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REVIEW: Adaptive Epibiochemistry and Epigenetics

Ya. I. Buryanov

Shemyakin–Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Pushchino Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia; fax: +7 (4967) 330-527; E-mail: buryanov@bibch.ru

Received March 16, 2015; Revision received April 21, 2015
Enzymatic reactions of post-synthetic modification of macromolecules occur in the cells of all organisms. These reactions, which can be designated as epibiochemical, are of a special type and, as discriminated from reactions with low molecular weight substrates, occur on the level of biopolymers, causing their covalent modification. The majority of epibiochemical modifications of proteins, DNA, and RNA are reversible and are carried out by modification transferases and de-modification enzymes, respectively. Epibiochemical, i.e. those located above the low molecular weight metabolites, modifications of proteins and nucleic acids perform various functions, including participation in molecular mechanisms of adaptive epigenetic heredity. This paper presents an overview of some adaptive epibiochemical modifications of macromolecules and the adaptive epigenetic processes on their basis. The features of epigenetic inheritance of acquired characteristics and the limits of biological evolution are discussed.
KEY WORDS: adaptation, epibiochemistry, epigenetics, transgenerational heredity, evolution

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297915090059