DNA methylation dynamics in the germline of the marsupial tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii.
ABSTRACT: Parent specific-DNA methylation is the genomic imprint that induces mono-allelic gene expression dependent on parental origin. Resetting of DNA methylation in the germ line is mediated by a genome-wide re-methylation following demethylation known as epigenetic reprogramming. Most of our understanding of epigenetic reprogramming in germ cells is based on studies in mice, but little is known about this in marsupials. We examined genome-wide changes in DNA methylation levels by measuring 5-methylcytosine expression, and mRNA expression and protein localization of the key enzyme DNA methyltransferase 3 L (DNMT3L) during germ cell development of the marsupial tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii. Our data clearly showed that the relative timing of genome-wide changes in DNA methylation was conserved between the tammar and mouse, but in the tammar it all occurred post-natally. In the female tammar, genome-wide demethylation occurred in two phases, I and II, suggesting that there is an unidentified demethylation mechanism in this species. Although the localization pattern of DNMT3L in male germ cells differed, the expression patterns of DNMT3L were broadly conserved between tammar, mouse and human. Thus, the basic mechanisms of DNA methylation-reprogramming must have been established before the marsupial-eutherian mammal divergence over 160 Mya.
Project description:The production of mature germ cells capable of generating totipotent zygotes is a highly specialized and sexually dimorphic process. The transition from diploid primordial germ cell to haploid spermatozoa requires genome-wide reprogramming of DNA methylation, stage- and testis-specific gene expression, mitotic and meiotic division, and the histone-protamine transition, all requiring unique epigenetic control. Dnmt3L, a DNA methyltransferase regulator, is expressed during gametogenesis, and its deletion results in sterility. We found that during spermatogenesis, Dnmt3L contributes to the acquisition of DNA methylation at paternally imprinted regions, unique nonpericentric heterochromatic sequences, and interspersed repeats, including autonomous transposable elements. We observed retrotransposition of an LTR-ERV1 element in the DNA from Dnmt3L-/- germ cells, presumably as a result of hypomethylation. Later in development, in Dnmt3L-/- meiotic spermatocytes, we detected abnormalities in the status of biochemical markers of heterochromatin, implying aberrant chromatin packaging. Coincidentally, homologous chromosomes fail to align and form synaptonemal complexes, spermatogenesis arrests, and spermatocytes are lost by apoptosis and sloughing. Because Dnmt3L expression is restricted to gonocytes, the presence of defects in later stages reveals a mechanism whereby early genome reprogramming is linked inextricably to changes in chromatin structure required for completion of spermatogenesis.
Project description:Meiosis is a germ-cell-specific cell division process through which haploid gametes are produced for sexual reproduction. Before the initiation of meiosis, mouse primordial germ cells undergo a series of epigenetic reprogramming steps, including the global erasure of DNA methylation at the 5-position of cytosine (5mC) in CpG-rich DNA. Although several epigenetic regulators, such as Dnmt3l and the histone methyltransferases G9a and Prdm9, have been reported to be crucial for meiosis, little is known about how the expression of meiotic genes is regulated and how their expression contributes to normal meiosis. Using a loss-of-function approach in mice, here we show that the 5mC-specific dioxygenase Tet1 has an important role in regulating meiosis in mouse oocytes. Tet1 deficiency significantly reduces female germ-cell numbers and fertility. Univalent chromosomes and unresolved DNA double-strand breaks are also observed in Tet1-deficient oocytes. Tet1 deficiency does not greatly affect the genome-wide demethylation that takes place in primordial germ cells, but leads to defective DNA demethylation and decreased expression of a subset of meiotic genes. Our study thus establishes a function for Tet1 in meiosis and meiotic gene activation in female germ cells.
Project description:Genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation takes place in primordial germ cells (PGCs) and early embryos but the signalling mechanisms that induce reprogramming are unknown. Here we show that inhibition of Erk1/2 and Gsk3bM-BM- signalling in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by small molecule inhibitors (PD0325901 and CHIR99021, hereafter called 2i)M-BM- induces genome-wide demethylation on a scale similar to that in PGCs and early embryos, with only major satellites, intracisternal A particles (IAPs) and imprinted genes relatively resistant to erasure. Demethylation involves oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) in part by Tet1 together with repression of theM-BM- de novoM-BM- methyltransferases (Dnmt3a, Dnmt3b) and their regulator Dnmt3L and we identify aM-BM- cis-acting regulatory region inM-BM- Dnmt3bM-BM- that is highly responsive to signalling. Notably, this epigenetic and transcriptional ground state of pluripotency resembles closely that of inner cell mass (ICM) cells of the blastocyst. These insights provide a novel framework for understanding how signalling pathways regulate epigenetic reprogramming. mRNA and methylation profiles of ES cells passaged with or without 2i inhibitors were generated by deep sequencing, using Illumina GAIIx and HiSeq.
Project description:Genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation takes place in primordial germ cells (PGCs) and early embryos and is linked with pluripotency. Inhibition of Erk1/2 and Gsk3β signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by small-molecule inhibitors (called 2i) has recently been shown to induce hypomethylation. We show by whole-genome bisulphite sequencing that 2i induces rapid and genome-wide demethylation on a scale and pattern similar to that in migratory PGCs and early embryos. Major satellites, intracisternal A particles (IAPs), and imprinted genes remain relatively resistant to erasure. Demethylation involves oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), impaired maintenance of 5mC and 5hmC, and repression of the de novo methyltransferases (Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b) and Dnmt3L. We identify a Prdm14- and Nanog-binding cis-acting regulatory region in Dnmt3b that is highly responsive to signaling. These insights provide a framework for understanding how signaling pathways regulate reprogramming to an epigenetic ground state of pluripotency.
