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Who Rules the Cell? An Epi-Tale of Histone, DNA, RNA, and the Metabolic Deep State

Abstract : Epigenetics refers to the mode of inheritance independent of mutational changes in the DNA. Early evidence has revealed methylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation of histones, as well as methylation of DNA as part of the underlying mechanisms. The recent awareness that many human diseases have in fact an epigenetic basis, due to unbalanced diets, has led to a resurgence of interest in how epigenetics might be connected with, or even controlled by, metabolism. The Next-Generation genomic technologies have now unleashed torrents of results exposing a wondrous array of metabolites that are covalently attached to selective sites on histones, DNA and RNA. Metabolites are often cofactors or targets of chromatin-modifying enzymes. Many metabolites themselves can be acetylated or methylated. This indicates that the acetylome and methylome can actually be deep and pervasive networks to ensure the nuclear activities are coordinated with the metabolic status of the cell. The discovery of novel histone marks also raises the question on the types of pathways by which their corresponding metabolites are replenished, how they are corralled to the specific histone residues and how they are recognized. Further, atypical cytosines and uracil have also been found in eukaryotic genomes. Although these new and extensive connections between metabolism and epigenetics have been established mostly in animal models, parallels must exist in plants, inasmuch as many of the basic components of chromatin and its modifying enzymes are conserved. Plants are chemical factories constantly responding to stress. Plants, therefore, should lend themselves readily for identifying new endogenous metabolites that are also modulators of nuclear activities in adapting to stress.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 10:49:55 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 2:57:32 PM

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Jeffrey Leung, Valérie Gaudin. Who Rules the Cell? An Epi-Tale of Histone, DNA, RNA, and the Metabolic Deep State. Frontiers in Plant Science, Frontiers, 2020, 11, ⟨10.3389/fpls.2020.00181⟩. ⟨hal-02946484⟩

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