Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease characterized by pathology of accumulated amyloid β (Aβ) and phosphorylated tau proteins in the brain. Postmortem degradation and cellular complexity within the brain have limited approaches to molecularly define the causal relationship between pathological features and neuronal dysfunction in AD. To overcome these limitations, we analyzed the neuron-specific DNA methylome of postmortem brain samples from AD patients, which allowed differentially hypomethylated region of the BRCA1 promoter to be identified. Expression of BRCA1 was significantly up-regulated in AD brains, consistent with its hypomethylation. BRCA1 protein levels were also elevated in response to DNA damage induced by Aβ. BRCA1 became mislocalized to the cytoplasm and highly insoluble in a tau-dependent manner, resulting in DNA fragmentation in both in vitro cellular and in vivo mouse models. BRCA1 dysfunction under Aβ burden is consistent with concomitant deterioration of genomic integrity and synaptic plasticity. The Brca1 promoter region of AD model mice brain was similarly hypomethylated, indicating an epigenetic mechanism underlying BRCA1 regulation in AD. Our results suggest deterioration of DNA integrity as a central contributing factor in AD pathogenesis. Moreover, these data demonstrate the technical feasibility of using neuron-specific DNA methylome analysis to facilitate discovery of etiological candidates in sporadic neurodegenerative diseases.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 7 2017|
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