Chromatin-remodeling links metabolic signaling to gene expression

Ashby J. Morrison


ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers are evolutionarily conserved complexes that alter nucleosome positioning to influence many DNA-templated processes, such as replication, repair, and transcription. In particular, chromatin remodeling can dynamically regulate gene expression by altering accessibility of chromatin to transcription factors.

Scope of review

This review provides an overview of the importance of chromatin remodelers in the regulation of metabolic gene expression. Particular emphasis is placed on the INO80 and SWI/SNF (BAF/PBAF) chromatin remodelers in both yeast and mammals. This review details discoveries from the initial identification of chromatin remodelers in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to recent discoveries in the metabolic requirements of developing embryonic tissues in mammals.

Major conclusions

INO80 and SWI/SNF (BAF/PBAF) chromatin remodelers regulate the expression of energy metabolism pathways in S. cerevisiae and mammals in response to diverse nutrient environments. In particular, the INO80 complex organizes the temporal expression of gene expression in the metabolically synchronized S. cerevisiae system. INO80-mediated chromatin remodeling is also needed to constrain cell division during metabolically favorable conditions. Conversely, the BAF/PBAF remodeler regulates tissue-specific glycolytic metabolism and is disrupted in cancers that are dependent on glycolysis for proliferation. The role of chromatin remodeling in metabolic gene expression is downstream of the metabolic signaling pathways, such as the TOR pathway, a critical regulator of metabolic homeostasis. Furthermore, the INO80 and BAF/PBAF chromatin remodelers have both been shown to regulate heart development, the tissues of which have unique requirements for energy metabolism during development. Collectively, these results demonstrate that chromatin remodelers communicate metabolic status to chromatin and are a central component of homeostasis pathways that optimize cell fitness, organismal development, and prevent disease.