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      Epigenetics and aging

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          Abstract

          Researchers review how random changes and our environment (for example, diet) determines our life span.

          Abstract

          Over the past decade, a growing number of studies have revealed that progressive changes to epigenetic information accompany aging in both dividing and nondividing cells. Functional studies in model organisms and humans indicate that epigenetic changes have a huge influence on the aging process. These epigenetic changes occur at various levels, including reduced bulk levels of the core histones, altered patterns of histone posttranslational modifications and DNA methylation, replacement of canonical histones with histone variants, and altered noncoding RNA expression, during both organismal aging and replicative senescence. The end result of epigenetic changes during aging is altered local accessibility to the genetic material, leading to aberrant gene expression, reactivation of transposable elements, and genomic instability. Strikingly, certain types of epigenetic information can function in a transgenerational manner to influence the life span of the offspring. Several important conclusions emerge from these studies: rather than being genetically predetermined, our life span is largely epigenetically determined; diet and other environmental influences can influence our life span by changing the epigenetic information; and inhibitors of epigenetic enzymes can influence life span of model organisms. These new findings provide better understanding of the mechanisms involved in aging. Given the reversible nature of epigenetic information, these studies highlight exciting avenues for therapeutic intervention in aging and age-associated diseases, including cancer.

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          Most cited references145

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          Aging, Cellular Senescence, and Cancer

          For most species, aging promotes a host of degenerative pathologies that are characterized by debilitating losses of tissue or cellular function. However, especially among vertebrates, aging also promotes hyperplastic pathologies, the most deadly of which is cancer. In contrast to the loss of function that characterizes degenerating cells and tissues, malignant (cancerous) cells must acquire new (albeit aberrant) functions that allow them to develop into a lethal tumor. This review discusses the idea that, despite seemingly opposite characteristics, the degenerative and hyperplastic pathologies of aging are at least partly linked by a common biological phenomenon: a cellular stress response known as cellular senescence. The senescence response is widely recognized as a potent tumor suppressive mechanism. However, recent evidence strengthens the idea that it also drives both degenerative and hyperplastic pathologies, most likely by promoting chronic inflammation. Thus, the senescence response may be the result of antagonistically pleiotropic gene action.
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            The biology of chromatin remodeling complexes.

            The packaging of chromosomal DNA by nucleosomes condenses and organizes the genome, but occludes many regulatory DNA elements. However, this constraint also allows nucleosomes and other chromatin components to actively participate in the regulation of transcription, chromosome segregation, DNA replication, and DNA repair. To enable dynamic access to packaged DNA and to tailor nucleosome composition in chromosomal regions, cells have evolved a set of specialized chromatin remodeling complexes (remodelers). Remodelers use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to move, destabilize, eject, or restructure nucleosomes. Here, we address many aspects of remodeler biology: their targeting, mechanism, regulation, shared and unique properties, and specialization for particular biological processes. We also address roles for remodelers in development, cancer, and human syndromes.
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              Mammalian sirtuins: biological insights and disease relevance.

              Aging is accompanied by a decline in the healthy function of multiple organ systems, leading to increased incidence and mortality from diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Historically, researchers have focused on investigating individual pathways in isolated organs as a strategy to identify the root cause of a disease, with hopes of designing better drugs. Studies of aging in yeast led to the discovery of a family of conserved enzymes known as the sirtuins, which affect multiple pathways that increase the life span and the overall health of organisms. Since the discovery of the first known mammalian sirtuin, SIRT1, 10 years ago, there have been major advances in our understanding of the enzymology of sirtuins, their regulation, and their ability to broadly improve mammalian physiology and health span. This review summarizes and discusses the advances of the past decade and the challenges that will confront the field in the coming years.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                SciAdv
                advances
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                2375-2548
                July 2016
                29 July 2016
                : 2
                : 7
                : e1600584
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
                [2 ]Genes and Development Graduate Program, University of Texas Graduate School of the Biomedical Sciences at Houston, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Email: jet2021@ 123456med.cornell.edu
                Article
                1600584
                10.1126/sciadv.1600584
                4966880
                27482540
                b7f9e710-5c34-4def-841e-d2e4388c22bf
                Copyright © 2016, The Authors

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 18 March 2016
                : 30 June 2016
                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000002, National Institutes of Health;
                Award ID: ID0EM4AE8935
                Award ID: RO1 CA95641
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Review
                Reviews
                SciAdv reviews
                Epigenetics
                Custom metadata
                Mau Buenaventura

                epigenetics,aging,histones,chromatin
                epigenetics, aging, histones, chromatin

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