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J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 18;286(11):9031-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C110.212589. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

Alpha-synuclein sequesters Dnmt1 from the nucleus: a novel mechanism for epigenetic alterations in Lewy body diseases.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA. pdesplat@ucsd.edu

Abstract

DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification that regulates gene expression. Dnmt1, the maintenance DNA methylation enzyme, is abundantly expressed in the adult brain and is mainly located in the nuclear compartment, where it has access to chromatin. Hypomethylation of CpG islands at intron 1 of the SNCA gene has recently been reported to result in overexpression of α-synuclein in Parkinson disease (PD) and related disorders. We therefore investigated the mechanisms underlying altered DNA methylation in PD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We present evidence of reduction of nuclear Dnmt1 levels in human postmortem brain samples from PD and DLB patients as well as in the brains of α-synuclein transgenic mice models. Furthermore, sequestration of Dnmt1 in the cytoplasm results in global DNA hypomethylation in human and mouse brains, involving CpG islands upstream of SNCA, SEPW1, and PRKAR2A genes. We report that association of Dnmt1 and α-synuclein might mediate aberrant subcellular localization of Dnmt1. Nuclear Dnmt1 levels were partially rescued by overexpression of Dnmt1 in neuronal cell cultures and in α-synuclein transgenic mice brains. Our results underscore a novel mechanism for epigenetic dysregulation in Lewy body diseases, which might underlie the decrease in DNA methylation reported for PD and DLB.

PMID:
21296890
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3059002
Free PMC Article
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