Analysis of DNA methylation acquisition at the imprinted Dlk1 locus reveals asymmetry at CpG dyads.
ABSTRACT: Differential distribution of DNA methylation on the parental alleles of imprinted genes distinguishes the alleles from each other and dictates their parent of origin-specific expression patterns. While differential DNA methylation at primary imprinting control regions is inherited via the gametes, additional allele-specific DNA methylation is acquired at secondary sites during embryonic development and plays a role in the maintenance of genomic imprinting. The precise mechanisms by which this somatic DNA methylation is established at secondary sites are not well defined and may vary as methylation acquisition at these sites occurs at different times for genes in different imprinting clusters.In this study, we show that there is also variability in the timing of somatic DNA methylation acquisition at multiple sites within a single imprinting cluster. Paternal allele-specific DNA methylation is initially acquired at similar stages of post-implantation development at the linked Dlk1 and Gtl2 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). In contrast, unlike the Gtl2-DMR, the maternal Dlk1-DMR acquires DNA methylation in adult tissues.These data suggest that the acquisition of DNA methylation across the Dlk1/Gtl2 imprinting cluster is variable. We further found that the Dlk1 differentially methylated region displays low DNA methylation fidelity, as evidenced by the presence of hemimethylation at approximately one-third of the methylated CpG dyads. We hypothesize that the maintenance of DNA methylation may be less efficient at secondary differentially methylated sites than at primary imprinting control regions.
Project description:The Dlk1 and Gtl2 genes define a region of mouse chromosome 12 that is subject to genomic imprinting, the parental allele-specific expression of a gene. Although imprinted genes play important roles in growth and development, the mechanisms by which imprinting is established and maintained are poorly understood. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs), which carry methylation on only one parental allele, are involved in imprinting control at many loci. The Dlk1-Gtl2 region contains three known DMRs, the Dlk1 DMR in the 3' region of Dlk1, the intergenic DMR 15 kb upstream of Gtl2, and the Gtl2 DMR at the Gtl2 promoter. Three mouse models are analyzed here that provide new information about the regulation of Dlk1-Gtl2 imprinting.A previously existing insertional mutation (Gtl2lacZ), and a targeted deletion in which the Gtl2 upstream region was replaced by a Neo cassette (Gtl2Delta5'Neo), display partial lethality and dwarfism upon paternal inheritance. Molecular characterization shows that both mutations cause loss of imprinting and changes in expression of the Dlk1, Gtl2 and Meg8/Rian genes. Dlk1 levels are decreased upon paternal inheritance of either mutation, suggesting Dlk1 may be causative for the lethality and dwarfism. Loss of imprinting on the paternal chromosome in both Gtl2lacZ and Gtl2Delta5'Neo mice is accompanied by the loss of paternal-specific Gtl2 DMR methylation, while maternal loss of imprinting suggests a previously unknown regulatory role for the maternal Gtl2 DMR. Unexpectedly, when the Neo gene is excised, Gtl2Delta5' animals are of normal size, imprinting is unchanged and the Gtl2 DMR is properly methylated. The exogenous DNA sequences integrated upstream of Gtl2 are therefore responsible for the growth and imprinting effects.These data provide further evidence for the coregulation of the imprinted Dlk1 and Gtl2 genes, and support a role for Dlk1 as an important neonatal growth factor. The ability of the Gtl2lacZ and Gtl2Delta5'Neo mutations to cause long-range changes in imprinting and gene expression suggest that regional imprinting regulatory elements may lie in proximity to the integration site.
