Dynamic DNA methylation: a prime candidate for genomic metaplasticity and behavioral adaptation

Trends Neurosci. 2013 Jan;36(1):3-13. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Oct 5.


DNA methylation was once considered to be a static epigenetic modification whose primary function was restricted to directing the development of cellular phenotype. However, it is now evident that the methylome is dynamically regulated across the lifespan: during development as a putative mechanism by which early experience leaves a lasting signature on the genome and during adulthood as a function of behavioral adaptation. Here, we propose that experience-dependent variations in DNA methylation, particularly within the context of learning and memory, represent a form of genomic metaplasticity that serves to prime the transcriptional response to later learning-related stimuli and neuronal reactivation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • DNA Methylation / physiology*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*