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The Mendelian disorders of chromatin machinery: Harnessing metabolic pathways and therapies for treatment.

The Mendelian disorders of chromatin machinery (MDCMs) represent a distinct subgroup of disorders that present with neurodevelopmental disability. The chromatin machinery regulates gene expression by a range of mechanisms, including by post-translational modification of histones, responding to histone marks, and remodelling nucleosomes. Some of the MDCMs that impact on histone modification may have potential therapeutic interventions. Two potential treatment strategies are to enhance the intracellular pool of metabolites that can act as substrates for histone modifiers and the use of medications that may inhibit or promote the modification of histone residues to influence gene expression. In this article we discuss the influence and potential treatments of histone modifications involving histone acetylation and histone methylation. Genomic technologies are facilitating earlier diagnosis of many Mendelian disorders, providing potential opportunities for early treatment from infancy. This has parallels with how inborn errors of metabolism have been afforded early treatment with newborn screening. Before this promise can be fulfilled, we require greater understanding of the biochemical fingerprint of these conditions, which may provide opportunities to supplement metabolites that can act as substrates for chromatin modifying enzymes. Importantly, understanding the metabolomic profile of affected individuals may also provide disorder-specific biomarkers that will be critical for demonstrating efficacy of treatment, as treatment response may not be able to be accurately assessed by clinical measures.

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