Transcriptional signatures mediated by acetylation overlap with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

The mechanisms by which environmental influences lead to the development of complex neurodegenerative diseases are largely unknown. It is known, however, that epigenetic mechanisms can mediate alterations in transcription due to environmental influences. In order to identify genes susceptible to regulation in the adult cortex by one type of epigenetic mechanism, histone, and protein acetylation, we treated mice with the histone deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA). After 1 week of treatment with TSA, RNA was extracted from the brain cortices of mice and gene expression differences were analyzed by microarray profiling. The altered genes were then compared with genes differentially expressed in microarray studies of disease by database and literature searches. Genes regulated by TSA were found to significantly overlap with differentially expressed genes in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. Several TSA-regulated genes involved in chromatin remodeling and epigenetic reprogramming including histone cluster 1, H4 h (Hist1H4 h), methionine adenosyltransferase II, alpha (Mat2a), and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate homocysteine reductase (Mtrr) overlapped with genes altered in early-stage AD in gray matter. We also show that the expression of hemoglobin, which has been shown to be altered in neurons in the AD brain, is regulated by TSA treatment. This analysis suggests involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in neurons in early stages of AD.

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