DNA, the ‘building block of life’, form the basis for human health. Since chemical modifications directly alter DNA, discovering and studying such modifications is key in understanding human brain function, in health and disease.
DNA modifications affecting one DNA base, dC, have been studied extensively for years, revealing fundamental roles in regulating genes, brain function and in human diseases, such as in cancer. Surprisingly, DNA modifications affecting other DNA building blocks have mostly been ignored.
We have independently developed novel approaches to discover novel DNA modifications in vertebrate genomes. As a proof of principle, we discovered a novel DNA modification in vertebrate genomes, called methylated deoxyadenosine, m6dA (Koziol et al., 2015).
This finding opened entirely novel avenues for investigation and pioneered an exciting new area of biology that we are following up in the Koziol Laboratory.
Therefore, in addition to studying this novel DNA modification, methylated deoxyadenosine, which is now known to be important for brain function, the Koziol Laboratory is studying and aiming to discover further novel DNA and RNA modifications and investigate their role in the brain.
Where possible, we explore how our discoveries can be exploited to improve human health.