Exploring the dynamics of DNA methylation and interaction with genotype in response to inflammatory stimuli

Chronic inflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of the majority of common diseases including cancer. Understanding the molecular determinants of the inflammatory response is therefore of high importance to human health. DNA methylation at cytosine:guanine dinucleotides (CpGs) is a key epigenetic mark that elicits pronounced transcriptional consequences. How DNA methylation changes over the inflammatory response, and the influence of genetic variation on this is relatively unexplored.

I will present novel data from a project to explore variation in monocyte DNA methylation during exposure to divergent inflammatory stimuli with reference to genotype. I will also describe an ongoing project whereby these findings are being translated to cancer in an effort to dissect the epigenetic impact of malignancy on circulating immune subsets.