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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Turning over DNA methylation in the mind.

  • Author(s): Lister, Ryan
  • Mukamel, Eran A
  • et al.

Cytosine DNA methylation is a stable epigenetic modification with established roles in regulating transcription, imprinting, female X-chromosome inactivation, and silencing of transposons. Dynamic gain or loss of DNA methylation reshapes the genomic landscape of cells during early differentiation, and in post-mitotic mammalian brain cells these changes continue to accumulate throughout the phases of cortical maturation in childhood and adolescence. There is also evidence for dynamic changes in the methylation status of specific genomic loci during the encoding of new memories, and these epigenome dynamics could play a causal role in memory formation. However, the mechanisms that may dynamically regulate DNA methylation in neurons during memory formation and expression, and the function of such epigenomic changes in this context, are unclear. Here we discuss the possible roles of DNA methylation in encoding and retrieval of memory.

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