Imprinting-mutation mechanisms in Prader-Willi syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Microdeletions of a region termed the "imprinting center" (IC) in chromosome 15q11-q13 have been identified in several families with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) or Angelman syndrome who show epigenetic inheritance for this region that is consistent with a mutation in the imprinting process. The IC controls resetting of parental imprints in 15q11-q13 during gametogenesis. We have identified a larger series of cases of familial PWS, including one case with a deletion of only 7.5 kb, that narrows the PWS critical region to <4. 3 kb spanning the SNRPN gene CpG island and exon 1. Identification of a strong DNase I hypersensitive site, specific for the paternal allele, and six evolutionarily conserved (human-mouse) sequences that are potential transcription-factor binding sites is consistent with this region defining the SNRPN gene promoter. These findings suggest that promoter elements at SNRPN play a key role in the initiation of imprint switching during spermatogenesis. We also identified three patients with sporadic PWS who have an imprinting mutation (IM) and no detectable mutation in the IC. An inherited 15q11-q13 mutation or a trans-factor gene mutation are unlikely; thus, the disease in these patients may arise from a developmental or stochastic failure to switch the maternal-to-paternal imprint during parental spermatogenesis. These studies allow a better understanding of a novel mechanism of human disease, since the epigenetic effect of an IM in the parental germ line determines the phenotypic effect in the patient.
Project description:Angelman syndrome, Prader-Will syndrome and Dup15q syndrome map to a cluster of imprinted genes located at 15q11-q13. Imprinting at this domain is regulated by an imprinting control region consisting of two distinct elements, the Angelman syndrome imprinting center (AS-IC) and the Prader-Willi syndrome imprinting center (PWS-IC). Individuals inheriting deletions of the AS-IC exhibit reduced expression of the maternally expressed UBE3A gene and biallelic expression of paternal-only genes. We have previously demonstrated that AS-IC activity partly consists of providing transcription across the PWS-IC in oocytes, and that these transcripts are necessary for maternal imprinting of Snrpn. Here we report a novel mouse mutation that truncates transcripts prior to transiting the PWS-IC and results in a domain-wide imprinting defect. These results confirm a transcription-based model for imprint setting at this domain. The imprinting defect can be preempted by removal of the transcriptional block in oocytes, but not by its removal in early embryos. Imprinting defect mice exhibit several traits often found in individuals with Angelman syndrome imprinting defects.
Project description:Imprinting in 15q11-q13 is controlled by a bipartite imprinting center (IC), which maps to the SNURF-SNRPN locus. Deletions of the exon 1 region impair the establishment or maintenance of the paternal imprint and can cause Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Deletions of a region 35 kb upstream of exon 1 impair maternal imprinting and can cause Angelman syndrome (AS). So far, in all affected sibs with an imprinting defect, an inherited IC deletion was identified. We report on two sibs with AS who do not have an IC deletion but instead have a 1-1.5 Mb inversion separating the two IC elements. The inversion is transmitted silently through the male germline but impairs maternal imprinting after transmission through the female germline. Our findings suggest that the close proximity and/or the correct orientation of the two IC elements are/is necessary for the establishment of a maternal imprint.
Project description:Duplication of chromosome 15q11-q13 (dup15q) accounts for approximately 3% of autism cases. Chromosome 15q11-q13 contains imprinted genes necessary for normal mammalian neurodevelopment controlled by a differentially methylated imprinting center (imprinting center of the Prader-Willi locus, PWS-IC). Maternal dup15q occurs as both interstitial duplications and isodicentric chromosome 15. Overexpression of the maternally expressed gene UBE3A is predicted to be the primary cause of the autistic features associated with dup15q. Previous analysis of two postmortem dup15q frontal cortical samples showed heterogeneity between the two cases, with one showing levels of the GABAA receptor genes, UBE3A and SNRPN in a manner not predicted by copy number or parental imprint.Postmortem human brain tissue (Brodmann area 19, extrastriate visual cortex) was obtained from 8 dup15q, 10 idiopathic autism and 21 typical control tissue samples. Quantitative PCR was used to confirm duplication status. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analyses were performed to measure 15q11-q13 transcript and protein levels, respectively. Methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting-curve analysis was performed on brain genomic DNA to identify the maternal:paternal ratio of methylation at PWS-IC.Dup15q brain samples showed a higher level of PWS-IC methylation than control or autism samples, indicating that dup15q was maternal in origin. UBE3A transcript and protein levels were significantly higher than control and autism in dup15q, as expected, although levels were variable and lower than expected based on copy number in some samples. In contrast, this increase in copy number did not result in consistently increased GABRB3 transcript or protein levels for dup15q samples. Furthermore, SNRPN was expected to be unchanged in expression in dup15q because it is expressed from the single unmethylated paternal allele, yet SNRPN levels were significantly reduced in dup15q samples compared to controls. PWS-IC methylation positively correlated with UBE3A and GABRB3 levels but negatively correlated with SNRPN levels. Idiopathic autism samples exhibited significantly lower GABRB3 and significantly more variable SNRPN levels compared to controls.Although these results show that increased UBE3A/UBE3A is a consistent feature of dup15q syndrome, they also suggest that gene expression within 15q11-q13 is not based entirely on copy number but can be influenced by epigenetic mechanisms in brain.
