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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2005 Jul;30(4):257-63.

Chromatin, DNA methylation and neuron gene regulation--the purpose of the package.

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The Psychiatric Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The accessibility of cognate binding sites within a gene promoter can be modified by the condensation or relaxation of local chromatin structure. Local chromatin structure is in turn programmed by covalent modifications of cytosine bases in DNA and amino acid residues in histone protein tails. These chemical and physical adaptations around gene promoters can significantly change levels of mRNA expression. Furthermore, linear patterns of covalent modification of histone protein tails are emerging as a distinct regulatory code--another form of cellular memory. Because chromatin structure can be modified by conventional pharmacologic therapy, a novel approach to the regulation of neuronal gene expression in clinical populations is possible.

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