Genetics

DNA methylation changes in neurons of bipolar disorder patients

A research collaboration based in Kumamoto University, Japan, has revealed the DNA methylation status of gene transcriptional regulatory regions in the frontal lobes of patients with bipolar disorder (BD). The regions with ...

Oncology & Cancer

New mapping technique reveals epigenetic drivers of cancers

Scientists have made major advances in understanding and developing treatments for many cancers by identifying genetic mutations that drive the disease. Now a team led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian ...

Neuroscience

DNA damage 'hot spots' discovered within neurons

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered specific regions within the DNA of neurons that accumulate a certain type of damage (called single-strand breaks or SSBs). This accumulation of SSBs appears ...

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DNA methylation

DNA methylation is a type of chemical modification of DNA that can be inherited and subsequently removed without changing the original DNA sequence. As such, it is part of the epigenetic code and is also the best characterized epigenetic mechanism. Because methylation is a common capability of all viruses for self non-self identification, the epigenetic code could be a persistent remnant of ancient viral infection events.

DNA methylation involves the addition of a methyl group to DNA — for example, to the number 5 carbon of the cytosine pyrimidine ring — in this case with the specific effect of reducing gene expression. DNA methylation at the 5 position of cytosine has been found in every vertebrate examined. In adult somatic tissues, DNA methylation typically occurs in a CpG dinucleotide context; non-CpG methylation is prevalent in embryonic stem cells.

In plants, cytosines are methylated both symmetrically (CpG or CpNpG) and asymmetrically (CpNpNp), where N can be any nucleotide but guanine.

Research has suggested that long term memory storage in humans may be regulated by DNA methylation.

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