Project description:Imprinting, non-coding RNA and chromatin organization are modes of epigenetic regulation that modulate gene expression and are necessary for mammalian neurodevelopment. The only two known mammalian clusters of genes encoding small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), SNRPN through UBE3A(15q11-q13/7qC) and GTL2(14q32.2/12qF1), are neuronally expressed, localized to imprinted loci and involved in at least five neurodevelopmental disorders. Deficiency of the paternal 15q11-q13 snoRNA HBII-85 locus is necessary to cause the neurodevelopmental disorder Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Here we show epigenetically regulated chromatin decondensation at snoRNA clusters in human and mouse brain. An 8-fold allele-specific decondensation of snoRNA chromatin was developmentally regulated specifically in maturing neurons, correlating with HBII-85 nucleolar accumulation and increased nucleolar size. Reciprocal mouse models revealed a genetic and epigenetic requirement of the 35 kb imprinting center (IC) at the Snrpn-Ube3a locus for transcriptionally regulated chromatin decondensation. PWS human brain and IC deletion mouse Purkinje neurons showed significantly decreased nucleolar size, demonstrating the essential role of the 15q11-q13 HBII-85 locus in neuronal nucleolar maturation. These results are relevant to understanding the molecular pathogenesis of multiple human neurodevelopmental disorders, including PWS and some causes of autism.
Project description:The Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and the Angelman syndrome (AS) are caused by the loss of function of imprinted genes in proximal 15q. In approximately 2%-4% of patients, this loss of function is due to an imprinting defect. In some cases, the imprinting defect is the result of a parental imprint-switch failure caused by a microdeletion of the imprinting center (IC). Here we describe the molecular analysis of 13 PWS patients and 17 AS patients who have an imprinting defect but no IC deletion. Heteroduplex and partial sequence analysis did not reveal any point mutations of the known IC elements, either. Interestingly, all of these patients represent sporadic cases, and some share the paternal (PWS) or the maternal (AS) 15q11-q13 haplotype with an unaffected sib. In each of five PWS patients informative for the grandparental origin of the incorrectly imprinted chromosome region and four cases described elsewhere, the maternally imprinted paternal chromosome region was inherited from the paternal grandmother. This suggests that the grandmaternal imprint was not erased in the father's germ line. In seven informative AS patients reported here and in three previously reported patients, the paternally imprinted maternal chromosome region was inherited from either the maternal grandfather or the maternal grandmother. The latter finding is not compatible with an imprint-switch failure, but it suggests that a paternal imprint developed either in the maternal germ line or postzygotically. We conclude (1) that the incorrect imprint in non-IC-deletion cases is the result of a spontaneous prezygotic or postzygotic error, (2) that these cases have a low recurrence risk, and (3) that the paternal imprint may be the default imprint.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) are neurogenetic disorders that are caused by the loss of function of imprinted genes in 15q11-q13. In a small group of patients, the disease is due to aberrant imprinting and gene silencing. Here, we describe the molecular analysis of 51 patients with PWS and 85 patients with AS who have such a defect. Seven patients with PWS (14%) and eight patients with AS (9%) were found to have an imprinting center (IC) deletion. Sequence analysis of 32 patients with PWS and no IC deletion and 66 patients with AS and no IC deletion did not reveal any point mutation in the critical IC elements. The presence of a faint methylated band in 27% of patients with AS and no IC deletion suggests that these patients are mosaic for an imprinting defect that occurred after fertilization. In patients with AS, the imprinting defect occurred on the chromosome that was inherited from either the maternal grandfather or grandmother; however, in all informative patients with PWS and no IC deletion, the imprinting defect occurred on the chromosome inherited from the paternal grandmother. These data suggest that this imprinting defect results from a failure to erase the maternal imprint during spermatogenesis.
Project description:The Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)/Angelman syndrome (AS) region, on human chromosome 15q11-q13, exemplifies coordinate control of imprinted gene expression over a large chromosomal domain. Establishment of the paternal state of the region requires the PWS imprinting center (PWS-IC); establishment of the maternal state requires the AS-IC. Cytosine methylation of the PWS-IC, which occurs during oogenesis in mice, occurs only after fertilization in humans, so this modification cannot be the gametic imprint for the PWS/AS region in humans. Here, we demonstrate that the PWS-IC shows parent-specific complementary patterns of H3 lysine 9 (Lys9) and H3 lysine 4 (Lys4) methylation. H3 Lys9 is methylated on the maternal copy of the PWS-IC, and H3 Lys4 is methylated on the paternal copy. We suggest that H3 Lys9 methylation is a candidate maternal gametic imprint for this region, and we show how changes in chromatin packaging during the life cycle of mammals provide a means of erasing such an imprint in the male germline.
Project description:To examine the chromatin basis of imprinting in chromosome 15q11-q13, we have investigated the status of histone acetylation of the SNURF-SNRPN locus, which is a key imprinted gene locus in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies revealed that the unmethylated CpG island of the active, paternally derived allele of SNURF-SNRPN was associated with acetylated histones, whereas the methylated maternally derived, inactive allele was specifically hypoacetylated. The body of the SNURF-SNRPN gene was associated with acetylated histones on both alleles. Furthermore, treatment of PWS cells with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azadeoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) induced demethylation of the SNURF-SNRPN CpG island and restoration of gene expression on the maternal allele. The reactivation was associated with increased H4 acetylation but not with H3 acetylation at the SNURF-SNRPN CpG island. These findings indicate that (1) a significant role for histone deacetylation in gene silencing is associated with imprinting in 15q11-q13 and (2) silenced genes in PWS can be reactivated by drug treatment.
Project description:Polycistronic transcripts are common in prokaryotes but rare in eukaryotes. Phylogenetic analysis of the SNRPN (SmN) mRNA in five eutherian mammals reveals a second highly conserved coding sequence, termed SNURF (SNRPN upstream reading frame). The vast majority of nucleotide substitutions in SNURF occur in the wobble codon position, providing strong evolutionary evidence for selection for protein-coding function. Because SNURF-SNRPN maps to human chromosome 15q11-q13 and is paternally expressed, each cistron is a candidate for a role in the imprinted Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and PWS mouse models. SNURF encodes a highly basic 71-aa protein that is nuclear-localized (as is SmN). Because SNURF is the only protein-coding sequence within the imprinting regulatory region in 15q11-q13, it may have provided the original selection for imprinting in this domain. Whereas some human tissues express a minor SNURF-only transcript, mouse tissues express only the bicistronic Snurf-Snrpn transcript. We show that both SNURF and SNRPN are translated in normal, but not PWS, human, and mouse tissues and cell lines. These findings identify SNURF as a protein that is produced along with SmN from a bicistronic transcript; polycistronic mRNAs therefore are encoded in mammalian genomes where they may form functional operons.
Project description:Deletions and other abnormalities of human chromosome 15q11-q13 are associated with two developmental disorders, Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS). Loss of expression of imprinted, paternally expressed genes has been implicated in PWS. However, the number of imprinted genes that contribute to PWS, and the range over which the imprinting signal acts to silence one copy of the gene in a parent-of-origin-specific manner, are unknown. To identify additional imprinted genes that could contribute to the PWS phenotype and to understand the regional control of imprinting in 15q11-q13, we have constructed an imprinted transcript map of the PWS-AS deletion interval. The imprinting status of 22 expressed sequence tags derived from the radiation-hybrid human transcript maps or physical maps was determined in a reverse transcriptase-PCR assay and correlated with the position of the transcripts on the physical map. Seven new paternally expressed transcripts localize to an approximately 1.5-Mb domain surrounding the SNRPN-associated imprinting center, which already includes four imprinted, paternally expressed genes. All other tested new transcripts in the deletion region were expressed from both alleles. A domain of exclusive paternal expression surrounding the imprinting center suggests strong regional control of the imprinting process. This study provides the means for further investigation of additional genes that cause or modify the phenotypes associated with rearrangements of 15q11-q13.