CHANGES ON TOP OF DNA SEQUENCE ARE LINKED TO DISEASE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Methylation refers to the addition of a simple chemical grouping known as a methyl group to another molecule. Methylation of DNA has been implicated in cancer, and now the lack of a methyl group may be important in some mood disorders, Johns Hopkins research has shown. Richard Lee, a postdoctoral fellow, explains.
LEE: Methylation marks tend to be a lot more stable than other epigenetic marks. I’m not quite sure if you could say they’re completely permanent. One of our findings shows that the gene itself, at that specific location that we’ve studied actually has the methylation mark but over prolonged stress exposure we are seeing a decrease in methylation, so in one sense it could be seen as methylation marks being removed. :313
High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, appear to be related to a lack of methylation in this model. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.