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Bioessays. 2014 Sep;36(9):872-83. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400087. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Chromatin regulators in neurodevelopment and disease: Analysis of fly neural circuits provides insights: Networks of chromatin regulators and transcription factors underlie Drosophila neurogenesis and cognitive defects in intellectual disability and neuropsychiatric disorder models.

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Laboratory for Genetic Code, Graduate School of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University, Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan.


Disruptions in chromatin regulator genes are frequently the cause of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Chromatin regulators are widely expressed in the brain, yet symptoms suggest that specific circuits can be preferentially altered when they are mutated. Using Drosophila allows targeted manipulation of chromatin regulators in defined neuronal classes, lineages, or circuits, revealing their roles in neuronal precursor self-renewal, dendrite and axon targeting, neuron diversification, and the tuning of developmental signaling pathways. Phenotypes arising from chromatin regulator disruption are context dependent - defined by interaction networks between the regulators, transcription factors, and chromatin remodeling complex partners. Future challenges are to determine the complexity of partner interactions, and to ascertain the degree to which cognitive deficits are due to loss of chromatin regulator activity in building a circuit or in maintaining homeostasis and activity within it.


Drosophila; chromatin; disease model; epigenetics; histone; neurogenesis; neurological disease

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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