The role of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of gene expression in the nervous system

Justyna Cholewa-Waclaw, Adrian Bird, Melanie von Schimmelmann, Anne Schaefer, Huimei Yu, Hongjun Song, Ram Madabhushi, Li Huei Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Neuroepigenetics is a newly emerging field in neurobiology that addresses the epigenetic mechanism of gene expression regulation in various postmitotic neurons, both over time and in response to environmental stimuli. In addition to its fundamental contribution to our understanding of basic neuronal physiology, alterations in these neuroepigenetic mechanisms have been recently linked to numerous neurodevelopmental, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders. This article provides a selective review of the role of DNA and histone modifications in neuronal signal-induced gene expression regulation, plasticity, and survival and how targeting these mechanisms could advance the development of future therapies. In addition, we discuss a recent discovery on how double-strand breaks of genomic DNA mediate the rapid induction of activity-dependent gene expression in neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11427-11434
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 9 2016


  • DNA double strand breaks
  • DNA methylation
  • MeCP2
  • Polycomb repressive complex
  • Topoisomerase II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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