12:00 AM
Jun 09, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Constellation: More epigenetic stars

Researchers have been working in the field of epigenetics for a long time, but so far few targets have been identified. And only two classes of targets - histone deacetylases and DNA methyltransferases - have yielded approved drugs.

Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc. is hoping to take advantage of recent advances in biochemistry that it believes will make epigenetic targets more accessible. The company hopes to discover cancer compounds targeting two other classes: histone methyltransferases and histone demethylases.

Epigenetics is the study of gene regulation and the regulatory factors that determine gene expression. Examples of these include histone post-translation modifications such as methylation, phosphorylation, acetylation and ubiquitination.

Any of these mechanisms - and even variations of these mechanisms like monomethylation, dimethylation or trimethylation - can regulate expression of a given gene. Therefore, the expectation is that epigenetics will yield many...

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