Comparative anatomy of chromosomal domains with imprinted and non-imprinted allele-specific DNA methylation.
ABSTRACT: Allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) is well studied in imprinted domains, but this type of epigenetic asymmetry is actually found more commonly at non-imprinted loci, where the ASM is dictated not by parent-of-origin but instead by the local haplotype. We identified loci with strong ASM in human tissues from methylation-sensitive SNP array data. Two index regions (bisulfite PCR amplicons), one between the C3orf27 and RPN1 genes in chromosome band 3q21 and the other near the VTRNA2-1 vault RNA in band 5q31, proved to be new examples of imprinted DMRs (maternal alleles methylated) while a third, between STEAP3 and C2orf76 in chromosome band 2q14, showed non-imprinted haplotype-dependent ASM. Using long-read bisulfite sequencing (bis-seq) in 8 human tissues we found that in all 3 domains the ASM is restricted to single differentially methylated regions (DMRs), each less than 2kb. The ASM in the C3orf27-RPN1 intergenic region was placenta-specific and associated with allele-specific expression of a long non-coding RNA. Strikingly, the discrete DMRs in all 3 regions overlap with binding sites for the insulator protein CTCF, which we found selectively bound to the unmethylated allele of the STEAP3-C2orf76 DMR. Methylation mapping in two additional genes with non-imprinted haplotype-dependent ASM, ELK3 and CYP2A7, showed that the CYP2A7 DMR also overlaps a CTCF site. Thus, two features of imprinted domains, highly localized DMRs and allele-specific insulator occupancy by CTCF, can also be found in chromosomal domains with non-imprinted ASM. Arguing for biological importance, our analysis of published whole genome bis-seq data from hES cells revealed multiple genome-wide association study (GWAS) peaks near CTCF binding sites with ASM.
Project description:To reveal the extent of domain-wide epigenetic features at imprinted gene clusters, we performed a high-resolution allele-specific chromatin analysis of over 100 megabases along the maternally or paternally duplicated distal chromosome 7 (Chr7) and Chr15 in mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). We found that reciprocal allele-specific features are limited to imprinted genes and their differentially methylated regions (DMRs), whereas broad local enrichment of H3K27me3 (BLOC) is a domain-wide feature at imprinted clusters. We uncovered novel allele-specific features of BLOCs. A maternally biased BLOC was found along the H19-Igf2 domain. A paternal allele-specific gap was found along Kcnq1ot1, interrupting a biallelic BLOC in the Kcnq1-Cdkn1c domain. We report novel allele-specific chromatin marks at the Peg13 and Slc38a4 DMRs, Cdkn1c upstream region, and Inpp5f_v2 DMR and paternal allele-specific CTCF binding at the Peg13 DMR. Additionally, we derived an imprinted gene predictor algorithm based on our allele-specific chromatin mapping data. The binary predictor H3K9ac and CTCF or H3K4me3 in one allele and H3K9me3 in the reciprocal allele, using a sliding-window approach, recognized with precision the parental allele specificity of known imprinted genes, H19, Igf2, Igf2as, Cdkn1c, Kcnq1ot1, and Inpp5f_v2 on Chr7 and Peg13 and Slc38a4 on Chr15. Chromatin features, therefore, can unequivocally identify genes with imprinted expression.
Project description:Imprinted genes are expressed from one parental allele in a parent-of-origin manner. This monoallelic behavior is regulated by allele-specific DNA methylation that is confined to differentially methylated regions (DMRs). To date there are over 80 known human imprinted genes of which only three are known to have paternally methylated DMRs. In mice there exists an additional paternally methylated DMR associated with Rasgrf1. The Rasgrf1 gene forms part of the MAPK signaling pathway and plays a role in long-term memory formation and growth control. A RASGRF1-associated parent-of-origin specific DMR in humans and its methylation status in sperm DNA have not been explored. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether the human RASGRF1 gene contains a DMR and whether this DMR is paternally methylated and shows roughly 50% methylation in somatic tissue. Computational assessments were done to identify putative CTCF binding sites, CpG islands (CGIs) that could serve as potential RASGRF1 DMRs and tandem repeats within or adjacent to these CGIs. The methylation status of three putative CGIs was assessed using quantitative pyrosequencing technology. None of the putative CTCF binding sites was found to occur in the predicted CGIs. The three putative CGIs linked to RASGRF1 did not display allele-specific methylation. While one of the three CGIs was found to be hypomethylated in both blood DNA and sperm DNA, the other two were found to be hypermethylated. The CGIs evaluated in this study did not fit the criteria of being a allele-specific DMR. Unlike the mouse Rasgrf1 locus, the human RASGRF1-associated CpG rich regions do not exhibit differential methylation in a parent-of-origin manner.
Project description:Haplotype-dependent allele-specific methylation (hap-ASM) can impact disease susceptibility, but maps of this phenomenon using stringent criteria in disease-relevant tissues remain sparse. Here we apply array-based and Methyl-Seq approaches to multiple human tissues and cell types, including brain, purified neurons and glia, T lymphocytes, and placenta, and identify 795 hap-ASM differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and 3,082 strong methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTLs), most not previously reported. More than half of these DMRs have cell type-restricted ASM, and among them are 188 hap-ASM DMRs and 933 mQTLs located near GWAS signals for immune and neurological disorders. Targeted bis-seq confirmed hap-ASM in 12/13 loci tested, including CCDC155, CD69, FRMD1, IRF1, KBTBD11, and S100A(∗)-ILF2, associated with immune phenotypes, MYT1L, PTPRN2, CMTM8 and CELF2, associated with neurological disorders, NGFR and HLA-DRB6, associated with both immunological and brain disorders, and ZFP57, a trans-acting regulator of genomic imprinting. Polymorphic CTCF and transcription factor (TF) binding sites were over-represented among hap-ASM DMRs and mQTLs, and analysis of the human data, supplemented by cross-species comparisons to macaques, indicated that CTCF and TF binding likelihood predicts the strength and direction of the allelic methylation asymmetry. These results show that hap-ASM is highly tissue specific; an important trans-acting regulator of genomic imprinting is regulated by this phenomenon; and variation in CTCF and TF binding sites is an underlying mechanism, and maps of hap-ASM and mQTLs reveal regulatory sequences underlying supra- and sub-threshold GWAS peaks in immunological and neurological disorders.
Project description:Genomic imprinting mediated by DNA methylation restricts gene expression to a single allele determined by parental origin and is not generally considered to be under genetic or environmental influence. Here, we focused on a differentially methylated region (DMR) of approximately 1.9 kb that includes a 101-bp noncoding RNA gene (nc886/VTRNA2-1), which is maternally imprinted in ?75% of humans. This is unlike other imprinted genes, which demonstrate monoallelic methylation in 100% of individuals. The DMR includes a CTCF binding site on the centromeric side defining the DMR boundary and is flanked by a CTCF binding site on the telomeric side. The centromeric CTCF binding site contains an A/C polymorphism (rs2346018); the C allele is associated with less imprinting. The frequency of imprinting of the nc886 DMR in infants was linked to at least two nongenetic factors, maternal age at delivery and season of conception. In a separate cohort, nc886 imprinting was associated with lower body mass index in children at 5 y of age. Thus, we propose that the imprinting status of the nc886 DMR is "tunable" in that it is associated with maternal haplotype and prenatal environment. This provides a potential mechanism for transmitting information, with phenotypic consequences, from mother to child.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genes subject to genomic imprinting are mono-allelically expressed in a parent-of-origin dependent manner. Each imprinted locus has at least one differentially methylated region (DMR) which has allele specific DNA methylation and contributes to imprinted gene expression. Once DMRs are established, they are potentially able to withstand normal genome reprogramming events that occur during cell differentiation and germ-line DMRs are stably maintained throughout development. These DMRs, in addition to being either maternally or paternally methylated, have differences in whether methylation was acquired in the germ-line or post fertilization and are present in a variety of genomic locations with different Cytosine-phosphate guanine (CpG) densities and CTCF binding capacities. We therefore examined the stability of maintenance of DNA methylation imprints and determined the normal baseline DNA methylation levels in several adult tissues for all imprinted genes. In order to do this, we first developed and validated 50 highly specific, quantitative DNA methylation pyrosequencing assays for the known DMRs associated with human imprinted genes. RESULTS: Remarkable stability of the DNA methylation imprint was observed in all germ-line DMRs and paternally methylated somatic DMRs (which maintained average methylation levels of between 35% - 65% in all somatic tissues, independent of gene expression). Maternally methylated somatic DMRs were found to have more variation with tissue specific methylation patterns. Most DMRs, however, showed some intra-individual variability for DNA methylation levels in peripheral blood, suggesting that more than one DMR needs to be examined in order to get an overall impression of the epigenetic stability in a tissue. The plasticity of DNA methylation at imprinted genes was examined in a panel of normal and cancer cell lines. All cell lines showed changes in DNA methylation, especially at the paternal germ-line and the somatic DMRs. CONCLUSIONS: Our validated pyrosequencing methylation assays can be widely used as a tool to investigate DNA methylation levels of imprinted genes in clinical samples. This first comprehensive analysis of normal methylation levels in adult somatic tissues at human imprinted regions confirm that, despite intra-individual variability and tissue specific expression, imprinted genes faithfully maintain their DNA methylation in healthy adult tissue. DNA methylation levels of a selection of imprinted genes are, therefore, a valuable indicator for epigenetic stability.