Project description:Epigenetic alterations in the 11p15.5 imprinted gene cluster are frequent in human cancers and are associated with disordered imprinting of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)2 and H19. Recently, an imprinted gene cluster at 14q32 has been defined and includes two closely linked but reciprocally imprinted genes, DLK1 and GTL2, that have similarities to IGF2 and H19, respectively. Both GTL2 and H19 are maternally expressed RNAs with no protein product and display paternal allele promoter region methylation, and DLK1 and IGF2 are both paternally expressed. To determine whether methylation alterations within the 14q32 imprinted domain occur in human tumorigenesis, we investigated the status of the GTL2 promoter differentially methylated region (DMR) in 20 neuroblastoma tumours, 20 phaeochromocytomas and, 40 Wilms' tumours. Hypermethylation of the GTL2 promoter DMR was detected in 25% of neuroblastomas, 10% of phaeochromocytoma and 2.5% of Wilms' tumours. Tumours with GTL2 promoter DMR hypermethylation also demonstrated hypermethylation at an upstream intergenic DMR thought to represent a germline imprinting control element. Analysis of neuroblastoma cell lines revealed that GTL2 DMR hypermethylation was associated with transcriptional repression of GTL2. These epigenetic findings are similar to those reported in Wilms' tumours in which H19 repression and DMR hypermethylation is associated with loss of imprinting (LOI, biallelic expression) of IGF2. However, a neuroblastoma cell line with hypermethylation of the GTL2 promoter and intergenic DMR did not show LOI of DLK1 and although treatment with a demethylating agent restored GTL2 expression and reduced DLK1 expression. As described for IGF2/H19, epigenetic changes at DLK1/GTL2 occur in human cancers. However, these changes are not associated with DLK1 LOI highlighting differences in the imprinting control mechanisms operating in the IGF2-H19 and DLK1-GTL2 domains. GTL2 promoter and intergenic DMR hypermethylation is associated with the loss of GTL2 expression and this may contribute to tumorigenesis in a subset of human cancers.
Project description:The Dlk1-Gtl2 imprinting locus is located on mouse distal chromosome 12 and consists of multiple maternally expressed non-coding RNAs and several paternally expressed protein-coding genes. The imprinting of this locus plays a crucial role in embryonic development and postnatal growth. At least one cis-element, the intergenic differentially methylated region (IG-DMR) is required for expression of maternally expressed genes and repression of silenced paternally expressed genes. The mechanism by which the IG-DMR functions is largely unknown. However, it has been suggested that the unmethylated IG-DMR acts as a positive regulator activating expression of non-coding RNAs. Gtl2 is the first non-coding RNA gene downstream of the IG-DMR. Although its in vivo function in the mouse is largely unknown, its human ortholog MEG3 has been linked to tumor suppression in human tumor-derived cell lines. We generated a knockout mouse model, in which the first five exons and adjacent promoter region of the Gtl2 gene were deleted. Maternal deletion of Gtl2 resulted in perinatal death and skeletal muscle defects, indicating that Gtl2 plays an important role in embryonic development. The maternal deletion also completely abolished expression of downstream maternally expressed genes, activated expression of silenced paternally expressed genes and resulted in methylation of the IG-DMR. By contrast, the paternal inherited deletion did not have this effect. These data strongly indicate that activation of Gtl2 and its downstream maternal genes play an essential role in regulating Dlk1-Gtl2 imprinting, possibly by maintaining active status of the IG-DMR.
Project description:Differential DNA methylation plays a critical role in the regulation of imprinted genes. The differentially methylated state of the imprinting control region is inherited via the gametes at fertilization, and is stably maintained in somatic cells throughout development, influencing the expression of genes across the imprinting cluster. In contrast, DNA methylation patterns are more labile at secondary differentially methylated regions which are established at imprinted loci during post-implantation development. To investigate the nature of these more variably methylated secondary differentially methylated regions, we adopted a hairpin linker bisulfite mutagenesis approach to examine CpG dyad methylation at differentially methylated regions associated with the murine Dlk1/Gtl2 imprinting cluster on both complementary strands.We observed homomethylation at greater than 90% of the methylated CpG dyads at the IG-DMR, which serves as the imprinting control element. In contrast, homomethylation was only observed at 67-78% of the methylated CpG dyads at the secondary differentially methylated regions; the remaining 22-33% of methylated CpG dyads exhibited hemimethylation.We propose that this high degree of hemimethylation could explain the variability in DNA methylation patterns at secondary differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted loci. We further suggest that the presence of 5-hydroxymethylation at secondary differentially methylated regions may result in hemimethylation and methylation variability as a result of passive and/or active demethylation mechanisms.
