Inter- and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: evidence in asthma and COPD?
ABSTRACT: Evidence is now emerging that early life environment can have lifelong effects on metabolic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary function in offspring, a concept also known as fetal or developmental programming. In mammals, developmental programming is thought to occur mainly via epigenetic mechanisms, which include DNA methylation, histone modifications, and expression of non-coding RNAs. The effects of developmental programming can be induced by the intrauterine environment, leading to intergenerational epigenetic effects from one generation to the next. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance may be considered when developmental programming is transmitted across generations that were not exposed to the initial environment which triggered the change. So far, inter- and transgenerational programming has been mainly described for cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk. In this review, we discuss available evidence that epigenetic inheritance also occurs in respiratory diseases, using asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as examples. While multiple epidemiological as well as animal studies demonstrate effects of 'toxic' intrauterine exposure on various asthma-related phenotypes in the offspring, only few studies link epigenetic marks to the observed phenotypes. As epigenetic marks may distinguish individuals most at risk of later disease at early age, it will enable early intervention strategies to reduce such risks. To achieve this goal further, well designed experimental and human studies are needed.
Project description:Environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation has been shown to involve DNA methylation alterations in the germline (e.g. sperm). These differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) are termed epimutations and in part transmit the transgenerational phenotypes. The agricultural fungicide vinclozolin exposure of a gestating female rat has previously been shown to promote transgenerational disease and epimutations in F3 generation (great-grand-offspring) animals. The current study was designed to investigate the actions of direct fetal exposure on the F1 generation rat sperm DMRs compared to the F3 transgenerational sperm DMRs. A protocol involving methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) followed by next-generation sequencing (Seq) was used in the current study. Bioinformatics analysis of the MeDIP-Seq data was developed and several different variations in the bioinformatic analysis were evaluated. Observations indicate needs to be considered. Interestingly, the F1 generation DMRs were found to be fewer in number and for the most part distinct from the F3 generation epimutations. Observations suggest the direct exposure induced F1 generation sperm DMRs appear to promote in subsequent generations alterations in the germ cell developmental programming that leads to the distinct epimutations in the F3 generation. This may help explain the differences in disease and phenotypes between the direct exposure F1 generation and transgenerational F3 generation. Observations demonstrate a distinction between the direct exposure versus transgenerational epigenetic programming induced by environmental exposures and provide insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance phenomenon.
Project description:Transgenerational inheritance of abiotic stress-induced epigenetic modifications in plants has potential adaptive significance and might condition the offspring to improve the response to the same stress, but this is at least partly dependent on the potency, penetrance and persistence of the transmitted epigenetic marks. We examined transgenerational inheritance of low Relative Humidity-induced DNA methylation for two gene loci in the stomatal developmental pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana and the abundance of associated short-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Heritability of low humidity-induced methylation was more predictable and penetrative at one locus (SPEECHLESS, entropy ? 0.02; ?2 < 0.001) than the other (FAMA, entropy ? 0.17; ?2 ns). Methylation at SPEECHLESS correlated positively with the continued presence of local siRNAs (r2 = 0.87; p = 0.013) which, however, could be disrupted globally in the progeny under repeated stress. Transgenerational methylation and a parental low humidity-induced stomatal phenotype were heritable, but this was reversed in the progeny under repeated treatment in a previously unsuspected manner.
Project description:Intrauterine hypoxia is one of the most frequently occurring complications during pregnancy, and the effects of antenatal hypoxia in offspring are not restricted to the perinatal period. Previous studies have reported on this phenomenon, which is usually described as multigenerational or transgenerational inheritance. However, the exact mechanism of this type of inheritance is still not clear. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the alteration in the gene expression of oocytes, derived from intrauterine hypoxia rats and their offspring, by transcriptome sequencing. Our results showed that 11 differentially expressed genes were inherited from the F1 to F2 generation. Interestingly, these differentially expressed genes were enriched in processes predominantly involved in lipid and insulin metabolism. Overall, our data indicated that alteration in the gene expression of oocytes may be associated with some metabolic diseases and could potentially be the basis of transgenerational or multigenerational inheritance, induced by an adverse perinatal environment.
