Rebecca Garrett

Publication Date

Spring 2011


Alzheimer's, Genetics, Epigentics




Alzheimer's disease is a devastating disease, affecting millions. There is some familial evidence of an inheritance pattern from a genetic basis in Alzheimer's disease patients, but even with revelation of the genetic linkage and genes associated with Alzheimer's disease, the inheritance pattern is too complicated to be properly explained. It is necessary to investigate other causes of the debilitating disease. To investigate further, the epigenome was studied - the regulation of the genome by methyl group addition.

To study the epigenome of an Alzheimer's disease-like state, isoschizomer enzymes were used to cleave CC*GG regions. Comparing the cleaved DNA sequences produced allowed for determination of the methylation status of the CC*GG. The methylation statuses of differentiated neuroblastoma cells and amyloid-B peptide was observed. Increased complexity was observed in the amyloid-B treated neuron-like sample; the less complex differentiated sample and the even less complex undifferentiated sample showed that the methylation levels differ between cell types. These observations can be confirmed in the future by investigation of individual gene loci to confirm spikes or drops in methylation. Additional future studies include ontological analysis, using Genecodis (, to search for the specific DNA methylation regions (2).

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