This application seeks partial support for the 2012 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Summer Research Conference on "Biological Methylation: From DNA and Histones to Disease". This will be the tenth biennial conference on this topic and will be held from August 12-17, 2012 at the Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass, CO. The "Biological Methylation" conference has historically taken a unique approach in its integrative coverage of the enzymology, function, and recognition of S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation and its influence on diverse biological processes and disease. Over the last sixteen years, this meeting has evolved a particular focus on topics relating to DNA and histone methylation, and the role of these epigenetic modifications in development and disease. Recent advances in the areas of epigenetic reprogramming, which involves the resetting of DNA and histone methylation patterns during development and disease, and the evolution of genome-scale technologies to comprehensively evaluate DNA methylation and histone methylation have put this field at the forefront of modern biology. A major focus of the conference will be the influence of epigenetic (DNA, histone) methylation on gene expression and genome stability, and the contribution of dysregulated methylation to human diseases. New or highlighted in this meeting is an emphasis on epigenetic 'reprogramming', the role of DNA demethylation, environmental influences on the epigenome, and new advances in the field in studying histone/DNA methylation. Other sessions will deal with the structure and function of DNA and protein methyltransferases/demethylases, and the post-translational methylation of non-histone proteins, which has emerged as an exciting new area of study, with central roles in signal transduction, the regulation of transcription and the DNA damage response. We intend to have diverse expertise of the meeting's attendees such that the participants have the opportunity to interact with one another to further advance our understanding of methylation and how methyltransferases and demethylases may be manipulated therapeutically to treat human diseases such as neurological diseases and cancer. The Biological Methylation Conference is attended by a diverse group of junior and senior scientists from a wide range of academic and research institutions in the US and abroad. A major objective of the meeting is to promote interaction between junior scientists (postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, starting investigators) and more senior established investigators. Toward this end, we are including a session entitled "Meet the Experts" - an informal venue designed to permit young scientists an opportunity to meet leaders in the field to talk science and network. The conference format includes eight plenary sessions (48 invited speakers), two "Recent Advances" minisymposia (consisting of 12 speakers selected from submitted abstracts), one Workshop, and two poster sessions. Ample time will be provided for the 120-150 expected participants to socialize and to interact on an informal basis.
Cellular macromolecules such as DNA and proteins are frequently modified with a small chemical tag called 'methylation'. This modification plays a fundamental role in determining how the genome is packaged and read, and how proteins act together to carry out cellular functions. Patterns of methylation are strictly controlled during development and alterations in epigenetic methylation contribute to human disease, particularly cancer. The proposal requests partial funding for a conference entitled "Biological Methylation: From DNA and Histones to Disease". Approximately 150 scientists will attend to coordinate, exchange, and disseminate information on the underlying mechanisms controlling epigenetic methylation and to explore the contribution of dysregulated methylation to human disease.