Identification of an antisense transcript to ZIM2 in the primate lineage.
ABSTRACT: In this study, we identified an antisense transcript to ZIM2 (zinc finger imprinted gene 2) in the human, called ZIM2as. Sequence analysis of the 110 kb region spanned by this transcript revealed a cluster of tandemly repeated sequence in the human, orangutan, and chimpanzee as well as a loss of approximately 70 kb from the corresponding region in the rhesus. The homologous region in most mammals contains a cluster of olfactory receptor (OLFR) genes, but this gene cluster has been lost from the primate lineage. Expression analyses confirmed that ZIM2as is expressed in the human brain and testis. Two CpG islands near the promoter region of ZIM2as showed different methylation patterns in these three species. The CpG island distal to ZIM2as showed an allele-specific DNA methylation pattern in the human testis, while the CpG island proximal to the ZIM2as promoter showed a mosaic methylation pattern in the chimpanzee. The methylation status of several nearby zinc finger genes was unchanged among the primates tested. Overall, this study reports the presence of a previously unreported primate-specific antisense transcript in the PEG3 imprinted domain, suggesting that the formation of this transcript may coincide with the loss of the OLFR cluster.
Project description:Imprinted retrotransposed genes share a common genomic organization including a promoter-associated differentially methylated region (DMR) and a position within the intron of a multi-exonic 'host' gene. In the mouse, at least one transcript of the host gene is also subject to genomic imprinting. Human retrogene orthologues are imprinted and we reveal that human host genes are not imprinted. This coincides with genomic rearrangements that occurred during primate evolution, which increase the separation between the retrogene DMRs and the host genes. To address the mechanisms governing imprinted retrogene expression, histone modifications were assayed at the DMRs. For the mouse retrogenes, the active mark H3K4me2 was associated with the unmethylated paternal allele, while the methylated maternal allele was enriched in repressive marks including H3K9me3 and H4K20me3. Two human retrogenes showed monoallelic enrichment of active, but not of repressive marks suggesting a partial uncoupling of the relationship between DNA methylation and repressive histone methylation, possibly due to the smaller size and lower CpG density of these DMRs. Finally, we show that the genes immediately flanking the host genes in mouse and human are biallelically expressed in a range of tissues, suggesting that these loci are distinct from large imprinted clusters.
Project description:Differential DNA methylation plays a critical role in the regulation of imprinted genes. The differentially methylated state of the imprinting control region is inherited via the gametes at fertilization, and is stably maintained in somatic cells throughout development, influencing the expression of genes across the imprinting cluster. In contrast, DNA methylation patterns are more labile at secondary differentially methylated regions which are established at imprinted loci during post-implantation development. To investigate the nature of these more variably methylated secondary differentially methylated regions, we adopted a hairpin linker bisulfite mutagenesis approach to examine CpG dyad methylation at differentially methylated regions associated with the murine Dlk1/Gtl2 imprinting cluster on both complementary strands.We observed homomethylation at greater than 90% of the methylated CpG dyads at the IG-DMR, which serves as the imprinting control element. In contrast, homomethylation was only observed at 67-78% of the methylated CpG dyads at the secondary differentially methylated regions; the remaining 22-33% of methylated CpG dyads exhibited hemimethylation.We propose that this high degree of hemimethylation could explain the variability in DNA methylation patterns at secondary differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted loci. We further suggest that the presence of 5-hydroxymethylation at secondary differentially methylated regions may result in hemimethylation and methylation variability as a result of passive and/or active demethylation mechanisms.
Project description:The human RB1 gene is imprinted due to a differentially methylated CpG island in intron 2. This CpG island is part of PPP1R26P1, a truncated retrocopy of PPP1R26, and serves as a promoter for an alternative RB1 transcript. We show here by in silico analyses that the parental PPP1R26 gene is present in the analysed members of Haplorrhini, which comprise Catarrhini (Old World Monkeys, Small apes, Great Apes and Human), Platyrrhini (New World Monkeys) and tarsier, and Strepsirrhini (galago). Interestingly, we detected the retrocopy, PPP1R26P1, in all Anthropoidea (Catarrhini and Platyrrhini) that we studied but not in tarsier or galago. Additional retrocopies are present in human and chimpanzee on chromosome 22, but their distinct composition indicates that they are the result of independent retrotransposition events. Chimpanzee and marmoset have further retrocopies on chromosome 8 and chromosome 4, respectively. To examine the origin of the RB1 imprint, we compared the methylation patterns of the parental PPP1R26 gene and its retrocopies in different primates (human, chimpanzee, orangutan, rhesus macaque, marmoset and galago). Methylation analysis by deep bisulfite sequencing showed that PPP1R26 is methylated whereas the retrocopy in RB1 intron 2 is differentially methylated in all primates studied. All other retrocopies are fully methylated, except for the additional retrocopy on marmoset chromosome 4, which is also differentially methylated. Using an informative SNP for the methylation analysis in marmoset, we could show that the differential methylation pattern of the retrocopy on chromosome 4 is allele-specific. We conclude that the epigenetic fate of a PPP1R26 retrocopy after integration depends on the DNA sequence and selective forces at the integration site.
Project description:To increase our understanding of imprinting and epigenetic gene regulation, we undertook a search for new imprinted genes. We identified Gatm, a gene that encodes l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of creatine. In mouse, Gatm is expressed during development and is imprinted in the placenta and yolk sac, but not in embryonic tissues. The Gatm gene maps to mouse chromosome 2 in a region not previously shown to contain imprinted genes. To determine whether Gatm is located in a cluster of imprinted genes, we investigated the expression pattern of genes located near Gatm: Duox1-2, Slc28a2, Slc30a4 and a transcript corresponding to LOC214616. We found no evidence that any of these genes is imprinted in placenta. We show that a CpG island associated with Gatm is unmethylated, as is a large CpG island associated with a neighboring gene. This genomic screen for novel imprinted genes has elucidated a new connection between imprinting and creatine metabolism during embryonic development in mammals.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism resulting in parental allele-specific gene expression. Defects in normal imprinting are found in cancer, assisted reproductive technologies, and several human syndromes. In mouse models, germline-derived DNA methylation is shown to regulate imprinting. Though imprinting is largely conserved between mammals, species- and tissue-specific domains of imprinted expression exist. Using the cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) to assess primate-specific imprinting, we present a comprehensive view of tissue-specific imprinted expression and DNA methylation at established imprinted gene clusters. For example, like mouse and unlike human, macaque IGF2R is consistently imprinted, and the PLAGL1, INPP5F transcript variant 2, and PEG3 imprinting control regions are not methylated in the macaque germline but acquire this post-fertilization. Methylome data from human early embryos appear to support this finding. These suggest fundamental differences in imprinting control mechanisms between primate species and rodents at some imprinted domains, with implications for our understanding of the epigenetic programming process in humans and its influence on disease.
Project description:A functional role for DNA methylation has been well-established at imprinted loci, which inherit methylation uniparentally, most commonly from the mother via the oocyte. Many CpG islands not associated with imprinting also inherit methylation from the oocyte, although the functional significance of this, and the common features of the genes affected, are unclear. We identify two major subclasses of genes associated with these gametic differentially methylated regions (gDMRs), namely those important for brain and for testis function. The gDMRs at these genes retain the methylation acquired in the oocyte through preimplantation development, but become fully methylated postimplantation by de novo methylation of the paternal allele. Each gene class displays unique features, with the gDMR located at the promoter of the testis genes but intragenically for the brain genes. Significantly, demethylation using knockout, knockdown or pharmacological approaches in mouse stem cells and fibroblasts resulted in transcriptional derepression of the testis genes, indicating that they may be affected by environmental exposures, in either mother or offspring, that cause demethylation. Features of the brain gene group suggest that they might represent a pool from which many imprinted genes have evolved. The locations of the gDMRs, as well as methylation levels and repression effects, were also conserved in human cells.
