Christoph Bock (Max Planck Institute for Informatics) [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons
Alterations in epigenetic regulation, processes that affect the availability of genes for transcription and hence their expression levels, are known to have a role in diseases such as cancer. Growing evidence suggests that epigenetic changes are also involved in aging. DNA methylation is one form of epigenetic regulation. Several studies have reported that methylation declines with age, but the mechanism underlying this decline had not been identified. A study published this month in (Nature Neuroscience published online 1 July 2012; doi:10.1038/nn3151) showed that age-related decline in cognitive function in mice is linked to decreased expression levels of the methylation enzyme Dnmt3a1.
Lab Anim. (NY) 41, 210 (2012).
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