The European journal of neuroscience

Differential contributions of de novo and maintenance DNA methyltransferases to object memory processing in the rat hippocampus and perirhinal cortex--a double dissociation.

PMID 25639476


Epigenetic mechanisms are increasingly acknowledged as major players in memory formation. Specifically, DNA methylation is necessary for the formation of long-term memory in various brain regions, including the hippocampus (HPC); however, its role in the perirhinal cortex (PRh), a structure critical for object memory, has not been characterized. Moreover, the mnemonic effects of selective DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibition have not yet been investigated systematically, despite distinct roles for de novo (DNMT3a, 3b) and maintenance (DNMT1) methyltransferases. Consequently, we assessed the effects of various DNMT inhibitors within the HPC and PRh of rats using the object-in-place paradigm, which requires both brain regions. The non-nucleoside DNA methyltransferase inhibitor RG-108 impaired long-term object-in-place memory in both regions. Furthermore, intracranial administration of Accell short-interference RNA sequences to inhibit the expression of individual DNMTs implicated DNMT3a and DNMT1 in the HPC and PRh effects, respectively. mRNA expression analyses revealed a complementary pattern of results, as only de novo DNMT3a and DNMT3b mRNA was upregulated in the HPC (dentate gyrus) following object-in-place learning, whereas DNMT1 mRNA was selectively upregulated in the PRh. These results reinforce the established functional double dissociation between the HPC and PRh and imply the operation of different epigenetic mechanisms in brain regions dedicated to long-term memory processing for different types of information.

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