Druggable transcriptional networks in the human neurogenic epigenomes

Gerald A. Higgins, Aaron M. Williams, Alex S. Ade, Hasan B. Alam, Brian D. Athey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Chromosome conformation capture methods have revealed the dynamics of genome architecture which is spatially organized into topologically associated domains, with gene regulation mediated by enhancer-promoter pairs in chromatin space. New evidence shows that endogenous hormones and several xenobiotics act within circumscribed topological domains of the spatial genome, impacting subsets of the chromatin contacts of enhancer-gene promoter pairs in cis and trans. Results from the National Institutes of Health-funded PsychENCODE project and the study of chromatin remodeling complexes have converged to provide a clearer understanding of the organization of the neurogenic epigenome in humans. Neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, bipolar spectrum disorder, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other neuropsychiatric disorders are significantly associatedwithmutations in neurogenic transcriptional networks. In this review, we have reanalyzed the results from publications of the PsychENCODE Consortium using pharmacoinformatics network analysis to better understand druggable targets that control neurogenic transcriptional networks. We found that valproic acid and other psychotropic drugs directly alter these networks, including chromatin remodeling complexes, transcription factors, and other epigenetic modifiers. We envision a new generation of CNS therapeutics targeted at neurogenic transcriptional control networks, including druggable parts of chromatin remodeling complexes and master transcription factorcontrolled pharmacogenomic networks. This may provide a route to the modification of interconnected gene pathways impacted by disease in patients with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Direct and indirect therapeutic strategies to modify the master regulators of neurogenic transcriptional control networks may ultimately help extend the life span of CNS neurons impacted by disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-538
Number of pages19
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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