Dietary manipulation of histone structure and function

Annu Rev Nutr. 2008;28:347-66. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.28.061807.155354.


Post-translational modifications of histones are the subject of intensive investigations with the aim of decoding how they regulate, alone or in combination, chromatin structure, genomic stability, and gene expression. Major epigenetic programming events take place during gametogenesis and fetal development and are thought to have long-lasting consequences on adult health. Epidemiological and experimental studies have pointed toward maternal nutrition as a major player during prenatal development in influencing disease susceptibility later in life. Although the mechanisms underlying such observations are not well elucidated, epigenetic alterations of histones by particular maternal diets might be of central importance. Moreover, as much as dietary sources can influence epigenetic programming during pregnancy, they have started to be implicated in cancer chemoprevention, via the targeting of reversible epigenetic deregulations at the level of the histones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Fetal Nutrition Disorders / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*


  • Histones