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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2019 Vol.20 No.7 P.550-562


Epigenetics recording varied environment and complex cell events represents the origin of cellular aging

Author(s):  Xue-Jun Guo, Dong Yang, Xiang-Yuan Zhang

Affiliation(s):  State Key Laboratory of Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China; more

Corresponding email(s):   guoxj@bnu.edu.cn

Key Words:  Epigenetics, Environment, Cell event, Cellular aging, Epigenome entropy, DNA methylation

Xue-Jun Guo, Dong Yang, Xiang-Yuan Zhang. Epigenetics recording varied environment and complex cell events represents the origin of cellular aging[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2019, 20(7): 550-562.

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%T Epigenetics recording varied environment and complex cell events represents the origin of cellular aging
%A Xue-Jun Guo
%A Dong Yang
%A Xiang-Yuan Zhang
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%N 7
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%I Zhejiang University Press & Springer
%DOI 10.1631/jzus.B1800507

T1 - Epigenetics recording varied environment and complex cell events represents the origin of cellular aging
A1 - Xue-Jun Guo
A1 - Dong Yang
A1 - Xiang-Yuan Zhang
J0 - Journal of Zhejiang University Science B
VL - 20
IS - 7
SP - 550
EP - 562
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Y1 - 2019
PB - Zhejiang University Press & Springer
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DOI - 10.1631/jzus.B1800507

Although a relationship between epigenetics and aging phenotypic changes has been established, a theoretical explanation of the intrinsic connection between the epigenetics and aging is lacking. In this essay, we propose that epigenetic recording of varied cell environment and complex history could be an origin of cellular aging. Through epigenetic modifications, the environment and historical events can induce the chromatin template into an activated or repressive accessible structure, thereby shaping the DNA template into a spectrum of chromatin states. The inner nature of diversity and conflicts born by the cell environment and its historical events are hence recorded into the chromatin template. This could result in a dissipated spectrum of the chromatin state and chaos in overall gene expression. An unavoidable degradation of epigenome entropy, similar to Shannon entropy, would be consequently induced. The resultant disorder in epigenome, characterized by corrosion of epigenome entropy as reflected in chromatin template, can be stably memorized and propagated through cell division. Furthermore, the hysteretic nature of epigenetics responding to the emerging environment could exacerbate the degradation of epigenome entropy. As well as stochastic errors, we propose that outside entropy (or chaos) derived from the varied environment and complex cell history, gradually input and imprinted into the chromatin via epigenetic modifications, would lead inevitably to cellular aging, the extent of which could be aggravated by hysteresis of epigenetics without error erasing and correction.


概要:虽然表观遗传和衰老的关联性已经被广泛接受,但是两者之间内在的因果关系需要深度的理论阐述和分析.本文通过分析环境与表观遗传相互作用及其过程的本质特征,证明表观遗传记录多变的细胞环境和复杂的细胞事件是细胞的衰老之源.细胞周围环境以及所经历事件可通过表观修饰激活或抑制染色体上各个基因的表达,从而 对染色体模板以及基因表达模式进行塑造.外在环境和细胞历史的多变性以及内在冲突性由此被逐渐记录在染色体模板上,整体上导致染色体模板以及基因表达模式的混乱和耗散.这将导致细胞表观熵(类似于Shannon信息熵)不可避免地逐渐衰减,其混乱度可通过细胞分裂而进一步被稳定积累、记忆和扩增.另外,表观修饰应对外在环境的变化存在滞后性和一定的不可逆性,加剧了表观熵的衰退.

Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


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