Chromatin structure as a mediator of aging

FEBS Lett. 2011 Jul 7;585(13):2041-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2010.11.016. Epub 2010 Nov 16.


The aging process is characterized by gradual changes to an organism's macromolecules, which negatively impacts biological processes. The complex macromolecular structure of chromatin regulates all nuclear processes requiring access to the DNA sequence. As such, maintenance of chromatin structure is an integral component to deter premature aging. In this review, we describe current research that links aging to chromatin structure. Histone modifications influence chromatin compaction and gene expression and undergo many changes during aging. Histone protein levels also decline during aging, dramatically affecting chromatin structure. Excitingly, lifespan can be extended by manipulations that reverse the age-dependent changes to chromatin structure, indicating the pivotal role chromatin structure plays during aging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Chromatin
  • Histones