A dynamic equilibrium between DNA methylation and demethylation of neuronal activity-regulated genes is crucial for memory processes. However, the mechanisms underlying this equilibrium remain elusive. Tet1 oxidase has been shown to play a key role in the active DNA demethylation in the CNS. In this study, we used Tet1 gene knockout (Tet1KO) mice to examine the involvement of Tet1 in memory consolidation and storage in the adult brain. We found that Tet1 ablation leads to: altered expression of numerous neuronal activity-regulated genes, compensatory upregulation of active demethylation pathway genes, and upregulation of various epigenetic modifiers. Moreover, Tet1KO mice showed an enhancement in the consolidation and storage of threat recognition (cued and contextual fear conditioning) and object location memories. We conclude that Tet1 plays a critical role in regulating neuronal transcription and in maintaining the epigenetic state of the brain associated with memory consolidation and storage.
Keywords: Cytosine methylation; DNA; HDAC; TET; active demethylation; chromatin; epigenetic; fear conditioning; gene expression; homeostatic plasticity; hydroxymethylcytosine; learning; memory; metaplasticity; motor learning; neuroepigenetics; threat conditioning; transcription; transcription factor.