Epigenetic profiling at mouse imprinted gene clusters reveals novel epigenetic and genetic features at differentially methylated regions.
ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting arises from allele-specific epigenetic modifications that are established during gametogenesis and that are maintained throughout somatic development. These parental-specific modifications include DNA methylation and post-translational modifications to histones, which create allele-specific active and repressive domains at imprinted regions. Through the use of a high-density genomic tiling array, we generated DNA and histone methylation profiles at 11 imprinted gene clusters in the mouse from DNA and from chromatin immunoprecipitated from sperm, heart, and cerebellum. Our analysis revealed that despite high levels of differential DNA methylation at non-CpG islands within these regions, imprinting control regions (ICRs) and secondary differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified by an overlapping pattern of H3K4 trimethylation (active chromatin) and H3K9 trimethylation (repressive chromatin) modifications in somatic tissue, and a sperm differentially methylated region (sDMR; sperm not equal somatic tissue). Using these features as a common signature of DMRs, we identified 11 unique regions that mapped to known imprinted genes, to uncharacterized genes, and to intergenic regions flanking known imprinted genes. A common feature among these regions was the presence of a CpG island and an array of tandem repeats. Collectively, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of DNA methylation and histone H3K4me3 and H3K9me3 modifications at imprinted gene clusters, and identifies common epigenetic and genetic features of regions regulating genomic imprinting.
Project description:Faithful maintenance of genomic imprinting is essential for mammalian development. While germline DNA methylation-dependent (canonical) imprinting is relatively stable during development, the recently found oocyte-derived H3K27me3-mediated noncanonical imprinting is mostly transient in early embryos, with some genes important for placental development maintaining imprinted expression in the extraembryonic lineage. How these noncanonical imprinted genes maintain their extraembryonic-specific imprinting is unknown. Here, we report that maintenance of noncanonical imprinting requires maternal allele-specific de novo DNA methylation [i.e., somatic differentially methylated regions (DMRs)] at implantation. The somatic DMRs are located at the gene promoters, with paternal allele-specific H3K4me3 established during preimplantation development. Genetic manipulation revealed that both maternal EED and zygotic DNMT3A/3B are required for establishing somatic DMRs and maintaining noncanonical imprinting. Thus, our study not only reveals the mechanism underlying noncanonical imprinting maintenance but also sheds light on how histone modifications in oocytes may shape somatic DMRs in postimplantation embryos.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic feature characterized by parent-specific monoallelic gene expression. The aim of this study was to compare the DNA methylation status of imprinted genes and imprinting control regions (ICRs), harboring differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in a comprehensive panel of 18 somatic tissues. The germline DMRs analyzed were divided into ubiquitously imprinted and placenta-specific DMRs, which show identical and different methylation imprints in adult somatic and placental tissues, respectively. We showed that imprinted genes and ICR DMRs maintain methylation patterns characterized by intermediate methylation levels in somatic tissues, which are pronounced in a specific region of the promoter area, located 200-1500 bp from the transcription start site. This intermediate methylation is concordant with gene expression from a single unmethylated allele and silencing of a reciprocal parental allele through DNA methylation. The only exceptions were seen for ICR DMRs of placenta-specific imprinted genes, which showed low levels of methylation, suggesting that these genes escape parent-specific epigenetic regulation in somatic tissues.
Project description:Differential methylation between the two alleles of a gene has been observed in imprinted regions, where the methylation of one allele occurs on a parent-of-origin basis, the inactive X-chromosome in females, and at those loci whose methylation is driven by genetic variants. We have extensively characterized imprinted methylation in a substantial range of normal human tissues, reciprocal genome-wide uniparental disomies, and hydatidiform moles, using a combination of whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and high-density methylation microarrays. This approach allowed us to define methylation profiles at known imprinted domains at base-pair resolution, as well as to identify 21 novel loci harboring parent-of-origin methylation, 15 of which are restricted to the placenta. We observe that the extent of imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs) is extremely similar between tissues, with the exception of the placenta. This extra-embryonic tissue often adopts a different methylation profile compared to somatic tissues. Further, we profiled all imprinted DMRs in sperm and embryonic stem cells derived from parthenogenetically activated oocytes, individual blastomeres, and blastocysts, in order to identify primary DMRs and reveal the extent of reprogramming during preimplantation development. Intriguingly, we find that in contrast to ubiquitous imprints, the majority of placenta-specific imprinted DMRs are unmethylated in sperm and all human embryonic stem cells. Therefore, placental-specific imprinting provides evidence for an inheritable epigenetic state that is independent of DNA methylation and the existence of a novel imprinting mechanism at these loci.
