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Epigenetic mechanisms in the development and maintenance of dopaminergic neurons

Mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mdDA) neurons are located in the ventral mesodiencephalon and are involved in psychiatric disorders and severely affected in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. mdDA neuronal development has received much attention in the last 15 years and many transcription factors involved in mdDA specification have been discovered. More recently however, the impact of epigenetic regulation has come into focus, and it’s emerging that the processes of histone modification and DNA methylation form the basis of genetic switches that operate during mdDA development. Here, we review the epigenetic control of mdDA development, maturation and maintenance. As we highlight, epigenetic mechanisms play a pivotal role in all of these processes and the knowledge gathered from studying epigenetics in these contexts may aid our understanding of mdDA-related pathologies.

Hendrikus J. van Heesbeen, et al
Development140, 1159-1169.   March 15, 2013

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