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Functional Implications of Dynamic DNA Methylation for the Developing, Aging and Diseased Brain

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The DNA, RNA, and Histone Methylomes

Part of the book series: RNA Technologies ((RNATECHN))

Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation as the interface between the genome and environment, control diverse processes in development, aging and disease. As proposed by increasing body of evidence, defects in epigenetic remodeling during brain development, function and aging seem central to diverse aspects of the pathophysiology of psychiatric and neurological diseases.

The discovery of active ways of DNA demethylation has paved the way to reconsider the functional implications of DNA methylation in the brain, where dynamic reconfiguration of the DNA methylation landscape has been observed during development and aging. High-throughput studies profiling global DNA methylation and transcriptional changes suggest that DNA methylation-dependent gene regulation is crucially involved in regulating neuronal differentiation and maturation processes, as well as in age-related declines of neuronal function. As DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) also influences the histone code, the crosstalk of these two mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation in neuronal development and function has been started to be investigated. Here, an overview is provided about the currently known functional implications dynamic DNA methylation and the crosstalk with histone modifications have in neuronal development and aging, as well as in associated diseases. Further, we discuss the integration and applicability of animal models as tool to gain insights in human brain aging.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the DFG ZI 1224/4-1.

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Correspondence to Geraldine Zimmer-Bensch .

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Zimmer-Bensch, G. (2019). Functional Implications of Dynamic DNA Methylation for the Developing, Aging and Diseased Brain. In: Jurga, S., Barciszewski, J. (eds) The DNA, RNA, and Histone Methylomes. RNA Technologies. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14792-1_6

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