Epigenetic choreographers of neurogenesis in the adult mammalian brain

Nat Neurosci. 2010 Nov;13(11):1338-44. doi: 10.1038/nn.2672.


Epigenetic mechanisms regulate cell differentiation during embryonic development and also serve as important interfaces between genes and the environment in adulthood. Neurogenesis in adults, which generates functional neural cell types from adult neural stem cells, is dynamically regulated by both intrinsic state-specific cell differentiation cues and extrinsic neural niche signals. Epigenetic regulation by DNA and histone modifiers, non-coding RNAs and other self-sustained mechanisms can lead to relatively long-lasting biological effects and maintain functional neurogenesis throughout life in discrete regions of the mammalian brain. Here, we review recent evidence that epigenetic mechanisms carry out diverse roles in regulating specific aspects of adult neurogenesis and highlight the implications of such epigenetic regulation for neural plasticity and disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain* / cytology
  • Brain* / embryology
  • Brain* / growth & development
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / pathology
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology