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Epigenetics and metabolism converge with pheromone production

Posted on January 14, 2013 by James Kohl.

Science 11 January 2013: Vol. 339 no. 6116 pp. 148-150 DOI: 10.1126/science.1233423

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When Metabolism and Epigenetics Converge by Paolo Sassone-Corsi

Excerpt: “Environmental inputs such as nutrition can modulate cell metabolism, and critical links between metabolism and epigenetic control—now widely thought to include chromatin remodeling, histone modifications, DNA methylation, and microRNA pathways (1)—are beginning to emerge (2, 3).”

Conclusion: “The presence of metabolite “niches” within specific chromatin subdomains has been proposed (2) and is conceptually intriguing when placed in parallel with the idea of nuclear subcompartments and transcription “hubs” (16). As connections between epigenetics and metabolism emerge, it may be possible to consider new pharmacological interventions for a variety of pathological conditions.”

My comment to the Science site: In my model, the bottom-up epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals on intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression are controlled by the metabolism of the nutrient chemicals to pheromones that epigenetically effect intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression from the top down.  Simply put, the microRNA / messenger RNA balance that is required for homeostasis and epistasis is nutrient chemical-dependent and pheromone-controlled by environmental effects on gene expression, which lead to genetically predisposed behaviors and back to gene expression via sensory input (e.g., food or pheromones). Since adaptive evolution is obviously a function of nutrient chemical-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction in species from microbes to man, it is somewhat surprising that the epigenetic effects of pheromones on intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression have been virtually ignored beyond their contribution to quorum sensing in microbes.

Indeed, Richard Doty went so far as to publish a 2010 book that argued against the obvious fact that mammalian pheromones exist. Shall we attribute to him the inability to see that metabolism and epigenetics converge with food odors and the metabolism of nutrient chemicals to pheromones that act on precisely the same molecular mechanisms of adaptive evolution found in species from microbes to man? And if not for him and other human pheromone-deniers, does the bell toll for me?



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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What is the vomeronasal organ (VNO)?

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a cone-shaped organ in the nasal cavity, which is believed to be one of the body's receptors of pheromones. More, specifically, the VNO, which is part of the accessory olfactory system in the nose, does not respond to normal scents, but may detect odorless, barely perceptible pheromones.

Other schools of thought believe that it is not the VNO but rather cells in our main olfactory system and their affects on hormones secreted by the hypothalamus that are responsible for the affects of pheromones.

Learn more about the science behind pheromones here.

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