Author(s): Eglen RM, Reisine T
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Abstract Epigenetic control of the transciptome is a complex and highly coordinated cellular process. One critical mechanism involves DNA methylation, mediated by distinct but related DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). Although several DNMT inhibitors are available, most are nonselective; selective DNMT inhibitors, therefore, could be optimal as therapeutics, as well acting as chemical probes to elucidate the fundamental biology of individual DNMTs. DNA methylation is a stable chemical modification, yet posttranslational modification of histones is transitory, with reversible effects on gene expression. Histone posttranslational modifications influence access of transcription factors to DNA target sites to affect gene activity. Histones are regulated by several enzymes, including acetylases (HATs), deacetylases (HDACs), methyltransferases (HMTs), and demethylases (HDMTs). Generally, HATs activate, whereas HDACs suppress gene activity. Specifically, HMTs and HDMTs can either activate or inhibit gene expression, depending on the site and extent of the methylation pattern. There is growing interest in drugs that target enzymes involved in epigenetic control. Currently, a range of high-throughput screening (HTS) technologies are used to identify selective compounds against these enzymes. This review focuses on the rationale for drug development of these enzymes, as well the utility of HTS methods used in identifying and optimizing novel selective compounds that modulate epigenetic control of the human transcriptome.
This article was published in J Biomol Screen
and referenced in Biology and Medicine