The nucleosome surface is covered with multiple modifications that are perpetuated by eight different classes of enzymes. These enzymes modify specific target sites both on DNA and histone proteins, and these modifications have been well identified and termed “epigenetics”. These modifications play critical roles, either by affecting non-histone protein recruitment to chromatin or by disturbing chromatin contacts. Their presence dictates the condensed packaging of DNA and can coordinate the orderly recruitment of various enzyme complexes for DNA manipulation. This genetic modification machinery involves various writers, readers, and erasers that have unique structures, functions, and modes of action. Regarding human disease, studies have mainly focused on the genetic mechanisms; however, alteration in the balance of epigenetic networks can result in major pathologies including mental retardation, chromosome instability syndromes, and various types of cancers. Owing to its critical influence, great potential lies in developing epigenetic therapies. In this regard, this review has highlighted mechanistic and structural interactions of the main epigenetic families with their targets, which will help to identify more efficient and safe drugs against several diseases.
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