Project description:The parent-of-origin specific expression of imprinted genes relies on DNA methylation of CpG-dinucleotides at differentially methylated regions (DMRs) during gametogenesis. To date, four paternally methylated DMRs have been identified in screens based on conventional approaches. These DMRs are linked to the imprinted genes H19, Gtl2 (IG-DMR), Rasgrf1 and, most recently, Zdbf2 which encodes zinc finger, DBF-type containing 2. In this study, we applied a novel methylated-DNA immunoprecipitation-on-chip (meDIP-on-chip) method to genomic DNA from mouse parthenogenetic- and androgenetic-derived stem cells and sperm and identified 458 putative DMRs. This included the majority of known DMRs. We further characterized the paternally methylated Zdbf2/ZDBF2 DMR. In mice, this extensive germ line DMR spanned 16 kb and possessed an unusual tripartite structure. Methylation was dependent on DNA methyltransferase 3a (Dnmt3a), similar to H19 DMR and IG-DMR. In both humans and mice, the adjacent gene, Gpr1/GPR1, which encodes a G-protein-coupled receptor 1 protein with transmembrane domain, was also imprinted and paternally expressed. The Gpr1-Zdbf2 domain was most similar to the Rasgrf1 domain as both DNA methylation and the actively expressed allele were in cis on the paternal chromosome. This work demonstrates the effectiveness of meDIP-on-chip as a technique for identifying DMRs.
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:Expression of imprinted genes is classically associated with differential methylation of specific CpG-rich DNA regions (DMRs). The H19/IGF2 locus is considered a paradigm for epigenetic regulation. In mice, as in humans, the essential H19 DMR--target of the CTCF insulator--is located between the two genes. Here, we performed a pyrosequencing-based quantitative analysis of its CpG methylation in normal human tissues. The quantitative analysis of the methylation level in the H19 DMR revealed three unexpected discrete, individual-specific methylation states. This epigenetic polymorphism was confined to the sixth CTCF binding site while a unique median-methylated profile was found at the third CTCF binding site as well as in the H19 promoter. Monoallelic expression of H19 and IGF2 was maintained independently of the methylation status at the sixth CTCF binding site and the IGF2 DMR2 displayed a median-methylated profile in all individuals and tissues analyzed. Interestingly, the methylation profile was genetically transmitted. Transgenerational inheritance of the H19 methylation profile was compatible with a simple model involving one gene with three alleles. The existence of three individual-specific epigenotypes in the H19 DMR in a non-pathological situation means it is important to reconsider the diagnostic value and functional importance of the sixth CTCF binding site.
Project description:Parent-of-origin specific expression of imprinted genes relies on the differential DNA methylation of specific genomic regions. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) acquire DNA methylation either during gametogenesis (primary DMR) or after fertilisation when allele-specific expression is established (secondary DMR). Little is known about the function of these secondary DMRs. We investigated the DMR spanning Cdkn1c in mouse embryonic stem cells, androgenetic stem cells and embryonic germ stem cells. In all cases, expression of Cdkn1c was appropriately repressed in in vitro differentiated cells. However, stem cells failed to de novo methylate the silenced gene even after sustained differentiation. In the absence of maintained DNA methylation (Dnmt1(-/-)), Cdkn1c escapes silencing demonstrating the requirement for DNA methylation in long term silencing in vivo. We propose that postfertilisation differential methylation reflects the importance of retaining single gene dosage of a subset of imprinted loci in the adult.
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.