Histone modifying enzymes: The Erasers

Epigenetic signatures in the form of post-translational modifications on histones are not permanent. These are dynamic marks which are created and removed as and when required so as to alter the expression states of loci. This task of removing the epigenetic marks is executed by a group of enzymes that are categorised into ‘Erasers’. We found 52 unique enzymes that belong to 6 different categories of erasers. These include Histone deacetylases (HDACs), Histone demethylates (HDMTs/KDMs), Phosphatases, Deubiquitinases. Just like writers, even erasers have targets other than histones. Hence, alteration in the expression of these enzymes may affect more than one particular pathway.

These enzymes are essential for the epigenetic reprogramming events that are required during developmental stages. At the cellular level, the activity of erasers is important for transition from one cell cycle phase to another. Certain erasers like HDACs exhibit tremendous potential as targets for cancer therapeutics. Inhibitors designed against HDACs have now entered drug trials and may emerge as potent drugs for cancer treatment in future.

Types of Erasers Arginine demethylases, Lysine deacetylases, Lysine demethylases, Lysine deribosylase, Lysine deubiquitinases, Serine/threonine/tyrosine phosphatases