“Seq-ing” Insights into the Epigenetics of Neuronal Gene Regulation
The epigenetic control of neuronal gene expression patterns has emerged as an underlying regulatory mechanism for neuronal function, identity, and plasticity, in which short- to long-lasting adaptation is required to dynamically respond and process external stimuli. To achieve a comprehensive understanding of the physiology and pathology of the brain, it becomes essential to understand the mechanisms that regulate the epigenome and transcriptome in neurons. Here, we review recent advances in the study of regulated neuronal gene expression, which are dramatically expanding as a result of the development of new and powerful contemporary methodologies, based on next-generation sequencing. This flood of new information has already transformed our understanding of many biological processes and is now driving discoveries elucidating the molecular mechanisms of brain function in cognition, behavior, and disease and may also inform the study of neuronal identity, diversity, and neuronal reprogramming.