Project description:Uniparental disomy (UPD) for chromosome 14 is associated with well-recognized phenotypes, depending on the parent of origin. Studies in mouse models and human patients have implicated the involvement of the distal region of the long arm of chromosome 14 in the distinctive phenotypes. This involvement is supported by the identification of an imprinting cluster at chromosome 14q32, encompassing the differentially methylated regions (DMRs), IG-DMR and MEG3-DMR, as well as the maternally expressed genes GTL2, DIO3, and RTL1 and the paternally expressed genes DLK1, RTL1as, and MEG8. Here we report on a preterm female infant with distal segmental paternal UPD14 (upd(14)pat) of 14q32-14q32.33, which resulted in thoracic deformity secondary to rib abnormalities ("coat-hanger" rib sign), polyhydramnios, and other congenital abnormalities characteristically described in cases of complete upd(14)pat. Microsatellite investigation demonstrated UPD of markers D14S250 and D14S1010, encompassing a approximately 3.5 Mb region of distal 14q and involving the imprinting cluster. This case provided insight into the etiology of the phenotypic effects of upd(14)pat, prompting methylation analysis of the GTL2 promoter and the DMR between GTL2 and DLK1. We compare the physical findings seen in this case with those of patients with other causes of abnormal methylation of 14q32, which consistently result in certain distinct clinical features, regardless of the cytogenetic and molecular etiology.
Project description:Genomic imprinting at the Delta-like 1 (Dlk1)-Maternally expressed gene 3 (Meg3) locus is regulated by the Meg3 differentially methylated region (DMR), but the mechanism by which this DMR acts is unknown. The goal of this study was to analyze the Meg3 DMR during imprinting establishment and maintenance for the presence of histone modifications and trans-acting DNA binding proteins using chromatin immunoprecipitation. In embryonic stem (ES) cells, where Meg3 is biallelically expressed, the DMR showed variable DNA methylation, with biallelic methylation at one region but paternal allele-specific methylation at another. All histone modifications detected at the Meg3 DMR of ES cells were biallelic. In embryonic day 12.5 (e12.5) embryos, where Meg3 is maternally expressed, the paternal Meg3 DMR was methylated, and activating histone modifications were specific to the maternal DMR. DNA-binding proteins that represent potential regulatory factors were identified in both ES cells and embryos.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The human chromosome 14q32.2 imprinted region harbors the primary MEG3/DLK1:IG-differentially methylated region (DMR) and secondary MEG3:TSS-DMR. The MEG3:TSS-DMR can remain unmethylated only in the presence of unmethylated MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR in somatic tissues, but not in the placenta, because of a hierarchical regulation of the methylation pattern between the two DMRs. METHODS:We performed molecular studies in a 4-year-old Japanese girl with Temple syndrome (TS14). RESULTS:Pyrosequencing analysis showed extremely low methylation levels of five CpGs at the MEG3:TSS-DMR and grossly normal methylation levels of four CpGs at the MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR in leukocytes. HumanMethylation450 BeadChip confirmed marked hypomethylation of the MEG3:TSS-DMR and revealed multilocus imprinting disturbance (MLID) including mild hypomethylation of the H19/IGF2:IG-DMR and mild hypermethylation of the GNAS A/B:TSS-DMR in leukocytes. Bisulfite sequencing showed markedly hypomethylated CpGs at the MEG3:TSS-DMR and irregularly and non-differentially methylated CpGs at the MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR in leukocytes and apparently normal methylation patterns of the two DMRs in the placenta. Maternal uniparental disomy 14 and a deletion involving this imprinted region were excluded. CONCLUSIONS:Such a methylation pattern of the MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR has not been reported in patients with TS14. It may be possible that a certain degree of irregular hypomethylation at the MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR has prevented methylation of the MEG3:TSS-DMR in somatic tissues and that a hypermethylation type MLID has occurred at the MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR to yield the apparently normal methylation pattern in the placenta.
