Epigenetic mechanisms in memory formation

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Feb;6(2):108-18. doi: 10.1038/nrn1604.


Discoveries concerning the molecular mechanisms of cell differentiation and development have dictated the definition of a new sub-discipline of genetics known as epigenetics. Epigenetics refers to a set of self-perpetuating, post-translational modifications of DNA and nuclear proteins that produce lasting alterations in chromatin structure as a direct consequence, and lasting alterations in patterns of gene expression as an indirect consequence. The area of epigenetics is a burgeoning subfield of genetics in which there is considerable enthusiasm driving new discoveries. Neurobiologists have only recently begun to investigate the possible roles of epigenetic mechanisms in behaviour, physiology and neuropathology. Strikingly, the relevant data from the few extant neurobiology-related studies have already indicated a theme - epigenetic mechanisms probably have an important role in synaptic plasticity and memory formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology


  • Nuclear Proteins