Epigenetic regulation by RARα maintains ligand-independent transcriptional activity.
ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) α, β and γ are key regulators of embryonic development. Hematopoietic differentiation is regulated by RARα, and several types of leukemia show aberrant RARα activity. Through microarray expression analysis, we identified transcripts differentially expressed between F9 wild-type (Wt) and RARα knockout cells cultured in the absence or presence of the RAR-specific ligand all trans retinoic acid (RA). We validated the decreased Mest, Tex13, Gab1, Bcl11a, Tcfap2a and HMGcs1 transcript levels, and increased Slc38a4, Stmn2, RpL39l, Ref2L, Mobp and Rlf1 transcript levels in the RARa knockout cells. The decreased Mest and Tex13 transcript levels were associated with increased promoter CpG-island methylation and increased repressive histone modifications (H3K9me3) in RARα knockout cells. Increased Slc38a4 and Stmn2 transcript levels were associated with decreased promoter CpG-island methylation and increased permissive histone modifications (H3K9/K14ac, H3K4me3) in RARα knockout cells. We demonstrated specific association of RARα and RXRα with the Mest promoter. Importantly, stable expression of a dominant negative, oncogenic PML-RARα fusion protein in F9 Wt cells recapitulated the decreased Mest transcript levels observed in RARα knockout cells. We propose that RARα plays an important role in cellular memory and imprinting by regulating the CpG methylation status of specific promoter regions.
Project description:Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) α, β and γ are key regulators of embryonic development. Hematopoietic differentiation is regulated by RARα, and several types of leukemia show aberrant RARα activity. We demonstrate that RARα plays an important role in cellular memory and imprinting by regulating the CpG methylation status of specific promoter regions. We used microarrays to identify genes, which display differential expression in F9 RARalpha knockout (RARaKO) cells relative to F9 wt cells. F9 teratocarcinoma cells (WT and RARaKO) were treated for 8 hours with either vehicle (EtOH) or all-trans Retinoic Acid (atRA) in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor Cycloheximide
Project description:Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can alter normal physiology and increase susceptibility to non-communicable diseases like obesity. Especially the prenatal and early postnatal period is highly vulnerable to adverse effects by environmental exposure, promoting developmental reprogramming by epigenetic alterations. To obtain a deeper insight into the role of prenatal bisphenol A (BPA) exposure in children's overweight development, we combine epidemiological data with experimental models and BPA-dependent DNA methylation changes.BPA concentrations were measured in maternal urine samples of the LINA mother-child-study obtained during pregnancy (n?=?552), and BPA-associated changes in cord blood DNA methylation were analyzed by Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip arrays (n?=?472). Methylation changes were verified by targeted MassARRAY analyses, assessed for their functional translation by qPCR and correlated with children's body mass index (BMI) z scores at the age of 1 and 6 years. Further, female BALB/c mice were exposed to BPA from 1 week before mating until delivery, and weight development of their pups was monitored (n???8/group). Additionally, human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells were treated with BPA during the adipocyte differentiation period and assessed for exposure-related epigenetic, transcriptional and morphological changes (n?=?4).In prenatally BPA-exposed children two CpG sites with deviating cord blood DNA-methylation profiles were identified, among them a hypo-methylated CpG in the promoter of the obesity-associated mesoderm-specific transcript (MEST). A mediator analysis suggested that prenatal BPA exposure was connected to cord blood MEST promoter methylation and MEST expression as well as BMI z scores in early infancy. This effect could be confirmed in mice in which prenatal BPA exposure altered Mest promoter methylation and transcription with a concomitant increase in the body weight of the juvenile offspring. An experimental model of in vitro differentiated human mesenchymal stem cells also revealed an epigenetically induced MEST expression and enhanced adipogenesis following BPA exposure.Our study provides evidence that MEST mediates the impact of prenatal BPA exposure on long-term body weight development in offspring by triggering adipocyte differentiation.
Project description:Imprinted genes show parent-specific activity (functional haploidy), which makes them particularly vulnerable to epigenetic dysregulation. Here we studied the methylation profiles of oppositely imprinted genes at single DNA molecule resolution by two independent parental allele-specific deep bisulfite sequencing (DBS) techniques. Using Roche (GSJunior) next generation sequencing technology, we analyzed the maternally imprinted MEST promoter and the paternally imprinted MEG3 intergenic (IG) differentially methylated region (DMR) in fetal cord blood, adult blood, and visceral adipose tissue. Epimutations were defined as paternal or maternal alleles with >50% aberrantly (de)methylated CpG sites, showing the wrong methylation imprint. The epimutation rates (range 2-66%) of the paternal MEST and the maternal MEG3 IG DMR allele, which should be completely unmethylated, were significantly higher than those (0-15%) of the maternal MEST and paternal MEG3 alleles, which are expected to be fully methylated. This hypermethylation of the non-imprinted allele (HNA) was independent of parental origin. Very low epimutation rates in sperm suggest that HNA occurred after fertilization. DBS with Illumina (MiSeq) technology confirmed HNA for the MEST promoter and the MEG3 IG DMR, and to a lesser extent, for the paternally imprinted secondary MEG3 promoter and the maternally imprinted PEG3 promoter. HNA leads to biallelic methylation of imprinted genes in a considerable proportion of normal body cells (somatic mosaicism) and is highly variable between individuals. We propose that during development and differentiation maintenance of differential methylation at most imprinting control regions may become to some extent redundant. The accumulation of stochastic and environmentally-induced methylation errors on the non-imprinted allele may increase epigenetic diversity between cells and individuals.
Project description:In mammals, somatic growth is rapid in early postnatal life but decelerates with age and eventually halts, thus determining the adult body size of the species. This growth deceleration, which reflects declining proliferation, occurs simultaneously in multiple organs yet appears not to be coordinated by a systemic mechanism. We, therefore, hypothesized that growth deceleration results from a growth-limiting genetic program that is common to multiple tissues. Here, we identified a set of 11 imprinted genes that show down-regulation of mRNA expression with age in multiple organs. For these genes, Igf2, H19, Plagl1, Mest, Peg3, Dlk1, Gtl2, Grb10, Ndn, Cdkn1c, and SLC38a4, the declines show a temporal pattern similar to the decline in growth rate. All 11 genes have been implicated in the control of cell proliferation or somatic growth. Thus, our findings suggest that the declining expression of these genes contributes to coordinate growth deceleration in multiple tissues. We next hypothesized that the coordinate decline in expression of these imprinted genes is caused by altered methylation and consequent silencing of the expressed allele. Contrary to this hypothesis, the methylation status of the promoter regions of Mest, Peg3, and Plagl1 did not change with age. Our findings suggest that a set of growth-regulating imprinted genes is expressed at high levels in multiple tissues in early postnatal life, contributing to rapid somatic growth, but that these genes are subsequently downregulated in multiple tissues simultaneously, contributing to coordinate growth deceleration and cessation, thus imposing a fundamental limit on adult body size.
Project description:The extent to which histone modifying enzymes contribute to DNA methylation in mammals remains unclear. Previous studies suggested a link between the lysine methyltransferase EHMT2 (also known as G9A and KMT1C) and DNA methylation in the mouse. Here, we used a model of knockout mice to explore the role of EHMT2 in DNA methylation during mouse embryogenesis. The Ehmt2 gene is expressed in epiblast cells but is dispensable for global DNA methylation in embryogenesis. In contrast, EHMT2 regulates DNA methylation at specific sequences that include CpG-rich promoters of germline-specific genes. These loci are bound by EHMT2 in embryonic cells, are marked by H3K9 dimethylation, and have strongly reduced DNA methylation in Ehmt2(-/-) embryos. EHMT2 also plays a role in the maintenance of germline-derived DNA methylation at one imprinted locus, the Slc38a4 gene. Finally, we show that DNA methylation is instrumental for EHMT2-mediated gene silencing in embryogenesis. Our findings identify EHMT2 as a critical factor that facilitates repressive DNA methylation at specific genomic loci during mammalian development.
Project description:Epigenetics represents a secondary inheritance system that has been poorly investigated in human biology. The objective of this study was to perform a comprehensive analysis of DNA methylation variation between and within the germlines of normal males. First, methylated cytosines were mapped using bisulphite modification-based sequencing in the promoter regions of the following disease genes: presenilins (PSEN1 and PSEN2), breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2), myotonic dystrophy (DM1), and Huntington disease (HD). Major epigenetic variation was detected within samples, since the majority of sperm cells of the same individual exhibited unique DNA methylation profiles. In the interindividual analysis, 41 of 61 pairwise comparisons revealed distinct DNA methylation profiles (P=.036 to 6.8 x 10(-14)). Second, a microarray-based epigenetic profiling of the same sperm samples was performed using a 12,198-feature CpG island microarray. The microarray analysis has identified numerous DNA methylation-variable positions in the germ cell genome. The largest degree of variation was detected within the promoter CpG islands and pericentromeric satellites among the single-copy DNA fragments and repetitive elements, respectively. A number of genes, such as EED, CTNNA2, CALM1, CDH13, and STMN2, exhibited age-related DNA methylation changes. Finally, allele-specific methylation patterns in CDH13 were detected. This study provides evidence for significant epigenetic variability in human germ cells, which warrants further research to determine whether such epigenetic patterns can be efficiently transmitted across generations and what impact inherited epigenetic individuality may have on phenotypic outcomes in health and disease.
Project description:The promoter region of the imprinted gene MEST contains several motifs capable of forming G-quadruplex (G4) structures, which appear to contribute to consistent allelic dropout during polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of this region. Here, we extend our previous analysis of MEST G4 structures by applying fluorescent footprinting techniques to assess non B-DNA structure and topology in dsDNA from the full MEST promoter region, under conditions that mimic PCR. We demonstrate that the buffer used for PCR provides an extremely favourable milieu for G4 formation, and that cytosine methylation helps maintain G4 structures during PCR. Additionally, we demonstrate G4 formation at motifs not previously identified through bioinformatic analysis of the MEST promoter, and provide nucleotide level resolution for topological reconstruction of these structures. These observations increase our understanding of the mechanisms through which methylation and G4 contribute towards allelic drop-out during PCR.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the past 15?years, numerous studies have described aberrant DNA methylation of imprinted genes (e.g. MEST and H19) in sperm of oligozoospermic men, but the prevalence and genomic extent of abnormal methylation patterns have remained unknown. RESULTS:Using deep bisulfite sequencing (DBS), we screened swim-up sperm samples from 40 normozoospermic and 93 patients diagnosed as oligoasthenoteratozoospermic, oligoteratozoospermic or oligozoospermic, which are termed OATs throughout the manuscript, for H19 and MEST methylation. Based on this screening, we defined three patient groups: normal controls (NC), abnormally methylated oligozoospermic (AMO; n = 7) and normally methylated oligozoospermic (NMO; n = 86). Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) of five NC and five AMO samples revealed abnormal methylation levels of all 50 imprinting control regions in each AMO sample. To investigate whether this finding reflected epigenetic germline mosaicism or the presence of residual somatic DNA, we made a genome-wide inventory of soma-germ cell-specific DNA methylation. We found that > 2000 germ cell-specific genes are promoter-methylated in blood and that AMO samples had abnormal methylation levels at these genes, consistent with the presence of somatic cell DNA. The comparison between the five NC and six NMO samples revealed 19 differentially methylated regions (DMRs), none of which could be validated in an independent cohort of 40 men. Previous studies reported a higher incidence of epimutations at single CpG sites in the CTCF-binding region 6 of H19 in infertile patients. DBS analysis of this locus, however, revealed an association between DNA methylation levels and genotype (rs2071094), but not fertility phenotype. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that somatic DNA contamination and genetic variation confound methylation studies in sperm of infertile men. While we cannot exclude the existence of rare patients with slightly abnormal sperm methylation at non-recurrent CpG sites, the prevalence of aberrant methylation in swim-up purified sperm of infertile men has likely been overestimated, which is reassuring for patients undergoing assisted reproduction.
Project description: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:How individual genes are regulated from a mitochondrial polycistronic transcript to have variable expression remains an enigma. Here, through bisulfite sequencing and strand-specific mapping, we show mitochondrial genomes in humans and other animals are strongly biased to light (L)-strand non-CpG methylation with conserved peak loci preferentially located at gene-gene boundaries, which was also independently validated by MeDIP and FspEI digestion. Such mtDNA methylation patterns are conserved across different species and developmental stages but display dynamic local or global changes during development and aging. Knockout of DNMT3A alone perturbed mtDNA regional methylation patterns, but not global levels, and altered mitochondrial gene expression, copy number, and oxygen respiration. Overexpression of DNMT3A strongly increased mtDNA methylation and strand bias. Overall, methylation at gene bodies and boundaries was negatively associated with mitochondrial transcript abundance and also polycistronic transcript processing. Furthermore, HPLC-MS confirmed the methylation signals on mitochondria DNA. Together, these data provide high-resolution mtDNA methylation maps that revealed a strand-specific non-CpG methylation, its dynamic regulation, and its impact on the polycistronic mitochondrial transcript processing.