Project description:The chromosomal region 14q32 contains several imprinted genes, which are expressed either from the paternal (DLK1 and RTL1) or the maternal (MEG3, RTL1as and MEG8) allele only. Imprinted expression of these genes is regulated by two differentially methylated regions (DMRs), the germline DLK1/MEG3 intergenic (IG)-DMR (MEG3/DLK1:IG-DMR) and the somatic MEG3-DMR (MEG3:TSS-DMR), which are methylated on the paternal and unmethylated on the maternal allele. Disruption of imprinting in the 14q32 region results in two clinically distinct imprinting disorders, Temple syndrome (TS14) and Kagami-Ogata syndrome (KOS14). Another DMR with a yet unknown function is located in intron 2 of MEG8 (MEG8-DMR, MEG8:Int2-DMR). In contrast to the IG-DMR and the MEG3-DMR, this somatic DMR is methylated on the maternal chromosome and unmethylated on the paternal chromosome. We have performed extensive methylation analyses by deep bisulfite sequencing of the IG-DMR, MEG3-DMR and MEG8-DMR in different prenatal tissues including amniotic fluid cells and chorionic villi. In addition, we have studied the methylation pattern of the MEG8-DMR in different postnatal tissues. We show that the MEG8-DMR is hypermethylated in each of 13 non-deletion TS14 patients (seven newly identified and six previously published patients), irrespective of the underlying molecular cause, and is always hypomethylated in the four patients with KOS14, who have different deletions not encompassing the MEG8-DMR itself. The size and the extent of the deletions and the resulting methylation pattern suggest that transcription starting from the MEG3 promoter may be necessary to establish the methylation imprint at the MEG8-DMR.
Project description:The Dlk1-Dio3 imprinted domain functions in embryonic development but the roles of noncoding RNAs expressed from this domain remain unclear. We addressed this question by generating transgenic (TG) mice harbouring a BAC carrying IG-DMR (intergenic-differentially methylated region), Gtl2-DMR, Gtl2, Rtl1/Rtl1as, and part of Rian. High postnatal lethality (>85%) of the BAC-TG pups was observed in the maternally transmitted individuals (MAT-TG), but not following paternal transmission (PAT-TG). The DNA methylation status of IG-DMR and Gtl2-DMR in the BAC-allele was paternally imprinted similar to the genomic allele. The mRNA-Seq and miRNA-Seq analysis revealed marked expression changes in the MAT-TG, with 1,500 upregulated and 2,131 downregulated genes. The long noncoding RNAs and 12 miRNAs containing the BAC locus were markedly enhanced in the MAT-TG. We identified the 24 target genes of the overexpressed miRNAs and confirmed the downregulation in the MAT-TG. Notably, overexpression of mir770, mir493, and mir665 from Gtl2 in the MAT-TG embryos led to decreased expression of the 3 target genes, Col5a1, Pcgf2, and Clip2. Our results suggest that decreased expression of the 3 target genes concomitant with overexpression of the miRNAs within Gtl2 may be involved in the postnatal death in the MAT-TG. Because this imprinted domain is well conserved between mice and humans, the results of genetic and molecular analysis in mice hold important implications for related human disorders such as Temple syndrome.
Project description:The imprinted delta like 1 homolog (DLK1) - thyroxine deiodinase type III (DIO3) locus regulates development and growth. Its imprinting regulation involves two differentially methylated regions (DMRs), intergenic-DMR (IG-DMR) and maternally expressed gene 3-DMR (Meg3-DMR). In mice, a maternal deletion of the IG-DMR leads to LOI in the locus, proving that the IG-DMR is a cis-acting imprinting control region of the locus. However, the Meg3-DMR overlaps with the promoter, exon 1 and intron 1 of the Meg3 gene. Because deletion of the Meg3-DMR inactivates the Meg3 gene, their roles in imprinting regulation of Meg3-DMR mice is unknown. Therefore, we generated two mouse models: Meg3?(1-4) and Meg3?(2-4), respectively targeting exons 1-4 and exons 2-4 of the Meg3 gene. A maternal deletion of Meg3?(1-4) caused embryonic death and LOI in both embryos and placentas, but did not affect methylation status of the IG-DMR. In contrast, mice carrying a maternal deletion of Meg3?(2-4) were born normally and did not have LOI. These data indicate that it is the Meg3-DMR, not the Meg3 gene, which regulates imprinting of the Dlk1-Dio3 locus.