Project description:DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification involved in regulatory processes such as cell differentiation during development, X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting and susceptibility to complex disease. However, the dynamics of DNA methylation changes between humans and their closest relatives are still poorly understood. We performed a comparative analysis of CpG methylation patterns between 9 humans and 23 primate samples including all species of great apes (chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla and orangutan) using Illumina Methylation450 bead arrays. Our analysis identified ?800 genes with significantly altered methylation patterns among the great apes, including ?170 genes with a methylation pattern unique to human. Some of these are known to be involved in developmental and neurological features, suggesting that epigenetic changes have been frequent during recent human and primate evolution. We identified a significant positive relationship between the rate of coding variation and alterations of methylation at the promoter level, indicative of co-occurrence between evolution of protein sequence and gene regulation. In contrast, and supporting the idea that many phenotypic differences between humans and great apes are not due to amino acid differences, our analysis also identified 184 genes that are perfectly conserved at protein level between human and chimpanzee, yet show significant epigenetic differences between these two species. We conclude that epigenetic alterations are an important force during primate evolution and have been under-explored in evolutionary comparative genomics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human 15q11-13 is responsible for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) and includes several imprinted genes together with bipartite elements named AS-IC (imprinting center) and PWS-IC. These concertedly confer allele specificity on 15q11-13. Here, we report DNA methylation status of 15q11-13 and other autosomal imprinted differentially methylated regions (iDMRs) in cases with various deletions within the PWS/AS-responsible region. METHODS:We performed array-based methylation analysis and examined the methylation status of CpG sites in 15q11-13 and in 71 iDMRs in six cases with various microdeletions, eight cases with conventional deletions within 15q11-13, and healthy controls. RESULTS:We detected 89 CpGs in 15q11-13 showing significant methylation changes in our cases. Of them, 14 CpGs in the SNORD116s cluster presented slight hypomethylation in the PWS cases and hypermethylation in the AS cases. No iDMRs at regions other than 15q11-13 showed abnormal methylation. CONCLUSIONS:We identified CpG sites and regions in which methylation status is regulated by AS-IC and PWS-IC. This result indicated that each IC had unique functions and coordinately regulated the DNA methylation of respective alleles. In addition, only aberrant methylation at iDMRs in 15q11-13 leads to the development of the phenotypes in our cases.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic process leading to parent-of-origin-specific DNA methylation and gene expression. To date, approximately 60 imprinted human genes are known. Based on genome-wide methylation analysis of a patient with multiple imprinting defects, we have identified a differentially methylated CpG island in intron 2 of the retinoblastoma (RB1) gene on chromosome 13. The CpG island is part of a 5'-truncated, processed pseudogene derived from the KIAA0649 gene on chromosome 9 and corresponds to two small CpG islands in the open reading frame of the ancestral gene. It is methylated on the maternal chromosome 13 and acts as a weak promoter for an alternative RB1 transcript on the paternal chromosome 13. In four other KIAA0649 pseudogene copies, which are located on chromosome 22, the two CpG islands have deteriorated and the CpG dinucleotides are fully methylated. By analysing allelic RB1 transcript levels in blood cells, as well as in hypermethylated and 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine-treated lymphoblastoid cells, we have found that differential methylation of the CpG island skews RB1 gene expression in favor of the maternal allele. Thus, RB1 is imprinted in the same direction as CDKN1C, which operates upstream of RB1. The imprinting of two components of the same pathway indicates that there has been strong evolutionary selection for maternal inhibition of cell proliferation.
Project description:Differential marking of genes in female and male gametes by DNA methylation is essential to genomic imprinting. In female gametes transcription traversing differentially methylated regions (DMRs) is a common requirement for de novo methylation at DMRs. At the imprinted Gnas cluster oocyte specific transcription of a protein-coding transcript, Nesp, is needed for methylation of two DMRs intragenic to Nesp, namely the Nespas-Gnasxl DMR and the Exon1A DMR, thereby enabling expression of the Gnas transcript and repression of the Gnasxl transcript. On the paternal allele, Nesp is repressed, the germline DMRs are unmethylated, Gnas is repressed and Gnasxl is expressed. Using mutant mouse models, we show that on the paternal allele, ectopic transcription of Nesp traversing the intragenic Exon1A DMR (which regulates Gnas expression) results in de novo methylation of the Exon1A DMR and de-repression of Gnas just as on the maternal allele. However, unlike the maternal allele, methylation on the mutant paternal allele occurs post-fertilisation, i.e. in somatic cells. This, to our knowledge is the first example of transcript/transcription driven DNA methylation of an intragenic CpG island, in somatic tissues, suggesting that transcription driven de novo methylation is not restricted to the germline in the mouse. Additionally, Gnasxl is repressed on a paternal chromosome on which Nesp is ectopically expressed. Thus, a paternally inherited Gnas cluster showing ectopic expression of Nesp is "maternalised" in terms of Gnasxl and Gnas expression. We show that these mice have a phenotype similar to mutants with two expressed doses of Gnas and none of Gnasxl.