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J Oral Sci. 2011 Mar;53(1):1-13.

Role of histone modification on transcriptional regulation and HIV-1 gene expression: possible mechanisms of periodontal diseases in AIDS progression.

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Department of Microbiology, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, Japan.


Although approximately 200 distinct cell types - including fibroblasts, neurons, and hematopoietic cells - possess the same DNA sequence, they have diverse functions in humans and exhibit considerably different gene expression patterns. It has become increasingly clear that epigenetic regulation plays an important role in gene expression. There are two major forms of epigenetic regulation: posttranslational modification of DNA-associated histone proteins in chromatin and methylation of DNA. These forms are regulated by distinct but coupled pathways. Notably, histone Lys acetylation by histone acetyltransferase and deacetylation by histone deacetylases play a crucial role in on-off regulation of gene expression. It is now understood that epigenetics plays an important role not only in the regulation of gene expression but also in the pathogenesis of a broad range of diseases such as cancer and microbial infections. We have determined that epigenetic regulation is involved in the establishment and maintenance of HIV-1 latency and in the reactivation of HIV-1 by periodontopathic bacteria. In this review, we focus on the effect of histone modification on transcriptional regulation and the contribution thereof to the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression during the lytic and latent stages of HIV-1 infection. Likewise, we discuss the mechanisms by which periodontal diseases may accelerate AIDS progression in infected individuals as a new systemic disease caused by periodontitis and describe potential therapeutic interventions based on epigenetic mechanisms.

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