Interplay between Metabolism and Epigenetics: A Nuclear Adaptation to Environmental Changes

Mol Cell. 2016 Jun 2;62(5):695-711. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.05.029.


The physiological identity of every cell is maintained by highly specific transcriptional networks that establish a coherent molecular program that is in tune with nutritional conditions. The regulation of cell-specific transcriptional networks is accomplished by an epigenetic program via chromatin-modifying enzymes, whose activity is directly dependent on metabolites such as acetyl-coenzyme A, S-adenosylmethionine, and NAD+, among others. Therefore, these nuclear activities are directly influenced by the nutritional status of the cell. In addition to nutritional availability, this highly collaborative program between epigenetic dynamics and metabolism is further interconnected with other environmental cues provided by the day-night cycles imposed by circadian rhythms. Herein, we review molecular pathways and their metabolites associated with epigenetic adaptations modulated by histone- and DNA-modifying enzymes and their responsiveness to the environment in the context of health and disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cellular Microenvironment*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • DNA Methylation
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones