Prenatal famine and genetic variation are independently and additively associated with DNA methylation at regulatory loci within IGF2/H19.
ABSTRACT: Both the early environment and genetic variation may affect DNA methylation, which is one of the major molecular marks of the epigenome. The combined effect of these factors on a well-defined locus has not been studied to date. We evaluated the association of periconceptional exposure to the Dutch Famine of 1944-45, as an example of an early environmental exposure, and single nucleotide polymorphisms covering the genetic variation (tagging SNPs) with DNA methylation at the imprinted IGF2/H19 region, a model for an epigenetically regulated genomic region. DNA methylation was measured at five differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that regulate the imprinted status of the IGF2/H19 region. Small but consistent differences in DNA methylation were observed comparing 60 individuals with periconceptional famine exposure with unexposed same-sex siblings at all IGF2 DMRs (P(BH)<0.05 after adjustment for multiple testing), but not at the H19 DMR. IGF2 DMR0 methylation was associated with IGF2 SNP rs2239681 (P(BH) = 0.027) and INS promoter methylation with INS SNPs, including rs689, which tags the INS VNTR, suggesting a mechanism for the reported effect of the VNTR on INS expression (P(BH) = 3.4 × 10(-3)). Prenatal famine and genetic variation showed similar associations with IGF2/H19 methylation and their contributions were additive. They were small in absolute terms (<3%), but on average 0.5 standard deviations relative to the variation in the population. Our analyses suggest that environmental and genetic factors could have independent and additive similarly sized effects on DNA methylation at the same regulatory site.
Project description:The sexually dimorphic expression of H19/IGF2 is evolutionarily conserved. To investigate whether the expression of H19/IGF2 in the female porcine eye is sex-dependent, gene expression and methylation status were evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and bisulfite sequencing PCR (BSP). We hypothesized that H19/IGF2 might exhibit a different DNA methylation status in the female eye. In order to evaluate our hypothesis, parthenogenetic (PA) cells were used for analysis by qPCR and BSP. Our results showed that H19 and IGF2 were over-expressed in the female eye compared with the male eye (3-fold and 2-fold, respectively). We observed a normal monoallelic methylation pattern for H19 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Compared with H19 DMRs, IGF2 DMRs showed a different methylation pattern in the eye. Taken together, these results suggest that elevated expression of H19/IGF2 is caused by a specific chromatin structure that is regulated by the DNA methylation status of IGF2 DMRs in the female eye.
Project description:Periconceptional diet may persistently influence DNA methylation levels with phenotypic consequences. However, a comprehensive assessment of the characteristics of prenatal malnutrition-associated differentially methylated regions (P-DMRs) is lacking in humans. Here we report on a genome-scale analysis of differential DNA methylation in whole blood after periconceptional exposure to famine during the Dutch Hunger Winter. We show that P-DMRs preferentially occur at regulatory regions, are characterized by intermediate levels of DNA methylation and map to genes enriched for differential expression during early development. Validation and further exploratory analysis of six P-DMRs highlight the critical role of gestational timing. Interestingly, differential methylation of the P-DMRs extends along pathways related to growth and metabolism. P-DMRs located in INSR and CPT1A have enhancer activity in vitro and differential methylation is associated with birth weight and serum LDL cholesterol. Epigenetic modulation of pathways by prenatal malnutrition may promote an adverse metabolic phenotype in later life.
Project description:Epigenetic events are crucial for early development, but can be influenced by environmental factors, potentially programming the genome for later adverse health outcomes. The insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2)/H19 locus is crucial for prenatal growth and the epigenetic state at this locus is environmentally labile. Recent studies have implicated maternal factors, including folate intake and smoking, in the regulation of DNA methylation at this locus, although data are often conflicting in the direction and magnitude of effect. Most studies have focused on single tissues and on one or two differentially-methylated regions (DMRs) regulating IGF2/H19 expression. In this study, we investigated the relationship between multiple shared and non-shared gestational/maternal factors and DNA methylation at four IGF2/H19 DMRs in five newborn cell types from 67 pairs of monozygotic and 49 pairs of dizygotic twins. Data on maternal and non-shared supply line factors were collected during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and DNA methylation was measured via mass spectrometry using Sequenom MassArray EpiTyper analysis. Our exploratory approach showed that the site of umbilical cord insertion into the placenta in monochorionic twins has the strongest positive association with methylation in all IGF2/H19 DMRs (p<0.05). Further, evidence for tissue- and locus-specific effects were observed, emphasizing that responsiveness to environmental exposures in utero cannot be generalized across genes and tissues, potentially accounting for the lack of consistency in previous findings. Such complexity in responsiveness to environmental exposures in utero has implications for all epigenetic studies investigating the developmental origins of health and disease.
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:Epigenetic plasticity in relation to in utero exposures may mechanistically explain observed differences in the likelihood of developing common complex diseases including hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease through the cumulative effects of subtle alterations in gene expression. Imprinted genes are essential mediators of growth and development and are characterized by differentially methylated regulatory regions (DMRs) that carry parental allele-specific methylation profiles. This theoretical 50% level of methylation provides a baseline from which endogenously- or exogenously-induced deviations in methylation can be detected. We quantified DNA methylation at imprinted gene DMRs in a large panel of human conceptal tissues, in matched buccal cell specimens collected at birth and at one year of age, and in the major cell fractions of umbilical cord blood to assess the stability of methylation at these regions. DNA methylation was measured using validated pyrosequencing assays at seven DMRs regulating the IGF2/H19, DLK1/MEG3, MEST, NNAT and SGCE/PEG10 imprinted domains. DMR methylation did not significantly differ for the H19, MEST and SGCE/PEG10 DMRs across all conceptal tissues analyzed (ANOVA p>0.10). Methylation differences at several DMRs were observed in tissues from brain (IGF2 and MEG3-IG DMRs), liver (IGF2 and MEG3 DMRs) and placenta (both DLK1/MEG3 DMRs and NNAT DMR). In most infants, methylation profiles in buccal cells at birth and at one year of age were comparable, as was methylation in the major cell fractions of umbilical cord blood. Several infants showed temporal deviations in methylation at multiple DMRs. Similarity of inter-individual and intra-individual methylation at some, but not all of the DMRs analyzed supports the possibility that methylation of these regions can serve as useful biosensors of exposure.
Project description:BACKGROUND:H19 and IGF2 genes are imprinted and involved in regulating fetal and placental growth. The H19 differentially methylated region (DMR) is paternally methylated and maternally unmethylated and regulates the imprinted expression of H19 and IGF2. Epimutation at the H19-DMR in humans results in congenital growth disorders, Beckwith-Wiedemann and Silver-Russell syndromes, when erroneously its maternal allele becomes methylated and its paternal allele becomes unmethylated, respectively. Although H19 and IGF2 have been assessed for their involvement in pregnancy complications including fetal growth restriction (FGR) and pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)/hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (HDP) intensively in the last decade, it is still not established whether epimutation at the H19-DMR in the placenta results in pathogenic conditions in pregnancy. We aimed to assess the frequency of H19-DMR epimutation and its effects on the allelic expression patterns of H19 and IGF2 genes among normal and abnormal pregnancy cases. RESULTS:We enrolled two independently collected sets of placenta samples from normal pregnancies as controls and common pregnancy complications, FGR and PIH (HDP). The first set consisted of 39 controls and 140 FGR and/or PIH cases, and the second set consisted of 29 controls and 62 cases. For these samples, we initially screened for DNA methylation changes at H19-DMR and IGF2-DMRs by combined bisulfite restriction analysis, and further analyzed cases with methylation changes for their allelic methylation and expression patterns. We identified one case each of FGR and PIH showing hypomethylation of H19-DMR and IGF2-DMRs only in the placenta, but not in cord blood, from the first case/control set. For the PIH case, we were able to determine the allelic expression pattern of H19 to be biallelically expressed and the H19/IGF2 expression ratio to be highly elevated compared to controls. We also identified a PIH case with hypomethylation at H19-DMR and IGF2-DMRs in the placenta from the second case/control set. CONCLUSIONS:Placental epimutation at H19-DMR was observed among common pregnancy complication cases at the frequency of 1.5% (3 out of 202 cases examined), but not in 68 normal pregnancy cases examined. Alteration of H19/IGF2 expression patterns due to hypomethylation of H19-DMR may have been involved in the pathogenesis of pregnancy complications in these cases.
Project description:IGF2 is a paternally expressed imprinted gene with an important role in development and brain function. Allele-specific expression of IGF2 is regulated by DNA methylation at three differentially methylated regions (DMRs) spanning the IGF2/H19 domain on human 11p15.5. We have comprehensively assessed DNA methylation and genotype across the three DMRs and the H19 promoter using tissue from a unique collection of well-characterized and neuropathologically-dissected post-mortem human cerebellum samples (n = 106) and frontal cortex samples (n = 51). We show that DNA methylation, particularly in the vicinity of a key CTCF-binding site (CTCF3) in the imprinting control region (ICR) upstream of H19, is strongly correlated with cerebellum weight. DNA methylation at CTCF3 uniquely explains ~25% of the variance in cerebellum weight. In addition, we report that genetic variation in this ICR is strongly associated with cerebellum weight in a parental-origin specific manner, with maternally-inherited alleles associated with a 16% increase in cerebellum weight compared with paternally-inherited alleles. Given the link between structural brain abnormalities and neuropsychiatric disease, an understanding of the epigenetic and parent-of-origin specific genetic factors associated with brain morphology provides important clues about the etiology of disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
Project description:The methylation status of DNA methylation regions (DMRs) of the imprinted gene IGF2/Igf2 is associated with neural tube defects (NTDs), which are caused by a failure of the neural tube to fold and close and are the second-most common birth defect; however, the characterization of the expression level of IGF2/Igf2 in neural tissue from human fetuses affected with NTDs remains elusive. More importantly, whether abnormal chromatin structure also influences IGF2/Igf2 expression in NTDs is unclear. Here, we investigated the transcriptional activity of IGF2/Igf2 in normal and NTD spinal cord tissues, the methylation status of different DMRs, and the chromatin structure of the promoter. Our data indicated that in NTD samples from both human fetuses and retinoic acid (RA)-treated mouse fetuses, the expression level of IGF2/Igf2 was upregulated 6.41-fold and 1.84-fold, respectively, compared to controls. H19 DMR1, but not IGF2 DMR0, was hypermethylated in human NTD samples. In NTD mice, h19 DMR1 was stable, whereas the chromatin structure around the promoter of Igf2 might be loosened, which was displayed by higher H3K4 acetylation and lower H3K27 trimethylation. Therefore, the data revealed that IGF2/Igf2 expression can be ectopically up-regulated by dual epigenetic factors in NTDs. In detail, the upregulation of IGF2/Igf2 is likely controlled by hypermethylation of H19 DMR1 in human NTDs, however, in acute external RA-induced NTD mice it is potentially determined by more open chromatin structure.
Project description:Multiple epigenetic alterations contribute to prostate cancer progression by deregulating gene expression. Epigenetic mechanisms, especially differential DNA methylation at imprinting control regions (termed DMRs), normally ensure the exclusive expression of imprinted genes from one specific parental allele. We therefore wondered to which extent imprinted genes become deregulated in prostate cancer and, if so, whether deregulation is due to altered DNA methylation at DMRs. Therefore, we selected presumptive deregulated imprinted genes from a previously conducted in silico analysis and from the literature and analyzed their expression in prostate cancer tissues by qRT-PCR. We found significantly diminished expression of PLAGL1/ZAC1, MEG3, NDN, CDKN1C, IGF2, and H19, while LIT1 was significantly overexpressed. The PPP1R9A gene, which is imprinted in selected tissues only, was strongly overexpressed, but was expressed biallelically in benign and cancerous prostatic tissues. Expression of many of these genes was strongly correlated, suggesting co-regulation, as in an imprinted gene network (IGN) reported in mice. Deregulation of the network genes also correlated with EZH2 and HOXC6 overexpression. Pyrosequencing analysis of all relevant DMRs revealed generally stable DNA methylation between benign and cancerous prostatic tissues, but frequent hypo- and hyper-methylation was observed at the H19 DMR in both benign and cancerous tissues. Re-expression of the ZAC1 transcription factor induced H19, CDKN1C and IGF2, supporting its function as a nodal regulator of the IGN. Our results indicate that a group of imprinted genes are coordinately deregulated in prostate cancers, independently of DNA methylation changes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Porcine IGF2 and the H19 genes are imprinted. The IGF2 is paternally expressed, while the H19 gene is maternally expressed. Extensive studies in mice established a boundary model indicating that the H19 differentially methylated domain (DMD) controls, upon binding with the CTCF protein, reciprocal imprinting of the IGF2 and the H19 genes. IGF2 transcription is tissue and development specific involving the use of 4 promoters. In the liver of adult Large White boars IGF2 is expressed from both parental alleles, whereas in skeletal muscle and kidney tissues we observed variable relaxation of IGF2 imprinting. We hypothesized that IGF2 expression from both paternal alleles and relaxation of IGF2 imprinting is reflected in differences in DNA methylation patterns at the H19 DMD and IGF2 differentially methylated regions 1 and 2 (DMR1 and DMR2).<h4>Results</h4>Bisulfite sequencing analysis did not show any differences in DNA methylation at the three porcine CTCF binding sites in the H19 DMD between liver, muscle and kidney tissues of adult pigs. A DNA methylation analysis using methyl-sensitive restriction endonuclease SacII and 'hot-stop' PCR gave consistent results with those from the bisulfite sequencing analysis. We found that porcine H19 DMD is distinctly differentially methylated, at least for the region formally confirmed by two SNPs, in liver, skeletal muscle and kidney of foetal, newborn and adult pigs, independent of the combined imprinting status of all IGF2 expressed transcripts. DNA methylation at CpG sites in DMR1 of foetal liver was significantly lower than in the adult liver due to the presence of hypomethylated molecules. An allele specific analysis was performed for IGF2 DMR2 using a SNP in the IGF2 3'-UTR. The maternal IGF2 DMR2 of foetal and newborn liver revealed a higher DNA methylation content compared to the respective paternal allele.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results indicate that the IGF2 imprinting status is transcript-specific. Biallelic IGF2 expression in adult porcine liver and relaxation of IGF2 imprinting in porcine muscle were a common feature. These results were consistent with the IGF2 promoter P1 usage in adult liver and IGF2 promoter P2, P3 and P4 usages in muscle. The results showed further that bialellic IGF2 expression in liver and relaxation of imprinting in muscle and kidney were not associated with DNA methylation variation at and around at least one CTCF binding site in H19 DMD. The imprinting status in adult liver, muscle and kidney tissues were also not reflected in the methylation patterns of IGF2 DMRs 1 and 2.