Retinal-input-induced epigenetic dynamics in the developing mouse dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus
Fox, Michael A.
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Abstract DNA methylation plays important roles in the regulation of nervous system development and in cellular responses to environmental stimuli such as light-derived signals. Despite great efforts in understanding the maturation and refinement of visual circuits, we lack a clear understanding of how changes in DNA methylation correlate with visual activity in the developing subcortical visual system, such as in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN), the main retino-recipient region in the dorsal thalamus. Here, we explored epigenetic dynamics underlying dLGN development at ages before and after eye opening in wild-type mice and mutant mice in which retinal ganglion cells fail to form. We observed that development-related epigenetic changes tend to co-localize together on functional genomic regions critical for regulating gene expression, while retinal-input-induced epigenetic changes are enriched on repetitive elements. Enhancers identified in neurons are prone to methylation dynamics during development, and activity-induced enhancers are associated with retinal-input-induced epigenetic changes. Intriguingly, the binding motifs of activity-dependent transcription factors, including EGR1 and members of MEF2 family, are enriched in the genomic regions with epigenetic aberrations in dLGN tissues of mutant mice lacking retinal inputs. Overall, our study sheds new light on the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms underlying the role of retinal inputs on the development of mouse dLGN.
- Faculty Works, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 
- Faculty Works, Department of Biological Sciences 
- Faculty Works, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology 
- Faculty Works, Fralin Life Sciences Institute 
- Faculty Works, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine 
- Journal Articles, BioMed Central and SpringerOpen 
- Open Access Subvention Fund Articles 
- Scholarly Works, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC