Histone methyl transferases and demethylases; can they link metabolism and transcription?

Cell Metab. 2010 Oct 6;12(4):321-327. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2010.09.004.


Heritable changes to the transcriptome that are independent to changes in the genome are defined as epigenetics. DNA methylation and posttranslational modifications of histones, such as acetylation/deacetylation and methylation/demethylation of lysine residues, underlie these epigenetic phenomena, which impact on many physiological processes. This perspective focuses on the emerging biology of histone methylation and demethylation, highlighting how these reactions depend on metabolic coenzymes like S-adenosylmethionine, flavin adenine dinucleotide, and α-ketoglutarate. Furthermore, we illustrate that methyltranferases and demethylases affect many metabolic pathways. Despite the preliminary evidence that methyltranferases and demethylases could link metabolic signals to chromatin and alter transcription, further research is indispensable to consolidate these enticing observations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histone Demethylases / physiology*
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / physiology*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones
  • Histone Demethylases
  • Histone Methyltransferases
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase