Epigenetic mechanisms in neurological disease
ABSTRACT The exploration of brain epigenomes, which consist of various types of DNA methylation and covalent histone modifications, is providing new and unprecedented insights into the mechanisms of neural development, neurological disease and aging. Traditionally, chromatin defects in the brain were considered static lesions of early development that occurred in the context of rare genetic syndromes, but it is now clear that mutations and maladaptations of the epigenetic machinery cover a much wider continuum that includes adult-onset neurodegenerative disease. Here, we describe how recent advances in neuroepigenetics have contributed to an improved mechanistic understanding of developmental and degenerative brain disorders, and we discuss how they could influence the development of future therapies for these conditions.
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ABSTRACT: Epigenetic mechanisms are important in different neurological disorders and one such mechanism is histone acetylation. The multivalent chromatin regulator BRPF1 (bromodomain- and PHD finger-containing protein 1) recognizes different epigenetic marks and activates three histone acetyltransferases, so it is both a reader and a co-writer of the epigenetic language. The three histone acetyltransferases are MOZ, MORF and HBO1, which are also known as lysine acetyltransferase 6A (KAT6A), KAT6B and KAT7, respectively. The MORF gene is mutated in four neurodevelopmental disorders sharing the characteristic of intellectual disability and frequently displaying callosal agenesis. Here we report that forebrain-specific inactivation of the mouse Brpf1 gene caused early postnatal lethality, neocortical abnormalities and partial callosal agenesis. With respect to the control, the mutant forebrain contained fewer Tbr2-positive intermediate neuronal progenitors and displayed aberrant neurogenesis. Molecularly, Brpf1 loss led to decreased transcription of multiple genes, such as Robo3 and Otx1, important for neocortical development. Surprisingly, elevated expression of different Hox genes and various other transcription factors, such as Lhx4, Foxa1, Tbx5 and Twist1, was also observed. These results thus identify an important role of Brpf1 in regulating forebrain development and suggest that it acts as both an activator and a silencer of gene expression in vivo.Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2015; 290(11). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M114.635250 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Epigenetic processes play a key role in orchestrating transcriptional regulation during development. The importance of DNA methylation in fetal brain development is highlighted by the dynamic expression of de novo DNA methyltransferases during the perinatal period and neurodevelopmental deficits associated with mutations in the methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. However, our knowledge about the temporal changes to the epigenome during fetal brain development has, to date, been limited. We quantified genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation at ∼400,000 sites in 179 human fetal brain samples (100 male, 79 female) spanning 23 to 184 d post-conception. We identified highly significant changes in DNA methylation across fetal brain development at >7% of sites, with an enrichment of loci becoming hypomethylated with fetal age. Sites associated with developmental changes in DNA methylation during fetal brain development were significantly underrepresented in promoter regulatory regions but significantly overrepresented in regions flanking CpG islands (shores and shelves) and gene bodies. Highly significant differences in DNA methylation were observed between males and females at a number of autosomal sites, with a small number of regions showing sex-specific DNA methylation trajectories across brain development. Weighted gene comethylation network analysis (WGCNA) revealed discrete modules of comethylated loci associated with fetal age that are significantly enriched for genes involved in neurodevelopmental processes. This is, to our knowledge, the most extensive study of DNA methylation across human fetal brain development to date, confirming the prenatal period as a time of considerable epigenomic plasticity. © 2015 Spiers et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.Genome Research 02/2015; DOI:10.1101/gr.180273.114 · 13.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Genome-wide association studies have demonstrated association between SNCA variability and susceptibility to Parkinson's disease, but causal mechanisms are unclear. We hypothesized that risk variants affect methylation of a putative promoter in SNCA intron 1, previously highlighted in epigenetic studies of Parkinson's disease.Methods We analyzed sample sets from blood (n = 72) and cerebral cortex (n = 24) in Parkinson's disease patients and healthy controls. We genotyped SNCA single-nucleotide polymorphisms, examined messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and assessed intron 1 methylation levels by methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme digestion and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR).ResultsPatients showed significant hypomethylation as compared with controls in the blood sample set. In addition, rs3756063 was associated with SNCA methylation level in both blood (P = 5.9 × 10−5) and brain (P = 0.023).Conclusions Our findings support a link between SNCA variability, promoter methylation, and Parkinson's disease risk and indicate that methylation patterns in brain are mirrored in the blood. SNCA methylation warrants further investigation as a potential biomarker. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder SocietyMovement Disorders 12/2014; DOI:10.1002/mds.26073 · 5.63 Impact Factor