The Epigenetic Language of Circadian Clocks
Epigenetic control, which includes DNA methylation and histone modifications, leads to chromatin remodeling and regulated gene expression. Remodeling of chromatin constitutes a critical interface of transducing signals, such as light or nutrient availability, and how these are interpreted by the cell to generate permissive or silenced states for transcription. CLOCK-BMAL1-mediated activation of clock-controlled genes (CCGs) is coupled to circadian changes in histone modification at their promoters. Several chromatin modifiers, such as the deacetylases SIRT1 and HDAC3 or methyltransferase MLL1, have been shown to be recruited to the promoters of the CCGs in a circadian manner. Interestingly, the central element of the core clock machinery, the transcription factor CLOCK, also possesses histone acetyltransferase activity. Rhythmic expression of the CCGs is abolished in the absence of these chromatin modifiers. Here we will discuss the evidence demonstrating that chromatin remodeling is at the crossroads of circadian rhythms and regulation of metabolism and cellular proliferation.
KeywordsCircadian clock Epigenetics Histone modifications Sirtuins
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