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Genes 2017, 8(5), 141; doi:10.3390/genes8050141

The Crucial Role of DNA Methylation and MeCP2 in Neuronal Function

Department of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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Academic Editor: Dennis R. Grayson
Received: 16 February 2017 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Epigenetic Gene Regulation in Brain Function)
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Abstract

A neuron is unique in its ability to dynamically modify its transcriptional output in response to synaptic activity while maintaining a core gene expression program that preserves cellular identity throughout a lifetime that is longer than almost every other cell type in the body. A contributing factor to the immense adaptability of a neuron is its unique epigenetic landscape that elicits locus-specific alterations in chromatin architecture, which in turn influences gene expression. One such epigenetic modification that is sensitive to changes in synaptic activity, as well as essential for maintaining cellular identity, is DNA methylation. The focus of this article is on the importance of DNA methylation in neuronal function, summarizing recent studies on critical players in the establishment of (the “writing”), the modification or erasure of (the “editing”), and the mediation of (the “reading”) DNA methylation in neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity. One “reader” of DNA methylation in particular, methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2), is highlighted, given its undisputed importance in neuronal function. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA methylation; 5-methylcytosine (5mC); 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC); methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2); Rett Syndrome (RTT); DNA methyltransferase (DNMT); ten-eleven translocation (TET) methylcytosine dioxygenase; neuroplasticity; long-term potentiation (LTP) DNA methylation; 5-methylcytosine (5mC); 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC); methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2); Rett Syndrome (RTT); DNA methyltransferase (DNMT); ten-eleven translocation (TET) methylcytosine dioxygenase; neuroplasticity; long-term potentiation (LTP)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fasolino, M.; Zhou, Z. The Crucial Role of DNA Methylation and MeCP2 in Neuronal Function. Genes 2017, 8, 141.

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