Epigenetic Control Using Natural Products and Synthetic Molecules

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Abstract:

The term "epigenetics" is defined as "heritable changes in gene expression that occur without changes in DNA sequence". Recently, it has been revealed that DNA methylation and histone modifications such as acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation are epigenetic mechanisms according to this definition. In other words, these posttranslational modifications are important factors in determining when and where a gene will be expressed. To date, several enzymes that catalyze DNA or histone modifications have been identified, such as DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylases. Inhibitors and activators of enzymes controlling epigenetic modifications are considered useful not only as tools for the elucidation of cellular and biological phenomena, but also as therapeutic agents, since disruption of the balance of epigenetic networks is known to cause some disease states such as cancer. In this review, we present natural products and synthetic molecules that inhibit or activate enzymes catalyzing DNA methylation or histone modifications, and discuss the potential of epigenetic therapy.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Epigenetics; activator; epigenetic therapy; histone modification; inhibitor

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986706776361067

Affiliations: Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nagoya City University, 3-1 Tanabe-dori, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 467-8603, Japan.

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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