New work published in Aging and Disease by Bellver-Sanchis et al.
Abstract: Epigenetic alterations are a fundamental pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Herein, we show the upregulation of G9a and H3K9me2 in the brains of AD patients. Interestingly, treatment with a G9a inhibitor (G9ai) in SAMP8 mice reversed the high levels of H3K9me2 and rescued cognitive decline. A transcriptional profile analysis after G9ai treatment revealed increased gene expression of glia maturation factor β (GMFB) in SAMP8 mice. Besides, a H3K9me2 ChIP-seq analysis after G9a inhibition treatment showed the enrichment of gene promoters associated with neural functions. We observed the induction of neuronal plasticity and a reduction of neuroinflammation after G9ai treatment, and more strikingly, these neuroprotective effects were reverted by the pharmacological inhibition of GMFB in mice and cell cultures; this was also validated by the RNAi approach generating the knockdown of GMFB/Y507A.10 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Importantly, we present evidence that GMFB activity is controlled by G9a-mediated lysine methylation as well as we identified that G9a directly bound GMFB and catalyzed the methylation at lysine (K) 20 and K25 in vitro. Furthermore, we found that the neurodegenerative role of G9a as a GMFB suppressor would mainly rely on methylation of the K25 position of GMFB, and thus G9a pharmacological inhibition removes this methylation promoting neuroprotective effects. Then, our findings confirm an undescribed mechanism by which G9a inhibition acts at two levels, increasing GMFB and regulating its function to promote neuroprotective effects in age-related cognitive decline.