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Epigenetics in Hyperphagia

  • Minati Singh
Reference work entry

Abstract

The central dogma states that the genetic information, which is contained in the DNA, is transcribed and translated into proteins. We now know that a recently identified novel phenomenon, known as epigenetics, alters gene expression without altering DNA sequences. Thus, this phenomenon alters the central dogma hypothesis. Some of these epigenetic changes are reversible, while some of these changes are heritable; both have the potential to influence every aspect of biology. Furthermore, epigenetic changes happen naturally during environmental changes, during aging, and during disease states. Consequently, epigenetics impacts our daily lives. One such biological process that is impacted by epigenetics is the feeding behavior. Epigenetics supports the theory that life experience can alter your feeding behavior irrespective of one’s genetic makeup. This is because some life experience leaves physical marks on DNA, or epitranscriptome changes alter biological functions of proteins that are involved in feeding behavior. To date, at least five systems have been identified to be involved in epigenetic processes: DNA methylation, histone modification, noncoding RNA (ncRNA) regulation, RNA methylation, and RNA editing. All these processes initiate and sustain epigenetic changes independently. This chapter highlights various epigenetic changes known to regulate and alter gene expressions and how some of these epigenetic changes can directly or indirectly affect an overeating behavior known as hyperphagia, which leads to obesity.

Keywords

Hyperphagia Epigenetics DNA methylation RNA methylation Histones RNA editing Epitranscriptome Noncoding RNA microRNA Obesity 

List of Abbreviations

5HT2CR

Serotonin 2C receptor

A to I

Adenosine to inosine RNA editing

ADAR

Adenosine deaminase that acts on RNA

DNMT

DNA methyltransferase

FTO

Fat mass and obesity-associated gene

HCRT

Hypocretin (orexin)

m6A

N6-methyladenosine

MC2R

Melanocortin receptor

miRNA

microRNA

ncRNA

Noncoding RNA

OXTR

Oxytocin receptor

POMC

Pro-opiomelanocortin

PWS

Prader-Willi Syndrome

rRNA

Ribosomal RNA

snoRNA

Small nucleolar RNA

snRNA

Small nuclear RNA

SNRPN

Small nuclear ribonucleoprotein

tRNA

Transfer RNA

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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