Opera Medica et Physiologica

Azad Bonni

Epigenetic Programming of Neural Circuits in the Brain

How are newly-born neurons programmed to assemble into circuits endowing organisms with complex behavior? Neuronal integration into early networks is thought to be largely genetically hardwired. Large numbers of genes turn on and off in temporally


The assembly of neural circuits during development endows the brain with the ability to perceive the environment, control motor output, and perform higher cognitive functions. Failure to assemble proper neural circuits may result in neurodevelopmental disorders including intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. Epigenetic mechanisms, and in particular chromatin remodeling, are potent regulators of neuronal connectivity. Here, we review recent studies highlighting the essential role of the ATPdependent nucleosomal remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex in epigenetic programming of neurons to drive neural circuit assembly and organism behavior. 

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