1PLoS ONE 2007 -1 2: e895
TitleDNA methylation in the human cerebral cortex is dynamically regulated throughout the life span and involves differentiated neurons.
AbstractThe role of DNA cytosine methylation, an epigenetic regulator of chromatin structure and function, during normal and pathological brain development and aging remains unclear. Here, we examined by MethyLight PCR the DNA methylation status at 50 loci, encompassing primarily 5' CpG islands of genes related to CNS growth and development, in temporal neocortex of 125 subjects ranging in age from 17 weeks of gestation to 104 years old. Two psychiatric disease cohorts--defined by chronic neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's) or lack thereof (schizophrenia)--were included. A robust and progressive rise in DNA methylation levels across the lifespan was observed for 8/50 loci (GABRA2, GAD1, HOXA1, NEUROD1, NEUROD2, PGR, STK11, SYK) typically in conjunction with declining levels of the corresponding mRNAs. Another 16 loci were defined by a sharp rise in DNA methylation levels within the first few months or years after birth. Disease-associated changes were limited to 2/50 loci in the Alzheimer's cohort, which appeared to reflect an acceleration of the age-related change in normal brain. Additionally, methylation studies on sorted nuclei provided evidence for bidirectional methylation events in cortical neurons during the transition from childhood to advanced age, as reflected by significant increases at 3, and a decrease at 1 of 10 loci. Furthermore, the DNMT3a de novo DNA methyl-transferase was expressed across all ages, including a subset of neurons residing in layers III and V of the mature cortex. Therefore, DNA methylation is dynamically regulated in the human cerebral cortex throughout the lifespan, involves differentiated neurons, and affects a substantial portion of genes predominantly by an age-related increase.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia
2Am. J. Med. Genet. B Neuropsychiatr. Genet. 2013 Jan 162B: 1-16
TitleTCF4 (e2-2; ITF2): a schizophrenia-associated gene with pleiotropic effects on human disease.
AbstractCommon SNPs in the transcription factor 4 (TCF4; ITF2, E2-2, SEF-2) gene, which encodes a basic Helix-Loop-Helix (bHLH) transcription factor, are associated with schizophrenia, conferring a small increase in risk. Other common SNPs in the gene are associated with the common eye disorder Fuch's corneal dystrophy, while rare, mostly de novo inactivating mutations cause Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. In this review, we present a systematic bioinformatics and literature review of the genomics, biological function and interactome of TCF4 in the context of schizophrenia. The TCF4 gene is present in all vertebrates, and although protein length varies, there is high conservation of primary sequence, including the DNA binding domain. Humans have a unique leucine-rich nuclear export signal. There are two main isoforms (A and B), as well as complex splicing generating many possible N-terminal amino acid sequences. TCF4 is highly expressed in the brain, where plays a role in neurodevelopment, interacting with class II bHLH transcription factors Math1, HASH1, and NEUROD2. The Ca(2+) sensor protein calmodulin interacts with the DNA binding domain of TCF4, inhibiting transcriptional activation. It is also the target of microRNAs, including mir137, which is implicated in schizophrenia. The schizophrenia-associated SNPs are in linkage disequilibrium with common variants within putative DNA regulatory elements, suggesting that regulation of expression may underlie association with schizophrenia. Combined gene co-expression analyses and curated protein-protein interaction data provide a network involving TCF4 and other putative schizophrenia susceptibility genes. These findings suggest new opportunities for understanding the molecular basis of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia