The 5'-end transitional CpGs between the CpG islands and retroelements are hypomethylated in association with loss of heterozygosity in gastric cancers.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: A loss of heterozygosity (LOH) represents a unilateral chromosomal loss that reduces the dose of highly repetitive Alu, L1, and LTR retroelements. The aim of this study was to determine if the LOH events can affect the spread of retroelement methylation in the 5'-end transitional area between the CpG islands and their nearest retroelements. METHODS: The 5'-transitional area of all human genes (22,297) was measured according to the nearest retroelements to the transcription start sites. For 50 gastric cancer specimens, the level of LOH events on eight cancer-associated chromosomes was estimated using the microsatellite markers, and the 5'-transitional CpGs of 20 selected genes were examined by methylation analysis using the bisulfite-modified DNA. RESULTS: The extent of the transitional area was significantly shorter with the nearest Alu elements than with the nearest L1 and LTR elements, as well as in the extragenic regions containing a higher density of retroelements than in the intragenic regions. The CpG islands neighbouring a high density of Alu elements were consistently hypomethylated in both normal and tumor tissues. The 5'-transitional methylated CpG sites bordered by a low density of Alu elements or the L1 and LTR elements were hypomethylated more frequently in the high-level LOH cases than in the low-level LOH cases. CONCLUSION: The 5'-transitional methylated CpG sites not completely protected by the Alu elements were hypomethylated in association with LOH events in gastric cancers. This suggests that an irreversible unbalanced decrease in the genomic dose reduces the spread of L1 methylation in the 5'-end regions of genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The transitional-CpG sites between weakly methylated genes and densely methylated retroelements are overmethylated in the gastric mucosa infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and they are undermethylated in the gastric cancers depending on the level of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) events. This study delineated the transitional-CpG methylation patterns of CpG-island-containing and -lacking genes in view of the retroelements. METHODS: The transitional-CpG sites of eight CpG-island-containing genes and six CpG-island-lacking genes were semi-quantitatively examined by performing radioisotope-labelling methylation-specific PCR under stringent conditions. The level of LOH in the gastric cancers was estimated using the 40 microsatellite markers on eight cancer-associated chromosomes. Each gene was scored as overmethylated or undermethylated based on an intermediate level of transitional-CpG methylation common in the H. pylori-negative gastric mucosa. RESULTS: The eight CpG-island genes examined were overmethylated depending on the proximity to the nearest retroelement in the H. pylori-positive gastric mucosa. The six CpG-island-lacking genes were similarly methylated in the H. pylori-positive and -negative gastric mucosa. In the gastric cancers, long transitional-CpG segments of the CpG-island genes distant from the retroelements remained overmethylated, whereas the overmethylation of short transitional-CpG segments close to the retroelements was not significant. Both the CpG-island-containing and -lacking genes tended to be decreasingly methylated in a LOH-level-dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS: The overmethylated genes under the influence of retroelement methylation in the H. pylori-infected stomach are demethylated in the gastric cancers influenced by LOH.
Project description:Mobile elements comprise close to one half of the mass of the human genome. Only LINE-1 (L1), an autonomous non-Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) retrotransposon, and its non-autonomous partners-such as the retropseudogenes, SVA, and the SINE, Alu-are currently active human retroelements. Experimental evidence shows that Alu retrotransposition depends on L1 ORF2 protein, which has led to the presumption that LINEs and SINEs share the same basic insertional mechanism. Our data demonstrate clear differences in the time required to generate insertions between marked Alu and L1 elements. In our tissue culture system, the process of L1 insertion requires close to 48 hours. In contrast to the RNA pol II-driven L1, we find that pol III transcribed elements (Alu, the rodent SINE B2, and the 7SL, U6 and hY sequences) can generate inserts within 24 hours or less. Our analyses demonstrate that the observed retrotransposition timing does not dictate insertion rate and is independent of the type of reporter cassette utilized. The additional time requirement by L1 cannot be directly attributed to differences in transcription, transcript length, splicing processes, ORF2 protein production, or the ability of functional ORF2p to reach the nucleus. However, the insertion rate of a marked Alu transcript drastically drops when driven by an RNA pol II promoter (CMV) and the retrotransposition timing parallels that of L1. Furthermore, the "pol II Alu transcript" behaves like the processed pseudogenes in our retrotransposition assay, requiring supplementation with L1 ORF1p in addition to ORF2p. We postulate that the observed differences in retrotransposition kinetics of these elements are dictated by the type of RNA polymerase generating the transcript. We present a model that highlights the critical differences of LINE and SINE transcripts that likely define their retrotransposition timing.
Project description:The human placenta is hypomethylated compared to somatic tissues. However, the degree and specificity of placental hypomethylation across the genome is unclear. We assessed genome-wide methylation of the human placenta and compared it to that of the neutrophil, a representative homogeneous somatic cell. We observed global hypomethylation in placenta (relative reduction of 22%) compared to neutrophils. Placental hypomethylation was pronounced in intergenic regions and gene bodies, while the unmethylated state of the promoter remained conserved in both tissues. For every class of repeat elements, the placenta showed lower methylation but the degree of hypomethylation differed substantially between these classes. However, some retroelements, especially the evolutionarily younger Alu elements, retained high levels of placental methylation. Surprisingly, nonretrotransposon-containing sequences showed a greater degree of placental hypomethylation than retrotransposons in every genomic element (intergenic, introns, and exons) except promoters. The differentially methylated fragments (DMFs) in placenta and neutrophils were enriched in gene-poor and CpG-poor regions. The placentally hypomethylated DMFs were enriched in genomic regions that are usually inactive, whereas hypermethylated DMFs were enriched in active regions. Hypomethylation of the human placenta is not specific to retroelements, indicating that the evolutionary advantages of placental hypomethylation go beyond those provided by expression of retrotransposons and retrogenes.
Project description:DNA methylation, the only known covalent modification of mammalian DNA, occurs primarily in CpG dinucleotides. 51% of CpGs in the human genome reside within repeats, and 25% within Alu elements. Despite that, no method has been reported for large-scale ascertainment of CpG methylation in repeats. Here we describe a sequencing-based strategy for parallel determination of the CpG-methylation status of thousands of Alu repeats, and a computation algorithm to design primers that enable their specific amplification from bisulfite converted genomic DNA. Using a single primer pair, we generated amplicons of high sequence complexity, and derived CpG-methylation data from 31 178 Alu elements and their 5' flanking sequences, altogether representing over 4 Mb of a human cerebellum epigenome. The analysis of the Alu methylome revealed that the methylation level of Alu elements is high in the intronic and intergenic regions, but low in the regions close to transcription start sites. Several hypomethylated Alu elements were identified and their hypomethylated status verified by pyrosequencing. Interestingly, some Alu elements exhibited a strikingly tissue-specific pattern of methylation. We anticipate the amplicons herein described to prove invaluable as epigenome representations, to monitor epigenomic alterations during normal development, in aging and in diseases such as cancer.
Project description:APOBEC3G (A3G) and related deoxycytidine deaminases are potent intrinsic antiretroviral factors. A3G is expressed either as an enzymatically active low-molecular-mass (LMM) form or as an enzymatically inactive high-molecular-mass (HMM) ribonucleoprotein complex. Resting CD4 T cells exclusively express LMM A3G, where it functions as a powerful postentry restriction factor for HIV-1. Activation of CD4 T cells promotes the recruitment of LMM A3G into 5- to 15-MDa HMM complexes whose function is unknown. Using tandem affinity purification techniques coupled with MS, we identified Staufen-containing RNA-transporting granules and Ro ribonucleoprotein complexes as specific components of HMM A3G complexes. Analysis of RNAs in these complexes revealed Alu and small Y RNAs, two of the most prominent nonautonomous mobile genetic elements in human cells. These retroelement RNAs are recruited into Staufen-containing RNA-transporting granules in the presence of A3G. Retrotransposition of Alu and hY RNAs depends on the reverse transcriptase machinery provided by long interspersed nucleotide elements 1 (L1). We now show that A3G greatly inhibits L1-dependent retrotransposition of marked Alu retroelements not by inhibiting L1 function but by sequestering Alu RNAs in cytoplasmic HMM A3G complexes away from the nuclear L1 enzymatic machinery. These findings identify nonautonomous Alu and hY retroelements as natural cellular targets of A3G and highlight how different forms of A3G uniquely protect cells from the threats posed by exogenous retroviruses (LMM A3G) and endogenous retroelements (HMM A3G).
Project description:PURPOSE:Helicobacter pylori infection induces phenotype-stabilizing methylation and promotes gastric mucosal atrophy that can inhibit CpG-island methylation. Relationship between the progression of gastric mucosal atrophy and the initiation of CpG-island methylation was analyzed to delineate epigenetic period for neoplastic transformation. Materials and Methods:Normal-appearing gastric mucosa was biopsied from 110 H. pylori-positive controls, 95 H. pylori-negative controls, 99 gastric cancer patients, and 118 gastric dysplasia patients. Gastric atrophy was assessed using endoscopic-atrophic-border score. Methylation-variable sites of eight CpG-island genes adjacent to Alu (CDH1, ARRDC4, PPARG, and TRAPPC2L) or LTR (MMP2, CDKN2A, RUNX2, and RUNX3) retroelements and stomach-specific TFF3 gene were analyzed using radioisotope-labeled methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS:Mean ages of H. pylori-positive controls with mild, moderate, and severe atrophy were 51, 54, and 65 years and those of H. pylori-associated TFF3 overmethylation at the three atrophic levels (51, 58, and 63 years) tended to be periodic. Alu-adjacent overmethylation (50 years) was earlier than TFF3 overmethylation (58 years) in H. pylori-positive controls with moderate atrophy. Cancer patients with moderate atrophy showed late Alu-adjacent (58 years) overmethylation and frequent LTR-adjacent overmethylation. LTR-adjacent overmethylation was frequent in cancer (66 years) and dysplasia (68 years) patients with severe atrophy. CONCLUSION:Atrophic progression is associated with gastric cancer at moderate level by impeding the initiation of Alu-adjacent methylation. LTR-adjacent methylation is increased in cancer patients and subsequently in dysplasia patients.
Project description:Transitional-CpG methylation between unmethylated promoters and nearby methylated retroelements plays a role in the establishment of tissue-specific transcription. This study examined whether chromosomal losses reducing the active genes in cancers can change transitional-CpG methylation and the transcription activity in a cancer-type-dependent manner. The transitional-CpG sites at the CpG-island margins of nine genes and the non-island-CpG sites round the transcription start sites of six genes lacking CpG islands were examined by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The number of active genes in normal and cancerous tissues of the stomach, colon, breast, and nasopharynx were analyzed using the public data in silico. The CpG-island margins and non-island CpG sites tended to be hypermethylated and hypomethylated in all cancer types, respectively. The CpG-island margins were hypermethylated and a low number of genes were active in the normal stomach compared with other normal tissues. In gastric cancers, the CpG-island margins and non-island-CpG sites were hypomethylated in association with high-level chromosomal losses, and the number of active genes increased. Colon, breast, and nasopharyngeal cancers showed no significant association between the chromosomal losses and methylation changes. These findings suggest that chromosomal losses in gastric cancers are associated with the hypomethylation of the gene-control regions and the increased number of active genes.
Project description:Alu and LINE-1 (L1), which constitute ~11% and ~17% of the human genome, respectively, are transposable non-LTR retroelements. They transpose not only in germ cells but also in somatic cells, occasionally causing cancer. We have previously demonstrated that antiretroviral restriction factors, human APOBEC3 (hA3) proteins (A-H), differentially inhibit L1 retrotransposition. In this present study, we found that hA3 members also restrict Alu retrotransposition at differential levels that correlate with those observed previously for L1 inhibition. Through deletion analyses based on the best-characterized hA3 member human APOBEC3G (hA3G), its N-terminal 30 amino acids were required for its inhibitory activity against Alu retrotransposition. The inhibitory effect of hA3G on Alu retrotransposition was associated with its oligomerization that was affected by the deletion of its N-terminal 30 amino acids. Through structural modeling, the amino acids 24 to 28 of hA3G were predicted to be located at the interface of the dimer. The mutation of these residues resulted in abrogated hA3G oligomerization, and consistently abolished the inhibitory activity of hA3G against Alu retrotransposition. Importantly, the anti-L1 activity of hA3G was also associated with hA3G oligomerization. These results suggest that the inhibitory activities of hA3G against Alu and L1 retrotransposition might involve a common mechanism.
Project description:Cancer cells exhibit multiple epigenetic changes with prominent local DNA hypermethylation and widespread hypomethylation affecting large chromosomal domains. Epigenome studies often disregard the study of repeat elements owing to technical complexity and their undefined role in genome regulation. We have developed NSUMA (Next-generation Sequencing of UnMethylated Alu), a cost-effective approach allowing the unambiguous interrogation of DNA methylation in more than 130,000 individual Alu elements, the most abundant retrotransposon in the human genome. DNA methylation profiles of Alu repeats have been analyzed in colon cancers and normal tissues using NSUMA and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing. Normal cells show a low proportion of unmethylated Alu (1%-4%) that may increase up to 10-fold in cancer cells. In normal cells, unmethylated Alu elements tend to locate in the vicinity of functionally rich regions and display epigenetic features consistent with a direct impact on genome regulation. In cancer cells, Alu repeats are more resistant to hypomethylation than other retroelements. Genome segmentation based on high/low rates of Alu hypomethylation allows the identification of genomic compartments with differential genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic features. Alu hypomethylated regions show low transcriptional activity, late DNA replication, and its extent is associated with higher chromosomal instability. Our analysis demonstrates that Alu retroelements contribute to define the epigenetic landscape of normal and cancer cells and provides a unique resource on the epigenetic dynamics of a principal, but largely unexplored, component of the primate genome.
Project description:Retrotransposons make up over 40% of the mammalian genome. Some copies are still capable of mobilizing and new insertions promote genetic variation. Several members of the APOBEC3 family of DNA cytosine deaminases function to limit the replication of a variety of retroelements, such as the long-terminal repeat (LTR)-containing MusD and Ty1 elements, and that of the non-LTR retrotransposons, L1 and Alu. However, the APOBEC3 genes are limited to mammalian lineages, whereas retrotransposons are far more widespread. This raises the question of what cellular factors control retroelement transposition in species that lack APOBEC3 genes. A strong phylogenetic case can be made that an ancestral activation-induced deaminase (AID)-like gene duplicated and diverged to root the APOBEC3 lineage in mammals. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that present-day AID proteins possess anti-retroelement activity. We found that AID can inhibit the retrotransposition of L1 through a DNA deamination-independent mechanism. This mechanism may manifest in the cytoplasmic compartment co- or posttranslationally. Together with evidence for AID expression in the ovary, our data combined to suggest that AID has innate immune functions in addition to its integral roles in creating antibody diversity.