Allelic skewing of DNA methylation is widespread across the genome.
ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is assumed to be complementary on both alleles across the genome, although there are exceptions, notably in regions subject to genomic imprinting. We present a genome-wide survey of the degree of allelic skewing of DNA methylation with the aim of identifying previously unreported differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated primarily with genomic imprinting or DNA sequence variation acting in cis. We used SNP microarrays to quantitatively assess allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) in amplicons covering 7.6% of the human genome following cleavage with a cocktail of methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes (MSREs). Selected findings were verified using bisulfite-mapping and gene-expression analyses, subsequently tested in a second tissue from the same individuals, and replicated in DNA obtained from 30 parent-child trios. Our approach detected clear examples of ASM in the vicinity of known imprinted loci, highlighting the validity of the method. In total, 2,704 (1.5%) of our 183,605 informative and stringently filtered SNPs demonstrate an average relative allele score (RAS) change > or =0.10 following MSRE digestion. In agreement with previous reports, the majority of ASM ( approximately 90%) appears to be cis in nature, and several examples of tissue-specific ASM were identified. Our data show that ASM is a widespread phenomenon, with >35,000 such sites potentially occurring across the genome, and that a spectrum of ASM is likely, with heterogeneity between individuals and across tissues. These findings impact our understanding about the origin of individual phenotypic differences and have implications for genetic studies of complex disease.
Project description:While DNA methylation is usually thought to be symmetrical across both alleles, there are some notable exceptions. Genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation are two well-studied sources of allele-specific methylation (ASM), but recent research has indicated a more complex pattern in which genotypic variation can be associated with allelically-skewed DNA methylation in cis. Given the known heterogeneity of DNA methylation across tissues and cell types we explored inter- and intra-individual variation in ASM across several regions of the human brain and whole blood from multiple individuals. Consistent with previous studies, we find widespread ASM with > 4% of the ?220,000 loci interrogated showing evidence of allelically-skewed DNA methylation. We identify ASM flanking known imprinted regions, and show that ASM sites are enriched in DNase I hypersensitivity sites and often located in an extended genomic context of intermediate DNA methylation. We also detect examples of genotype-driven ASM, some of which are tissue-specific. These findings contribute to our understanding of the nature of differential DNA methylation across tissues and have important implications for genetic studies of complex disease. As a resource to the community, ASM patterns across each of the tissues studied are available in a searchable online database: http://epigenetics.essex.ac.uk/ASMBrainBlood.
Project description:Allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) and allele-specific gene expression (ASE) have long been studied in genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. But these types of allelic asymmetries, along with allele-specific transcription factor binding (ASTF), have turned out to be far more pervasive-affecting many non-imprinted autosomal genes in normal human tissues. ASM, ASE and ASTF have now been mapped genome-wide by microarray-based methods and NextGen sequencing. Multiple studies agree that all three types of allelic asymmetries, as well as the related phenomena of expression and methylation quantitative trait loci, are mostly accounted for by cis-acting regulatory polymorphisms. The precise mechanisms by which this occurs are not yet understood, but there are some testable hypotheses and already a few direct clues. Future challenges include achieving higher resolution maps to locate the epicenters of cis-regulated ASM, using this information to test mechanistic models, and applying genome-wide maps of ASE/ASM/ASTF to pinpoint functional regulatory polymorphisms influencing disease susceptibility.
Project description:DNA methylation mediates imprinted gene expression by passing an epigenomic state across generations and differentially marking specific regulatory regions on maternal and paternal alleles. Imprinting has been tied to the evolution of the placenta in mammals and defects of imprinting have been associated with human diseases. Although recent advances in genome sequencing have revolutionized the study of DNA methylation, existing methylome data remain largely untapped in the study of imprinting. We present a statistical model to describe allele-specific methylation (ASM) in data from high-throughput short-read bisulfite sequencing. Simulation results indicate technical specifications of existing methylome data, such as read length and coverage, are sufficient for full-genome ASM profiling based on our model. We used our model to analyze methylomes for a diverse set of human cell types, including cultured and uncultured differentiated cells, embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. Regions of ASM identified most consistently across methylomes are tightly connected with known imprinted genes and precisely delineate the boundaries of several known imprinting control regions. Predicted regions of ASM common to multiple cell types frequently mark noncoding RNA promoters and represent promising starting points for targeted validation. More generally, our model provides the analytical complement to cutting-edge experimental technologies for surveying ASM in specific cell types and across species.
Project description:Differential methylation of the two parental genomes in placental mammals is essential for genomic imprinting and embryogenesis. To systematically study this epigenetic process, we have generated a base-resolution, allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) map in the mouse genome. We find parent-of-origin dependent (imprinted) ASM at 1,952 CG dinucleotides. These imprinted CGs form 55 discrete clusters including virtually all known germline differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and 23 previously unknown DMRs, with some occurring at microRNA genes. We also identify sequence-dependent ASM at 131,765 CGs. Interestingly, methylation at these sites exhibits a strong dependence on the immediate adjacent bases, allowing us to define a conserved sequence preference for the mammalian DNA methylation machinery. Finally, we report a surprising presence of non-CG methylation in the adult mouse brain, with some showing evidence of imprinting. Our results provide a resource for understanding the mechanisms of imprinting and allele-specific gene expression in mammalian cells.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Allele-specific methylation (ASM) occurs when DNA methylation patterns exhibit asymmetry among alleles. ASM occurs at imprinted loci, but its presence elsewhere across the human genome is indicative of wider importance in terms of gene regulation and disease risk. Here, we studied ASM by focusing on blood-based DNA collected from 24 subjects comprising a 3-generation pedigree from the Norfolk Island genetic isolate. We applied a genome-wide bisulphite sequencing approach with a genotype-independent ASM calling method to map ASM across the genome. Regions of ASM were then tested for enrichment at gene regulatory regions using Genomic Association Test (GAT) tool.<h4>Results</h4>In total, we identified 1.12 M CpGs of which 147,170 (13%) exhibited ASM (P???0.05). When including contiguous ASM signal spanning???2 CpGs, this condensed to 12,761 ASM regions (AMRs). These AMRs tagged 79% of known imprinting regions and most (98.1%) co-localised with known single nucleotide variants. Notably, miRNA and lncRNA showed a 3.3- and 1.8-fold enrichment of AMRs, respectively (P?<?0.005). Also, the 5' UTR and start codons each showed a 3.5-fold enrichment of AMRs (P?<?0.005). There was also enrichment of AMRs observed at subtelomeric regions of many chromosomes. Five out of 11 large AMRs localised to the protocadherin cluster on chromosome 5.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study shows ASM extends far beyond genomic imprinting in humans and that gene regulatory regions are hotspots for ASM. Future studies of ASM in pedigrees should help to clarify transgenerational inheritance patterns in relation to genotype and disease phenotypes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:DNA methylation is a highly studied epigenetic signature that is associated with regulation of gene expression, whereby genes with high levels of promoter methylation are generally repressed. Genomic imprinting occurs when one of the parental alleles is methylated, i.e., when there is inherited allele-specific methylation (ASM). A special case of imprinting occurs during X chromosome inactivation in females, where one of the two X chromosomes is silenced, to achieve dosage compensation between the sexes. Another more widespread form of ASM is sequence dependent (SD-ASM), where ASM is linked to a nearby heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). RESULTS:We developed a method to screen for genomic regions that exhibit loss or gain of ASM in samples from two conditions (treatments, diseases, etc.). The method relies on the availability of bisulfite sequencing data from multiple samples of the two conditions. We leverage other established computational methods to screen for these regions within a new R package called DAMEfinder. It calculates an ASM score for all CpG sites or pairs in the genome of each sample, and then quantifies the change in ASM between conditions. It then clusters nearby CpG sites with consistent change into regions. In the absence of SNP information, our method relies only on reads to quantify ASM. This novel ASM score compares favorably to current methods that also screen for ASM. Not only does it easily discern between imprinted and non-imprinted regions, but also females from males based on X chromosome inactivation. We also applied DAMEfinder to a colorectal cancer dataset and observed that colorectal cancer subtypes are distinguishable according to their ASM signature. We also re-discover known cases of loss of imprinting. CONCLUSION:We have designed DAMEfinder to detect regions of differential ASM (DAMEs), which is a more refined definition of differential methylation, and can therefore help in breaking down the complexity of DNA methylation and its influence in development and disease.
Project description:Genetic polymorphisms can shape the global landscape of DNA methylation, by either changing substrates for DNA methyltransferases or altering the DNA binding affinity of cis-regulatory proteins. The interactions between CpG methylation and genetic polymorphisms have been previously investigated by methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTL) and allele-specific methylation (ASM) analysis. However, it remains unclear whether these approaches can effectively and comprehensively identify all genetic variants that contribute to the inter-individual variation of DNA methylation levels. Here we used three independent approaches to systematically investigate the influence of genetic polymorphisms on variability in DNA methylation by characterizing the methylation state of 96 whole blood samples in 52 parent-child trios from 22 nuclear pedigrees. We performed targeted bisulfite sequencing with padlock probes to quantify the absolute DNA methylation levels at a set of 411,800 CpG sites in the human genome. With mid-parent offspring analysis (MPO), we identified 10,593 CpG sites that exhibited heritable methylation patterns, among which 70.1% were SNPs directly present in methylated CpG dinucleotides. We determined the mQTL analysis identified 49.9% of heritable CpG sites for which regulation occurred in a distal cis-regulatory manner, and that ASM analysis was only able to identify 5%. Finally, we identified hundreds of clusters in the human genome for which the degree of variation of CpG methylation, as opposed to whether or not CpG sites were methylated, was associated with genetic polymorphisms, supporting a recent hypothesis on the genetic influence of phenotypic plasticity. These results show that cis-regulatory SNPs identified by mQTL do not comprise the full extent of heritable CpG methylation, and that ASM appears overall unreliable. Overall, the extent of genome-methylome interactions is well beyond what is detectible with the commonly used mQTL and ASM approaches, and is likely to include effects on plasticity.
