Greater Than the Sum of Parts: Complexity of the Dynamic Epigenome

Mol Cell. 2016 Jun 2;62(5):681-94. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.05.004.


Information encoded in DNA is interpreted, modified, and propagated as chromatin. The diversity of inputs encountered by eukaryotic genomes demands a matching capacity for transcriptional outcomes provided by the combinatorial and dynamic nature of epigenetic processes. Advances in genome editing, visualization technology, and genome-wide analyses have revealed unprecedented complexity of chromatin pathways, offering explanations to long-standing questions and presenting new challenges. Here, we review recent findings, exemplified by the emerging understanding of crossregulatory interactions within chromatin, and emphasize the pathologic outcomes of epigenetic misregulation in cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Oncogenes*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones