• We used to think that once a cell reaches full maturation, its DNA is totally stable, including the molecular tags attached to it to control its genes and maintain the cell’s identity. This research shows that some cells actually alter their DNA all the time, just to perform everyday functions.
  • The main job of neurons is to communicate with other neurons through connections called synapses. At each synapse, an initiating neuron releases chemical messengers, which are intercepted by receptor proteins on the receiving neuron. Neurons can toggle the “volume” of this communication by adjusting the activity level of their genes to change the number of their messengers or receptors on the surface of the neuron.
  • When Song’s team added various drugs to neurons taken from mouse brains, their synaptic activity—the volume of their communication—went up and down accordingly. When it was up, so was the activity of the Tet3 gene, which kicks off the form of DNA alteration known as DNA demethylation.

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