Epigenetic regulation of centromere chromatin stability by dietary and environmental factors

Diego Hernández-Saavedra, Rita S. Strakovsky, Patricia Ostrosky-Wegman, Yuan Xiang Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The centromere is a genomic locus required for the segregation of the chromosomes during cell division. This chromosomal region together with pericentromeres has been found to be susceptible to damage, and thus the perturbation of the centromere could lead to the development of aneuploidic events. Metabolic abnormalities that underlie the generation of cancer include inflammation, oxidative stress, cell cycle deregulation, and numerous others. The micronucleus assay, an early clinical marker of cancer, has been shown to provide a reliable measure of genotoxic damage that may signal cancer initiation. In the current review, we will discuss the events that lead to micronucleus formation and centromeric and pericentromeric chromatin instability, as well transcripts emanating from these regions, which were previously thought to be inactive. Studies were selected in PubMed if they reported the effects of nutritional status (macro- and micronutrients) or environmental toxicant exposure on micronucleus frequency or any other chromosomal abnormality in humans, animals, or cell models. Mounting evidence from epidemiologic, environmental, and nutritional studies provides a novel perspective on the origination of aneuploidic events. Although substantial evidence exists describing the role that nutritional status and environmental toxicants have on the generation of micronuclei and other nuclear aberrations, limited information is available to describe the importance of macro- and micronutrients on centromeric and pericentromeric chromatin stability. Moving forward, studies that specifically address the direct link between nutritional status, excess, or deficiency and the epigenetic regulation of the centromere will provide much needed insight into the nutritional and environmental regulation of this chromosomal region and the initiation of aneuploidy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-904
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Centromere
  • Centromeric transcription
  • Chromatin instability
  • DNA methylation
  • Micronucleus
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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