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Annu Rev Biomed Sci, 0(11)

DOI: 10.5016/1806-8774.2009v11pt114



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Brain plasticity, signal transduction and epigenesis: A missing link revealed

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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It has been long thought that the brain reorganizes itself in response to environmental needs. Sensory experiences coded in action potentials are the mean by which information on the surroundings is introduced into neuronal networks. The information approaching the brain in the form of electrochemical codes must then be translated in biochemical, epigenetic and genetic ones. Only until recently we have begun understanding the underpinning of such informational transformations and how this process is expressed as neuronal plastic responses. Central for our comprehension of this matter is the finding that signals transduction cascades can modify gene expression by remodeling the chromatin through epigenetic mechanisms. Hence, chromatin remodeling seems to be the process by which experiences are "imprinted" in the genome leading to differential gene expression and brain plasticity. In this review, we briefly comment on this possibility.