Project description:Imprinted genes are regulated by allele-specific differentially DNA-methylated regions (DMRs). Epigenetic methylation of the CpGs constituting these DMRs is established in the germline, resulting in a 5-methylcytosine-specific pattern that is tightly maintained in somatic tissues. Here, we show a novel epigenetic mark, characterized by strand-specific hemimethylation of contiguous CpG sites affecting the germline DMR of the murine Peg3, but not Snrpn, imprinted domain. This modification is enriched in tetraploid cortical neurons, a cell type where evidence for a small proportion of formylmethylated CpG sites within the Peg3-controlling DMR is also provided. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based transcriptional analysis indicated that these epigenetic modifications participate in the maintainance of the monoallelic expression pattern of the Peg3 imprinted gene. Our results unexpectedly demonstrate that the methylation pattern observed in DMRs controlling defined imprinting regions can be modified in somatic cells, resulting in a novel epigenetic modification that gives rise to strand-specific hemimethylated domains functional for genomic imprinting. We anticipate the existence of a novel molecular mechanism regulating the transition from fully methylated CpGs to strand-specific hemimethylated CpGs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genomic imprinting is an important epigenetic process involved in regulating placental and foetal growth. Imprinted genes are typically associated with differentially methylated regions (DMRs) whereby one of the two alleles is DNA methylated depending on the parent of origin. Identifying imprinted DMRs in humans is complicated by species- and tissue-specific differences in imprinting status and the presence of multiple regulatory regions associated with a particular gene, only some of which may be imprinted. In this study, we have taken advantage of the unbalanced parental genomic constitutions in triploidies to further characterize human DMRs associated with known imprinted genes and identify novel imprinted DMRs. RESULTS: By comparing the promoter methylation status of over 14,000 genes in human placentas from ten diandries (extra paternal haploid set) and ten digynies (extra maternal haploid set) and using 6 complete hydatidiform moles (paternal origin) and ten chromosomally normal placentas for comparison, we identified 62 genes with apparently imprinted DMRs (false discovery rate <0.1%). Of these 62 genes, 11 have been reported previously as DMRs that act as imprinting control regions, and the observed parental methylation patterns were concordant with those previously reported. We demonstrated that novel imprinted genes, such as FAM50B, as well as novel imprinted DMRs associated with known imprinted genes (for example, CDKN1C and RASGRF1) can be identified by using this approach. Furthermore, we have demonstrated how comparison of DNA methylation for known imprinted genes (for example, GNAS and CDKN1C) between placentas of different gestations and other somatic tissues (brain, kidney, muscle and blood) provides a detailed analysis of specific CpG sites associated with tissue-specific imprinting and gestational age-specific methylation. CONCLUSIONS: DNA methylation profiling of triploidies in different tissues and developmental ages can be a powerful and effective way to map and characterize imprinted regions in the genome.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genes subject to genomic imprinting are mono-allelically expressed in a parent-of-origin dependent manner. Each imprinted locus has at least one differentially methylated region (DMR) which has allele specific DNA methylation and contributes to imprinted gene expression. Once DMRs are established, they are potentially able to withstand normal genome reprogramming events that occur during cell differentiation and germ-line DMRs are stably maintained throughout development. These DMRs, in addition to being either maternally or paternally methylated, have differences in whether methylation was acquired in the germ-line or post fertilization and are present in a variety of genomic locations with different Cytosine-phosphate guanine (CpG) densities and CTCF binding capacities. We therefore examined the stability of maintenance of DNA methylation imprints and determined the normal baseline DNA methylation levels in several adult tissues for all imprinted genes. In order to do this, we first developed and validated 50 highly specific, quantitative DNA methylation pyrosequencing assays for the known DMRs associated with human imprinted genes. RESULTS: Remarkable stability of the DNA methylation imprint was observed in all germ-line DMRs and paternally methylated somatic DMRs (which maintained average methylation levels of between 35% - 65% in all somatic tissues, independent of gene expression). Maternally methylated somatic DMRs were found to have more variation with tissue specific methylation patterns. Most DMRs, however, showed some intra-individual variability for DNA methylation levels in peripheral blood, suggesting that more than one DMR needs to be examined in order to get an overall impression of the epigenetic stability in a tissue. The plasticity of DNA methylation at imprinted genes was examined in a panel of normal and cancer cell lines. All cell lines showed changes in DNA methylation, especially at the paternal germ-line and the somatic DMRs. CONCLUSIONS: Our validated pyrosequencing methylation assays can be widely used as a tool to investigate DNA methylation levels of imprinted genes in clinical samples. This first comprehensive analysis of normal methylation levels in adult somatic tissues at human imprinted regions confirm that, despite intra-individual variability and tissue specific expression, imprinted genes faithfully maintain their DNA methylation in healthy adult tissue. DNA methylation levels of a selection of imprinted genes are, therefore, a valuable indicator for epigenetic stability.
Project description:The maternal and paternal copies of the genome are both required for mammalian development, and this is primarily due to imprinted genes, those that are monoallelically expressed based on parent-of-origin. Typically, this pattern of expression is regulated by differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that are established in the germline and maintained after fertilization. There are a large number of germline DMRs that have not yet been associated with imprinting, and their function in development is unknown. In this study, we developed a genome-wide approach to identify novel imprinted DMRs in the human placenta and investigated the dynamics of these imprinted DMRs during development in somatic and extraembryonic tissues. DNA methylation was evaluated using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array in 134 human tissue samples, publicly available reduced representation bisulfite sequencing in the human embryo and germ cells, and targeted bisulfite sequencing in term placentas. Forty-three known and 101 novel imprinted DMRs were identified in the human placenta by comparing methylation between diandric and digynic triploid conceptions in addition to female and male gametes. Seventy-two novel DMRs showed a pattern consistent with placental-specific imprinting, and this monoallelic methylation was entirely maternal in origin. Strikingly, these DMRs exhibited polymorphic imprinted methylation between placental samples. These data suggest that imprinting in human development is far more extensive and dynamic than previously reported and that the placenta preferentially maintains maternal germline-derived DNA methylation.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is an allele-specific gene expression system that is important for mammalian development and function. The molecular basis of genomic imprinting is allele-specific DNA methylation. Although it is well known that the de novo DNA methyltransferases Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b are responsible for the establishment of genomic imprinting, how the methylation mark is erased during primordial germ cell (PGC) reprogramming remains unclear. Tet1 is one of the ten-eleven translocation family proteins, which have the capacity to oxidize 5-methylcytosine (5mC), specifically expressed in reprogramming PGCs. Here we report that Tet1 has a critical role in the erasure of genomic imprinting. We show that despite their identical genotype, progenies derived from mating between Tet1 knockout males and wild-Peg10 and Peg3, which exhibit aberrant hypermethylation in the paternal allele of differential methylated regions (DMRs). RNA-seq reveals extensive dysregulation of imprinted genes in the next generation due to paternal loss of Tet1 function. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of embryonic day 13.5 PGCs and sperm of Tet1 knockout mice revealed hypermethylation of DMRs of imprinted genes in sperm, which can be traced back to PGCs. Analysis of the DNA methylation dynamics in reprogramming PGCs indicates that Tet1 functions to wipe out remaining methylation, including imprinted genes, at the late reprogramming stage. Furthermore, we provide evidence supporting the role of Tet1 in the erasure of paternal imprints in the female germ line. Thus, our study establishes a critical function of Tet1 in the erasure of genomic imprinting.
Project description:A paternally methylated imprinting control region (ICR) directs allele-specific expression of the imprinted H19 and Igf2 genes. CTCF protein binding in the ICR is required in the maternal chromosome for insulating Igf2 from the shared enhancers, initiation of the H19 promoter transcription, maintaining DNA hypomethylation, and chromosome loop formation. Using novel quantitative allele-specific chromatin immunoprecipitation-single-nucleotide primer extension assays, we measured the chromatin composition along the H19/Igf2 imprinted domain in cells with engineered mutations at the four ICR-CTCF binding sites. Abolishing CTCF binding in the ICR reduced normally maternal allele-specific H3K9 acetylation and H3K4 methylation at the H19 ICR and promoter/gene body and maternal allele-specific H3K27 trimethylation at the Igf2 P2 promoter and Igf2 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Paternal H3K27 trimethylation and macroH2A1 became biallelic in the mutant cells at the H19 promoter while paternal H3K9 acetylation and H3K4 methylation became biallelic at the Igf2 DMRs. We provide evidence that CTCF is the single major organizer of allele-specific chromatin composition in this domain. This finding has important implications: (i) for mechanisms of insulation since CTCF regulates chromatin at a distance, involving repression by H3K27 trimethylation at the Igf2 locus independently of repression by DNA hypermethylation; and (ii) for mechanisms of genomic imprinting since point mutations of CTCF binding sites cause domain-wide "paternalization" of the maternal allele's chromatin composition.
Project description:Genomic imprinting requires the differential marking by DNA methylation of genes in male and female gametes. In the female germline, acquisition of methylation imprint marks depends upon the de novo methyltransferase Dnmt3a and its cofactor Dnmt3L, but the reasons why specific sequences are targets for Dnmt3a and Dnmt3L are still poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of transcription in establishing maternal germline methylation marks. We show that at the Gnas locus, truncating transcripts from the furthest upstream Nesp promoter disrupts oocyte-derived methylation of the differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Transcription through DMRs in oocytes is not restricted to this locus but occurs across the prospective DMRs at many other maternally marked imprinted domains, suggesting a common requirement for transcription events. The transcripts implicated here in gametic methylation are protein-coding, in contrast to the noncoding antisense transcripts involved in the monoallelic silencing of imprinted genes in somatic tissues, although they often initiate from alternative promoters in oocytes. We propose that transcription is a third essential component of the de novo methylation system, which includes optimal CpG spacing and histone modifications, and may be required to create or maintain open chromatin domains to allow the methylation complex access to its preferred targets.