Experience-dependent epigenomic reorganization in the hippocampus

Academic Article


  • Using a hippocampus-dependent contextual threat learning and memory task, we report widespread, coordinated DNA methylation changes in CA1 hippocampus of Sprague-Dawley rats specific to threat learning at genes involved in synaptic transmission. Experience-dependent alternations in gene expression and DNA methylation were observed as early as 1 h following memory acquisition and became more pronounced after 24 h. Gene ontology analysis revealed significant enrichment of functional categories related to synaptic transmission in genes that were hypomethylated at 24 h following threat learning. Integration of these data sets with previously characterized epigenetic and transcriptional changes in brain disease states suggested significant overlap between genes regulated by memory formation and genes altered in memory-related neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases. These findings provide a comprehensive resource to aid in the identification of memory-relevant therapeutic targets. Our results shed new light on the gene expression and DNA methylation changes involved in memory formation, confirming that these processes are dynamic and experience-dependent. Finally, this work provides a roadmap for future studies to identify linkage of memory-associated genes to altered disease states.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Duke CG; Kennedy AJ; Gavin CF; Day JJ; Sweatt JD
  • Start Page

  • 278
  • End Page

  • 288
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 7