Epigenetic Changes and Chromatin Reorganization in Brain Function: Lessons from Fear Memory Ensemble and Alzheimer's Disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Healthy brain functioning in mammals requires a continuous fine-tuning of gene expression. Accumulating evidence over the last three decades demonstrates that epigenetic mechanisms and dynamic changes in chromatin organization are critical components during the control of gene transcription in neural cells. Recent genome-wide analyses show that the regulation of brain genes requires the contribution of both promoter and long-distance enhancer elements, which must functionally interact with upregulated gene expression in response to physiological cues. Hence, a deep comprehension of the mechanisms mediating these enhancer-promoter interactions (EPIs) is critical if we are to understand the processes associated with learning, memory and recall. Moreover, the onset and progression of several neurodegenerative diseases and neurological alterations are found to be strongly associated with changes in the components that support and/or modulate the dynamics of these EPIs. Here, we overview relevant discoveries in the field supporting the role of the chromatin organization and of specific epigenetic mechanisms during the control of gene transcription in neural cells from healthy mice subjected to the fear conditioning paradigm, a relevant model to study memory ensemble. Additionally, special consideration is dedicated to revising recent results generated by investigators working with animal models and human postmortem brain tissue to address how changes in the epigenome and chromatin architecture contribute to transcriptional dysregulation in Alzheimer's disease, a widely studied neurodegenerative disease. We also discuss recent developments of potential new therapeutic strategies involving epigenetic editing and small chromatin-modifying molecules (or epidrugs).

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume23
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • chromatin organization during cognition
  • epigenetic editing in neurodegenerative diseases
  • epigenetic regulation in brain
  • mechanisms of synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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