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Memory aids on the chromatin? Deciphering epigenetic mechanisms of memory storage and change (ID 1277)
Over the past decade, epigenetic mechanisms – ranging from DNA methylation to posttranslational histone modifications – have been repeatedly found to translate a plethora of non-genetic factors into lasting gene expression changes in the central nervous system. For example, learning, stress, or changes in lifestyle have all been shown to trigger – oftentimes persistent – epigenetic changes in the brain, and are thus a central component of normal brain functioning. At the same time, several reports have revealed that when deregulated, epigenetic mechanisms also contribute to memory deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease, or to extremely robust memories such as in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this lecture, I will give an overview of our past and present efforts to better understand the functioning of such formative epigenetic modifications in the brain, with a principal focus on their implication in learning, memory and aberrant memory processing.