The role of genetic mutations in the development of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), such as alterations in PKD1 and PKD2 genes in autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD), is well understood. However, the significance of epigenetic mechanisms in the progression of PKD remains unclear and is increasingly being investigated. The term of epigenetics describes a range of mechanisms in genome function that do not solely result from the DNA sequence itself. Epigenetic information can be inherited during mammalian cell division to sustain phenotype specifically and physiologically responsive gene expression in the progeny cells. A multitude of functional studies of epigenetic modifiers and systematic genome-wide mapping of epigenetic marks reveal the importance of epigenomic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone/chromatin modifications and non-coding RNAs, in PKD pathologies. Deregulated proliferation is a characteristic feature of cystic renal epithelial cells. Moreover, defects in many of the molecules that regulate the cell cycle have been implicated in cyst formation and progression. Recent evidence suggests that alterations of DNA methylation and histone modifications on specific genes and the whole genome involved in cell cycle regulation and contribute to the pathogenesis of PKD. This review summarizes the recent advances of epigenetic mechanisms in PKD, which helps us to define the term of “PKD epigenetics” and group PKD epigenetic changes in three categories. In particularly, this review focuses on the interplay of epigenetic mechanisms with cell cycle regulation during normal cell cycle progression and cystic cell proliferation, and discusses the potential to detect and quantify DNA methylation from body fluids as diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers. Collectively, this review provides concepts and examples of epigenetics in cell cycle regulation to reveal a broad view of different aspects of epigenetics in biology and PKD, which may facilitate to identify possible novel therapeutic intervention points and to explore epigenetic biomarkers in PKD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology