Critical evaluation of imprinted gene expression by RNA-Seq: a new perspective.
ABSTRACT: In contrast to existing estimates of approximately 200 murine imprinted genes, recent work based on transcriptome sequencing uncovered parent-of-origin allelic effects at more than 1,300 loci in the developing brain and two adult brain regions, including hundreds present in only males or females. Our independent replication of the embryonic brain stage, where the majority of novel imprinted genes were discovered and the majority of previously known imprinted genes confirmed, resulted in only 12.9% concordance among the novel imprinted loci. Further analysis and pyrosequencing-based validation revealed that the vast majority of the novel reported imprinted loci are false-positives explained by technical and biological variation of the experimental approach. We show that allele-specific expression (ASE) measured with RNA-Seq is not accurately modeled with statistical methods that assume random independent sampling and that systematic error must be accounted for to enable accurate identification of imprinted expression. Application of a robust approach that accounts for these effects revealed 50 candidate genes where allelic bias was predicted to be parent-of-origin-dependent. However, 11 independent validation attempts through a range of allelic expression biases confirmed only 6 of these novel cases. The results emphasize the importance of independent validation and suggest that the number of imprinted genes is much closer to the initial estimates.
Project description:The number of transcripts where allelic bias is dependent parent-of-origin was predicted at 100-200 until two recent studies applied RNA-Seq to brain regions from reciprocally crossed inbred mouse strains and identified over a thousand novel imprinted loci, including hundreds present in only males or females. Reanalysis revealed that the vast majority of these novel loci are explained by technical and biological variation of the approach, and are not genuine cases of general or sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic expression. Independent replication projects that, at most, a few dozen novel imprinted transcripts are present in the dataset, in line with previous projections of 100-200 total imprinted transcripts. Overall design: Whole brain transcriptome analysis of E17.5 F1 embryos from reciprocally crossed C57BL/6J and CastEi/J parents
Project description:The number of transcripts where allelic bias is dependent parent-of-origin was predicted at 100-200 until two recent studies applied RNA-Seq to brain regions from reciprocally crossed inbred mouse strains and identified over a thousand novel imprinted loci, including hundreds present in only males or females. Reanalysis revealed that the vast majority of these novel loci are explained by technical and biological variation of the approach, and are not genuine cases of general or sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic expression. Independent replication projects that, at most, a few dozen novel imprinted transcripts are present in the dataset, in line with previous projections of 100-200 total imprinted transcripts. Whole brain transcriptome analysis of E17.5 F1 embryos from reciprocally crossed C57BL/6J and CastEi/J parents
Project description:BACKGROUND:Identification of imprinted genes, demonstrating a consistent preference towards the paternal or maternal allelic expression, is important for the understanding of gene expression regulation during embryonic development and of the molecular basis of developmental disorders with a parent-of-origin effect. Combining allelic analysis of RNA-Seq data with phased genotypes in family trios provides a powerful method to detect parent-of-origin biases in gene expression. RESULTS:We report findings in 296 family trios from two large studies: 165 lymphoblastoid cell lines from the 1000 Genomes Project and 131 blood samples from the Genome of the Netherlands (GoNL) participants. Based on parental haplotypes, we identified >?2.8 million transcribed heterozygous SNVs phased for parental origin and developed a robust statistical framework for measuring allelic expression. We identified a total of 45 imprinted genes and one imprinted unannotated transcript, including multiple imprinted transcripts showing incomplete parental expression bias that was located adjacent to strongly imprinted genes. For example, PXDC1, a gene which lies adjacent to the paternally expressed gene FAM50B, shows a 2:1 paternal expression bias. Other imprinted genes had promoter regions that coincide with sites of parentally biased DNA methylation identified in the blood from uniparental disomy (UPD) samples, thus providing independent validation of our results. Using the stranded nature of the RNA-Seq data in lymphoblastoid cell lines, we identified multiple loci with overlapping sense/antisense transcripts, of which one is expressed paternally and the other maternally. Using a sliding window approach, we searched for imprinted expression across the entire genome, identifying a novel imprinted putative lncRNA in 13q21.2. Overall, we identified 7 transcripts showing parental bias in gene expression which were not reported in 4 other recent RNA-Seq studies of imprinting. CONCLUSIONS:Our methods and data provide a robust and high-resolution map of imprinted gene expression in the human genome.
Project description:Imprinted genes display differential allelic expression in a manner that depends on the sex of the transmitting parent. The degree of imprinting is often tissue-specific and/or developmental stage-specific, and may be altered in some diseases including cancer. Here we applied Illumina/Solexa sequencing of the transcriptomes of reciprocal F1 mouse neonatal brains and identified 26 genes with parent-of-origin dependent differential allelic expression. Allele-specific Pyrosequencing verified 17 of them, including three novel imprinted genes. The known and novel imprinted genes all are found in proximity to previously reported differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Ten genes known to be imprinted in placenta had sufficient expression levels to attain a read depth that provided statistical power to detect imprinting, and yet all were consistent with non-imprinting in our transcript count data for neonatal brain. Three closely linked and reciprocally imprinted gene pairs were also discovered, and their pattern of expression suggests transcriptional interference. Despite the coverage of more than 5000 genes, this scan only identified three novel imprinted refseq genes in neonatal brain, suggesting that this tissue is nearly exhaustively characterized. This approach has the potential to yield an complete catalog of imprinted genes after application to multiple tissues and developmental stages, shedding light on the mechanism, bioinformatic prediction, and evolution of imprinted genes and diseases associated with genomic imprinting.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is allelic restriction of gene expression potential depending on parent of origin, maintained by epigenetic mechanisms including parent of origin-specific DNA methylation. Among approximately 70 known imprinted genes are some causing disorders affecting growth, metabolism and cancer predisposition. Some imprinting disorder patients have hypomethylation of several imprinted loci (HIL) throughout the genome and may have atypically severe clinical features. Here we used array analysis in HIL patients to define patterns of aberrant methylation throughout the genome.We developed a novel informatic pipeline capable of small sample number analysis, and profiled 10 HIL patients with two clinical presentations (Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and neonatal diabetes) using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation450 BeadChip array to identify candidate imprinted regions. We used robust statistical criteria to quantify DNA methylation.We detected hypomethylation at known imprinted loci, and 25 further candidate imprinted regions (nine shared between patient groups) including one in the Down syndrome critical region (WRB) and another previously associated with bipolar disorder (PPIEL). Targeted analysis of three candidate regions (NHP2L1, WRB and PPIEL) showed allelic expression, methylation patterns consistent with allelic maternal methylation and frequent hypomethylation among an additional cohort of HIL patients, including six with Silver-Russell syndrome presentations and one with pseudohypoparathyroidism 1B.This study identified novel candidate imprinted genes, revealed remarkable epigenetic convergence among clinically divergent patients, and highlights the potential of epigenomic profiling to expand our understanding of the normal methylome and its disruption in human disease.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism leading to parent-of-origin silencing of alleles. So far, the precise number of imprinted regions in humans is uncertain. In this study, we leveraged genome-wide DNA methylation in whole blood measured longitudinally at three time points (birth, childhood and adolescence) and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) data in 740 mother-child duos from the Avon Longitudinal Study of parents and children to identify candidate imprinted loci. We reasoned that cis-meQTLs at genomic regions that were imprinted would show strong evidence of parent-of-origin associations with DNA methylation, enabling the detection of imprinted regions. Using this approach, we identified genome-wide significant cis-meQTLs that exhibited parent-of-origin effects (POEs) at 82 loci, 34 novel and 48 regions previously implicated in imprinting (3.7-10<P?<?10-300). Using an independent dataset from the Brisbane Systems Genetic Study, we replicated 76 out of the 82 identified loci. POEs were remarkably consistent across time points and were so strong at some loci that methylation levels enabled good discrimination of parental transmissions at these and surrounding genomic regions. The implication is that parental allelic transmissions could be modelled at many imprinted (and linked) loci in GWAS of unrelated individuals given a combination of genetic and methylation data. Novel regions showing parent of origin effects on methylation will require replication using a different technology and further functional experiments to confirm that such effects arise through a genomic imprinting mechanism.
Project description:DNA methylation (5-methylcytosine, 5?mC) is involved in many cellular processes and is an epigenetic mechanism primarily associated with transcriptional repression. The recent discovery that 5?mC can be oxidized to 5-hydromethylcytosine (5hmC) by TET proteins has revealed the "sixth base" of DNA and provides additional complexity to what was originally thought to be a stable repressive mark. However, our knowledge of the genome-wide distribution of 5hmC in different tissues is currently limited. Here, we sought to define loci enriched for 5hmC in the placenta genome by combining oxidative bisulphite (oxBS) treatment with high-density Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 methylation arrays and to compare our results with those obtained in brain. Despite identifying over 17,000 high-confidence CpG sites with consistent 5hmC enrichment, the distribution of this modification in placenta is relatively sparse when compared to cerebellum and frontal cortex. Supported by validation using allelic T4 ?-glucosyltransferase assays we identify 5hmC at numerous imprinted loci, often overlapping regions associated with parent-of-origin allelic 5?mC in both placenta and brain samples. Furthermore, we observe tissue-specific monoallelic enrichment of 5hmC overlapping large clusters of imprinted snoRNAs-miRNAs processed from long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) within the DLK1-DIO3 cluster on chromosome 14 and SNRPN-UBE3A domain on chromosome 15. Enrichment is observed solely on the transcribed alleles suggesting 5hmC is positively associated with transcription at these loci. Our study provides an extensive description of the 5hmC/5?mC landscape in placenta with our data available at www.humanimprints.net , which represents the most comprehensive resource for exploring the epigenetic profiles associated with human imprinted genes.
Project description:Genomic imprinting results in preferential expression of the paternal or maternal allele of certain genes. We have performed a genome-wide characterization of imprinting in the mouse embryonic and adult brain. This approach uncovered parent-of-origin allelic effects of more than 1300 loci. We identified parental bias in the expression of individual genes and of specific transcript isoforms, with differences between brain regions. Many imprinted genes are expressed in neural systems associated with feeding and motivated behaviors, and parental biases preferentially target genetic pathways governing metabolism and cell adhesion. We observed a preferential maternal contribution to gene expression in the developing brain and a major paternal contribution in the adult brain. Thus, parental expression bias emerges as a major mode of epigenetic regulation in the brain.
Project description:Many questions about the regulation, functional specialization, computational prediction, and evolution of genomic imprinting would be better addressed by having an exhaustive genome-wide catalog of genes that display parent-of-origin differential expression. As a first-pass scan for novel imprinted genes, we performed mRNA-seq experiments on embryonic day 17.5 (E17.5) mouse placenta cDNA samples from reciprocal cross F1 progeny of AKR and PWD mouse strains and quantified the allele-specific expression and the degree of parent-of-origin allelic imbalance. We confirmed the imprinting status of 23 known imprinted genes in the placenta and found that 12 genes reported previously to be imprinted in other tissues are also imprinted in mouse placenta. Through a well-replicated design using an orthogonal allelic-expression technology, we verified 5 novel imprinted genes that were not previously known to be imprinted in mouse (Pde10, Phf17, Phactr2, Zfp64, and Htra3). Our data suggest that most of the strongly imprinted genes have already been identified, at least in the placenta, and that evidence supports perhaps 100 additional weakly imprinted genes. Despite previous appearance that the placenta tends to display an excess of maternally expressed imprinted genes, with the addition of our validated set of placenta-imprinted genes, this maternal bias has disappeared.
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.