Project description:Experimental evidence shows that parental psychological stress affects the long-term health of offspring in an inheritable fashion. Although epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, miRNA, and histone modifications, are involved in transgenerational programming, the underlining mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance remain unsolved. Here, we present a single-cell-based computational model for transgenerational inheritance for investigating the long-term dynamics of phenotype changes in response to parental stress. The model is based on a recent study that has identified the imprinted sperm gene Sfmbt2 as a key target, and incorporates crosstalks among drastically different time scales in mammalian development, including DNA methylation, transcription, cell division, and population dynamics. Computational analysis of the model suggests a positive feedback to DNA methylation in the promoter region of sperm Sfmbt2 gene that provides a possible mechanism to mediate the parental psychological stress reprogramming in offspring. This approach provides a modeling framework for the understanding of the roles that epigenetics play in transgenerational inheritance.
Project description:Epigenetic alterations in the germline can be triggered by a number of different environmental factors from diet to toxicants. These environmentally induced germline changes can promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation. In previous studies, the pesticide DDT was shown to promote the transgenerational inheritance of sperm differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs), also called epimutations, which can in part mediate this epigenetic inheritance. In the current study, the developmental origins of the transgenerational DMRs during gametogenesis have been investigated. Male control and DDT lineage F3 generation rats were used to isolate embryonic day 16 (E16) prospermatogonia, postnatal day 10 (P10) spermatogonia, adult pachytene spermatocytes, round spermatids, caput epididymal spermatozoa, and caudal sperm. The DMRs between the control versus DDT lineage samples were determined at each developmental stage. The top 100 statistically significant DMRs at each stage were compared and the developmental origins of the caudal epididymal sperm DMRs were assessed. The chromosomal locations and genomic features of the different stage DMRs were analyzed. Although previous studies have demonstrated alterations in the DMRs of primordial germ cells (PGCs), the majority of the DMRs identified in the caudal sperm originated during the spermatogonia stages in the testis. Interestingly, a cascade of epigenetic alterations initiated in the PGCs is required to alter the epigenetic programming during spermatogenesis to obtain the sperm epigenetics involved in the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance phenomenon.
Project description:Environmental factors can stably perturb the epigenome of exposed individuals and even that of their offspring, but the pleiotropic effects of these factors have posed a challenge for understanding the determinants of mitotic or transgenerational inheritance of the epigenetic perturbation. To tackle this problem, we manipulated the epigenetic states of various target genes using a tetracycline-dependent transcription factor. Remarkably, transient manipulation at appropriate times during embryogenesis led to aberrant epigenetic modifications in the ensuing adults regardless of the modification patterns, target gene sequences or locations, and despite lineage-specific epigenetic programming that could reverse the epigenetic perturbation, thus revealing extraordinary malleability of the fetal epigenome, which has implications for 'metastable epialleles'. However, strong transgenerational inheritance of these perturbations was observed only at transgenes integrated at the Col1a1 locus, where both activating and repressive chromatin modifications were heritable for multiple generations; such a locus is unprecedented. Thus, in our inducible animal models, mitotic inheritance of epigenetic perturbation seems critically dependent on the timing of the perturbation, whereas transgenerational inheritance additionally depends on the location of the perturbation. In contrast, other parameters examined, particularly the chromatin modification pattern and DNA sequence, appear irrelevant.
Project description:It is understood that intrauterine hyperglycemia increases the risk of obesity and diabetes in offspring of consecutive generations but its mechanisms remain obscure. This study is aimed at establishing an intrauterine hyperglycemia rat model to investigate the growth and glycolipid metabolic characteristics in transgenerational offspring and discuss the effects of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 11 (ARHGEF11) and the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway in offspring development. The severe intrauterine hyperglycemia rat model was caused by STZ injection before mating, while offspring development and glycolipid metabolism were observed for the following two generations. The expression of ARHGEF11, ROCK1, PI3K, and AKT was tested in the liver and muscle tissue of F2 offspring. The results showed severe growth restriction in F1 offspring and obesity, fatty liver, and insulin resistance in female F2 offspring, especially the offspring of female intrauterine hyperglycemia-exposed parents (F2G?C?) and both (F2G?G?). The expression of ARHGEF11 and ROCK1 was significantly elevated; PI3K and phosphorylation of AKT were significantly decreased in liver tissues of F2G?C? and F2G?G?. Our study revealed that intrauterine hyperglycemia could cause obesity and abnormal glycolipid metabolism in female transgenerational offspring; the programming effect of the intrauterine environment could cause a more obvious phenotype in the maternal line. Further exploration suggested that increased expression of ARHGEF11 and ROCK1 and the decreased expression of PI3K and phosphorylation of AKT in the liver could be responsible for the abnormal development in F2 offspring.
Project description:Gestational diabetes mellitus(GDM) will bring health issues for offspring. The offspring of diabetic mothers often reveal high birth weight and are prone to have obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia. It was implied that the phenotype of offspring might be influenced by intrauterine environment and planned in utero already in addition to the genetic influences.‘Programming’ refers to the process whereby a stimulus at a critical window of development has long-term effects. A large body of studies investigated the adverse intrauterine environment was correlated with poor fetal growth and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the adulthood. Epigenetic mechanism has been proposed to involve in the link between environmental and nutritional factors and gene expression regulation. DNA methylation is one of the major epigenetic modifications. We hypothesized that DNA methylation changes could participate in the gene expression related to glucose intolerance in the offspring. Furthermore, DNA methylation might also determine the transgenerational disease transmission. comparison of intrauterine hyperglycemia exposed rats vs. control rats for genome-wide DNA methylation changes
Project description:A variety of environmental toxicants have been shown to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation. The process involves exposure of a gestating female and the developing fetus to environmental factors that promote permanent alterations in the epigenetic programming of the germline. The molecular aspects of the phenomenon involve epigenetic modifications (epimutations) in the germline (e.g. sperm) that are transmitted to subsequent generations. The current study integrates previously described experimental epigenomic transgenerational data and web-based bioinformatic analyses to identify genomic features associated with these transgenerationally transmitted epimutations. A previously identified genomic feature associated with these epimutations is a low CpG density (<12/100bp). The current observations suggest the transgenerational differential DNA methylation regions (DMR) in sperm contain unique consensus DNA sequence motifs, zinc finger motifs and G-quadruplex sequences. Interaction of molecular factors with these sequences could alter chromatin structure and accessibility of proteins with DNA methyltransferases to alter de novo DNA methylation patterns. G-quadruplex regions can promote the opening of the chromatin that may influence the action of DNA methyltransferases, or factors interacting with them, for the establishment of epigenetic marks. Zinc finger binding factors can also promote this chromatin remodeling and influence the expression of non-coding RNA. The current study identified genomic features associated with sperm epimutations that may explain in part how these sites become susceptible for transgenerational programming.
Project description:The nutritional environment in which the mammalian fetus or infant develop is recognized as influencing the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, in a phenomenon that has become known as developmental programming. The late onset of such diseases in response to earlier transient experiences has led to the suggestion that developmental programming may have an epigenetic component, because epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation or histone tail modifications could provide a persistent memory of earlier nutritional states. One class of genes that has been considered a potential target or mediator of programming events is imprinted genes, because these genes critically depend upon epigenetic modifications for correct expression and because many imprinted genes have roles in controlling fetal growth as well as neonatal and adult metabolism. In this study, we have used an established model of developmental programming-isocaloric protein restriction to female mice during gestation or lactation-to examine whether there are effects on expression and DNA methylation of imprinted genes in the offspring. We find that although expression of some imprinted genes in liver of offspring is robustly and sustainably changed, methylation of the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that control their monoallelic expression remains largely unaltered. We conclude that deregulation of imprinting through a general effect on DMR methylation is unlikely to be a common factor in developmental programming.