Neurotherapeutics (2013) 10:556–567 DOI 10.1007/s13311-013-0223-4
DNA Modifications and Neurological Disorders Yi-Lan Weng & Ran An & Jaehoon Shin & Hongjun Song & Guo-li Ming
Published online: 25 September 2013 # The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2013
Abstract Mounting evidence has recently underscored the importance of DNA methylation in normal brain functions. DNA methylation machineries are responsible for dynamic regulation of methylation patterns in discrete brain regions. In addition to methylation of cytosines in genomic DNA (5-methylcytosine; 5mC), other forms of modified cytosines, such as 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, 5-formylcytosine, and 5-carboxylcytosine, can potentially act as epigenetic marks that regulate gene expression. Importantly, epigenetic modifications require cognate binding proteins to read and translate information into gene expression regulation. Abnormal or incorrect interpretation of DNA methylation patterns can cause devastating consequences, including mental illnesses and neurological disorders. Although DNA methylation was generally considered to be a stable epigenetic mark in postmitotic cells, recent studies have revealed dynamic DNA modifications in neurons. Such reversibility of 5mC sheds light on potential mechanisms underlying some neurological disorders and suggests a new route to correct aberrant methylation patterns associated with these disorders.
Key Words DNA methylation . DNA demethylation . DNMT . TET . 5hmC . GADD45 Y.