Connecting threads: epigenetics and metabolism

Cell. 2012 Jan 20;148(1-2):24-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.01.001.


Chromatin-modifying enzymes have long been proposed to be the authors of an epigenetic language, but the origin and meaning of the messages they write in chromatin are still mysterious. Recent studies suggesting that the effects of diet can be passed on epigenetically to offspring add weight to the idea that histones act as metabolic sensors, converting changes in metabolism into stable patterns of gene expression. The challenge will now be to understand how localized fluctuations in levels of metabolites control chromatin modifiers in space and time, translating a dynamic metabolic state into a histone map.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Eukaryota / genetics*
  • Eukaryota / metabolism*
  • Histone Code
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • NAD / metabolism


  • Histones
  • NAD