Gordevicius, Juozas, et al. “Epigenetic Inactivation of the Autophagy–Lysosomal System in Appendix in Parkinson’s Disease.” Nature Communications, no. 1, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, Aug. 2021. Crossref, doi:10.1038/s41467-021-25474-x.
The gastrointestinal tract may be a site of origin for α-synuclein pathology in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). Disruption of the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) may contribute to α-synuclein aggregation. Here we examined epigenetic alterations in the ALP in the appendix by deep sequencing DNA methylation at 521 ALP genes. We identified aberrant methylation at 928 cytosines affecting 326 ALP genes in the appendix of individuals with PD and widespread hypermethylation that is also seen in the brain of individuals with PD. In mice, we find that DNA methylation changes at ALP genes induced by chronic gut inflammation are greatly exacerbated by α-synuclein pathology. DNA methylation changes at ALP genes induced by synucleinopathy are associated with the ALP abnormalities observed in the appendix of individuals with PD specifically involving lysosomal genes. Our work identifies epigenetic dysregulation of the ALP which may suggest a potential mechanism for accumulation of α-synuclein pathology in idiopathic PD.