Mysterious DNA modification important for fly brain

Emory scientists have identified a function for a mysterious DNA modificaiton in fruit flies' brain development, which may provide hints to its role in humans.

Emory geneticists Bing Yao, PhD, Peng Jin, PhD and colleagues now have shown that an enzyme that removes methylation from A is critical for neuronal development in Drosophila.

This finding is significant because the enzyme is in the same family (TET for ten-eleven translocation) of demethylases that trigger removal of DNA methylation from C in mammals.

Yao is assistant professor of human genetics, and Jin is vice chair of research in the Department of Human Genetics. They published a paper last year in Nature Communications showing that N6-methyladenine is present in the mouse genome and its levels in brain cells change in response to stress. Both Dr. Yao and Dr. Jin are GMB faculty members.

Click here to view the full story in Lab Land - The Emory Health Sciences Research Blog. The story was also featured in Health Medicine Network.