Epigenetics and aging: the targets and the marks

Trends Genet. 2007 Aug;23(8):413-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.05.008. Epub 2007 Jun 7.


'Aging epigenetics' is an emerging field that promises exciting revelations in the near future. Here we focus on the functional and biological significance of the epigenetic alterations that accumulate during aging and are important in tumorigenesis. Paradigmatic examples are provided by the global loss of DNA methylation in aging and cancer and by the promoter hypermethylation of genes with a dual role in tumor suppression and progeria, such as the Werner syndrome (WRN) and lamin A/C genes. Another twist is provided by sirtuins, a family of NAD-dependent deacetylases that act on Lys16 of histone H4, which are emerging as a link between cellular transformation and lifespan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological


  • Histones