Project description:We previously identified sequence-dependent allele-specific methylation (sd-ASM) in adult human peripheral blood leukocytes, in which ASM occurs in cis depending on adjacent polymorphic sequences. A number of groups have identified sd-ASM sites in the human and mouse genomes, illustrating the prevalence of sd-ASM in mammalian genomes. In addition, sd-ASM can lead to sequence-dependent allele-specific expression of neighbouring genes. Imprinted genes also often exhibit parent-of-origin-dependent allele-specific methylation (pd-ASM), which causes parent-of-origin-dependent allele-specific expression. However, whether most of the already known sd-ASM and pd-ASM sites are methylated or hydroxymethylated remains unclear due to technical restrictions. Accordingly, a novel method that enables examination of allelic methylation and hydroxymethylation status and also overcomes the drawbacks of conventional methods is needed. Such a method could also be used to elucidate the mechanisms underlying polymorphism-associated inter-individual differences in disease susceptibility and the mechanism of genomic imprinting. Here, we developed a simple method to determine allelic hydroxymethylation status and identified novel sequence- and parent-of-origin-dependent allele-specific hydroxymethylation sites. Correlation analyses of TF binding sequences and methylation or hydroxymethylation between three mouse strains revealed the involvement of Pax5 in strain-specific methylation and hydroxymethylation in exon 7 of Pdgfrb.
Project description:We hypothesize that the phenomenon of allele-specific methylation (ASM) may underlie the phenotypic effects of multiple variants identified by Genome-Wide Association studies (GWAS). We evaluate ASM in a human population and document its genome-wide patterns in an initial screen at up to 380,678 sites within the genome, or up to 5% of the total genomic CpGs. We show that while substantial inter-individual variation exists, 5% of assessed sites show evidence of ASM in at least six samples; the majority of these events (81%) are under genetic influence. Many of these cis-regulated ASM variants are also eQTLs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and monocytes and/or in high linkage-disequilibrium with variants linked to complex disease. Finally, focusing on autoimmune phenotypes, we extend this initial screen to confirm the association of cis-regulated ASM with multiple complex disease-associated variants in an independent population using next-generation bisulfite sequencing. These four variants are implicated in complex phenotypes such as ulcerative colitis and AIDS progression disease (rs10491434), Celiac disease (rs2762051), Crohn's disease, IgA nephropathy and early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (rs713875) and height (rs6569648). Our results suggest cis-regulated ASM may provide a mechanistic link between the non-coding genetic changes and phenotypic variation observed in these diseases and further suggests a route to integrating DNA methylation status with GWAS results.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has an unknown etiology; however, accumulating evidence suggests that IBD is a multifactorial disease influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The influence of genetic variants on DNA methylation in cis and cis effects on expression have been demonstrated. We hypothesized that IBD susceptibility single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) regulate susceptibility gene expressions in cis by regulating DNA methylation around SNPs. For this, we determined cis-regulated allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) around IBD susceptibility genes in CD4+ effector/memory T cells (Tem) in lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMCs) in patients with IBD and examined the association between the ASM SNP genotype and neighboring susceptibility gene expressions. METHODS:CD4+ effector/memory T cells (Tem) were isolated from LPMCs in 15 Japanese IBD patients (ten Crohn's disease [CD] and five ulcerative colitis [UC] patients). ASM analysis was performed by methylation-sensitive SNP array analysis. We defined ASM as a changing average relative allele score ([Formula: see text]) >0.1 after digestion by methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes. Among SNPs showing [Formula: see text] >0.1, we extracted the probes located on tag-SNPs of 200 IBD susceptibility loci and around IBD susceptibility genes as candidate ASM SNPs. To validate ASM, bisulfite-pyrosequencing was performed. Transcriptome analysis was examined in 11 IBD patients (seven CD and four UC patients). The relation between rs36221701 genotype and neighboring gene expressions were analyzed. RESULTS:We extracted six candidate ASM SNPs around IBD susceptibility genes. The top of [Formula: see text] (0.23) was rs1130368 located on HLA-DQB1. ASM around rs36221701 ([Formula: see text] = 0.14) located near SMAD3 was validated using bisulfite pyrosequencing. The SMAD3 expression was significantly associated with the rs36221701 genotype (p = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS:We confirmed the existence of cis-regulated ASM around IBD susceptibility genes and the association between ASM SNP (rs36221701) genotype and SMAD3 expression, a susceptibility gene for IBD. These results give us supporting evidence that DNA methylation mediates genetic effects on disease susceptibility.