chemoproteomics platform to chart the changes of epigenetic factors during stem cell differentiation.

Episphere is a chemoproteomics technology for the discovery of novel drugs directed against targets involved in epigenetic regulation. The technology allows the screening and profiling of inhibitors of epigenetic targets in their native environment, directly in the lysate of cells and tissues, and can also differentiate between the complexes within which these targets operate.

The term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in gene expression and phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in DNA sequence. One major mechanism is the specific enzymatic modification of histone tails, which affects the packaging of DNA into chromatin and through that controls the transcription of specific genes. Enzymes, such as histone deacetylases (HDACs) or methyltransferases (HMTs) can change the modifi­ca­tion of the histone tails and therefore change the ‘histone code’.

Dysregulation of these modifications is thought to play a central role in cancer and in chronic degenerative diseases like neurological and auto­immune disease. The enzymes which carry out these histone modifications are part of large multi­functional protein complexes, which represent attractive novel targets for drug discovery.
Tim Edwards, CEO of Cellzome said: “This is a very exciting collaboration in an emerging area of science. Cellzome can monitor epigenetic factors in their natural complexes directly throughout stem cell differentiation. We look forward to working with Pfizer to gain fundamental insights into epigenetic regulation which may be instrumental for any therapeutic applications in regenerative medicine.”


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