Exploring epigenetic reprogramming during central nervous system infection

Zachary Van Roy, Tammy Kielian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Epigenetics involves the study of various modes of adaptable transcriptional regulation, contributing to cell identity, characteristics, and function. During central nervous system (CNS) infection, epigenetic mechanisms can exert pronounced control over the maturation and antimicrobial properties of nearly every immune cell type. Epigenetics is a relatively new field, with the first mention of these marks proposed only a half-century ago and a substantial body of immunological epigenetic research emerging only in the last few decades. Here, we review the best-characterized epigenetic marks and their functions as well as illustrate how various immune cell populations responding to CNS infection utilize these marks to organize their activation state and inflammatory processes. We also discuss the metabolic and clinical implications of epigenetic marks and the rapidly expanding set of tools available to researchers that are enabling elucidation of increasingly detailed genetic regulatory pathways. These considerations paint an intricate picture of inflammatory regulation, where epigenetic marks influence genetic, signaling, and environmental elements to orchestrate a tailored immunological response to the threat at hand, cementing epigenetics as an important player in immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-129
Number of pages18
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • acetylation
  • central nervous system
  • epigenetics
  • histone
  • infection
  • methylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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