Epigenetic regulation offers a flexible means to instruct cell functions and fate. In human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), thousands of genes are targets for histone modifications leading to activation or suppression of transcription. Novel research now indicates that, in hESCs, the transcription start site of FOXA2, encoding a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors, is bivalently marked with histone modifications for both gene activation and repression. Moreover, FOXA2 is remarkably upregulated at an early stage of endothelial differentiation. These discoveries provide better understanding of the natural program of differentiation and also open up new opportunities for large scale production of endothelial progenitors.
- EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS