Intensified interest in the development of pharmacological compounds that manipulate gene control highlights the importance of understanding the key players and molecular events driving gene function. Epigenetic research too frequently focuses on a single chromatinized modification, often at a limited number of loci, and without context for other determinants of transcription. This perception is problematic because it implies an oversimplification of the vastly complex and multidimensional network of gene control. It overlooks the interactions of chromatin modifying enzymes and transcription factors, and seldom addresses the molecular events and signaling cues that influence the executive enzymatic machinery that regulate the epigenome. Here we discuss the connectivity and complexity of epigenetic regulation in the context of chromatin modifications and transcription factors. Using the example of the Set7 methyltransferase, we describe recent observations that expand the understanding of chromatin biology.
Samuel T. Keating