Dr. Robert Spitale and Collegues Discover New DNA Chemical Modification Important for Learning and Memory

Dr. Robert Spitale and Colleagues Discover New DNA Chemical Modification Important for Learning and Memory

Robert Spitale, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and colleagues have discovered a new DNA Chemical Modification that is pertinent to learning and memory. Dr. Spitale and colleagues describe their study results in an advanced online publication in Nature Neuroscience . These results expand the scope of DNA modifications in the adult brain and highlight changes in m6dA as an epigenetic mechanism associated with activity-induced gene expression and the formation of fear extinction memory.

“We have known for some time that chemical modifications in DNA can control gene expression but, the full scope of these modifications has remained a mystery.” Says Spitale “The discovery of a new chemical modification in DNA was striking, and discerning that this modification can control biological processes in the brain is very exciting for many reasons. We are interested in understanding what modifications exist in other cell types in the brain and further detailing how these modifications control gene expression. Making a direct link between chemical modifications, gene expression, and animal behaviors is a very exciting research direction”

The National Institutes of Health, The Pew Charitable Trusts and UCI provided key financial support for the study.

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