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Environmental Epigenetics

My research also examines how our environment and lifestyle impacts the epigenome. My work is highly collaborative work and has incorporated analysis of the nuclear and mitochondrial epigenomes by both gene-specific and epigenome-wide approaches.

The impact of our environment and lifestyle
Our work examining the impact of morphine exposure on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA methylation in ten regions of the rat brain demonstrated localised changes in key genes such as Bdnf, Comt, Nr3c1, and Il1b (Barrow et al, 2017, Epigenetics).

Our work on the impact of dietary intervention upon epigenetic models of ageing demonstrated an affect of folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation that is dependent upon MTHFR genotype (Sae-Lee et al, 2018, Mol Nutr Food Res).

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RNA modifications - the 'epitranscriptome'

There is increasing interest in RNA modifications, such as m6A and m5C methylation.

My collaboration with Dr Akin Cayir (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey) provided the first evidence that our environmental exposures can affect the 'epitranscriptome'. We demonstrated that A549 cells exposed to particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5), sodium arsenite, bisphenol A (BPA) and vinclozolin show global losses of m6A, and that exposure to PM2.5 dysregulates expression of RNA methylation modulator genes such as METTL3 and FTO.

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