Genetics and Epigenetics in Adult Neurogenesis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2016 Jun 1;8(6):a018911. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a018911.


The cellular basis of adult neurogenesis is neural stem cells residing in restricted areas of the adult brain. These cells self-renew and are multipotent. The maintenance of "stemness" and commitment to differentiation are tightly controlled by intricate molecular networks. Epigenetic mechanisms, including chromatin remodeling, DNA methylation, and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), have profound regulatory roles in mammalian gene expression. Significant advances have been made regarding the dynamic roles of epigenetic modulation and function. It has become evident that epigenetic regulators are key players in neural-stem-cell self-renewal, fate specification, and final maturation of new neurons, therefore, adult neurogenesis. Altered epigenetic regulation can result in a number of neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders. Here, we review recent discoveries that advance our knowledge in epigenetic regulation of mammalian neural stem cells and neurogenesis. Insights from studies of epigenetic gene regulation in neurogenesis may lead to new therapies for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism


  • RNA, Untranslated