Epigenomics: the science of no-longer-junk DNA. Why study it in chronic kidney disease?

Semin Nephrol. 2013 Jul;33(4):354-62. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2013.05.007.


Epigenetics refers to functionally relevant modifications of the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of such modifications are DNA methylation and histone modifications. Both modifications serve to regulate gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence. The epigenome encodes critical information to regulate gene expression. The cellular epigenome is established during development and differentiation and maintained during cell division. These instructions are different in each cell type; therefore, the epigenome is cell-type-specific. Nutrient availability and other environmental factors cause changes in the epigenome. Recent research suggests the critical contribution of the epigenome to the development of complex gene-environmental diseases including chronic kidney diseases.

Keywords: Kidney; cytosine methylation; enhancer; epigenetics; histones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epigenomics*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Histones
  • Cytosine