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Keeping up NF-κB appearances: Epigenetic control of immunity or inflammation-triggered epigenetics

Biochemical Pharmacology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcp.2006.07.012
  • Nf-κB
  • Cofactor
  • Histone
  • Chromatin
  • Epigenetics
  • Dna Methylation
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine


Abstract Controlled expression of cytokine genes is an essential component of an immune response and is crucial for homeostasis. In order to generate an appropriate response to an infectious condition, the type of cytokine, as well as the cell type, dose range and the kinetics of its expression are of critical importance. The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) family of transcription factors has a crucial role in rapid responses to stress and pathogens (innate immunity), as well as in development and differentiation of immune cells (acquired immunity). Although quite a number of genes contain NF-κB-responsive elements in their regulatory regions, their expression pattern can significantly vary from both a kinetic and quantitative point of view, reflecting the impact of environmental and differentiative cues. At the transcription level, selectivity is conferred by the expression of specific NF-κB subunits and their respective posttranslational modifications, and by combinatorial interactions between NF-κB and other transcription factors and coactivators, that form specific enhanceosome complexes in association with particular promoters. These enhanceosome complexes represent another level of signaling integration, whereby the activities of multiple upstream pathways converge to impress a distinct pattern of gene expression upon the NF-κB-dependent transcriptional network. Today, several pieces of evidence suggest that the chromatin structure and epigenetic settings are the ultimate integration sites of both environmental and differentiative inputs, determining proper expression of each NF-κB-dependent gene. We will therefore discuss in this review the multilayered interplay of NF-κB signaling and epigenome dynamics, in achieving appropriate gene expression responses and transcriptional activity.

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