Project description:A critical aspect of mammalian gametogenesis is the reprogramming of genomic DNA methylation. The catalytically inactive adaptor Dnmt3L is essential to ensuring this occurs correctly, but the mechanism by which it functions is unclear. Using gene targeting to engineer a single-amino-acid mutation, we show that the Dnmt3L histone H3 binding domain (ADD) is necessary for spermatogenesis. Genome-wide single-base-resolution DNA methylome analysis of mutant germ cells revealed overall reductions in CG methylation at repetitive sequences and non-promoter CpG islands. Strikingly, we also observe an even more severe loss of non-CG methylation, suggesting an unexpected role for the ADD in this process. These epigenetic deficiencies were coupled with defects in spermatogonia, with mutant cells displaying marked changes in gene expression and reactivation of retrotransposons. Our results demonstrate that the Dnmt3L ADD is necessary for Dnmt3L function and full reproductive fitness.
Project description:Genome-wide dynamic changes in DNA methylation are indispensable for germline development and genomic imprinting in mammals. Here, we report single-base resolution DNA methylome and transcriptome maps of mouse germ cells, generated using whole-genome shotgun bisulfite sequencing and cDNA sequencing (mRNA-seq). Oocyte genomes showed a significant positive correlation between mRNA transcript levels and methylation of the transcribed region. Sperm genomes had nearly complete coverage of methylation, except in the CpG-rich regions, and showed a significant negative correlation between gene expression and promoter methylation. Thus, these methylome maps revealed that oocytes and sperms are widely different in the extent and distribution of DNA methylation. Furthermore, a comparison of oocyte and sperm methylomes identified more than 1,600 CpG islands differentially methylated in oocytes and sperm (germline differentially methylated regions, gDMRs), in addition to the known imprinting control regions (ICRs). About half of these differentially methylated DNA sequences appear to be at least partially resistant to the global DNA demethylation that occurs during preimplantation development. In the absence of Dnmt3L, neither methylation of most oocyte-methylated gDMRs nor intragenic methylation was observed. There was also genome-wide hypomethylation, and partial methylation at particular retrotransposons, while maintaining global gene expression, in oocytes. Along with the identification of the many Dnmt3L-dependent gDMRs at intragenic regions, the present results suggest that oocyte methylation can be divided into 2 types: Dnmt3L-dependent methylation, which is required for maternal methylation imprinting, and Dnmt3L-independent methylation, which might be essential for endogenous retroviral DNA silencing. The present data provide entirely new perspectives on the evaluation of epigenetic markers in germline cells.
Project description:Epigenetic reprogramming including demethylation of DNA occurs in mammalian primordial germ cells (PGCs) and in early embryos, and is important for the erasure of imprints and epimutations, and the return to pluripotency. The extent of this reprogramming and its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We previously showed that the cytidine deaminases Aid and Apobec1 can deaminate 5-methylcytosine in vitro and in E coli, and in the mouse are expressed in tissues in which demethylation occurs. Here we profiled DNA methylation throughout the genome by unbiased bisulfite Next Generation Sequencing (BS-Seq) in wildtype and Aid deficient PGCs at E13.5. Wildtype PGCs revealed dramatic genome-wide erasure of methylation to a level below that of methylation deficient (Np95-/-) ES cells, with female PGCs being less methylated than male ones. By contrast, Aid deficient PGCs were up to three times more methylated than wildtype ones; this substantial difference occurred throughout the genome, with introns, intergenic regions and transposons being relatively more methylated than exons. Relative hypermethylation in Aid deficient PGCs was confirmed by analysis of individual loci in the genome. Our results reveal that erasure of DNA methylation in the germ line is a global process, hence limiting the potential for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Aid deficiency interferes with genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation patterns, suggesting that Aid has a critical function in epigenetic reprogramming and potentially in restricting the inheritance of epimutations in mammals. Comparison of methylation in wild-type and Aid deficient mouse tissues
Project description:BACKGROUND: Epigenetic reprogramming is critical for genome regulation during germ line development. Genome-wide demethylation in mouse primordial germ cells (PGC) is a unique reprogramming event essential for erasing epigenetic memory and preventing the transmission of epimutations to the next generation. In addition to DNA demethylation, PGC are subject to a major reprogramming of histone marks, and many of these changes are concurrent with a cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase. There is limited information on how well conserved these events are in mammals. Here we report on the dynamic reprogramming of DNA methylation at CpGs of imprinted loci and DNA repeats, and the global changes in H3K27me3 and H3K9me2 in the developing germ line of the domestic pig. RESULTS: Our results show loss of DNA methylation in PGC colonizing the genital ridges. Analysis of IGF2-H19 regulatory region showed a gradual demethylation between E22-E42. In contrast, DMR2 of IGF2R was already demethylated in male PGC by E22. In females, IGF2R demethylation was delayed until E29-31, and was de novo methylated by E42. DNA repeats were gradually demethylated from E25 to E29-31, and became de novo methylated by E42. Analysis of histone marks showed strong H3K27me3 staining in migratory PGC between E15 and E21. In contrast, H3K9me2 signal was low in PGC by E15 and completely erased by E21. Cell cycle analysis of gonadal PGC (E22-31) showed a typical pattern of cycling cells, however, migrating PGC (E17) showed an increased proportion of cells in G2. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that epigenetic reprogramming occurs in pig migratory and gonadal PGC, and establishes the window of time for the occurrence of these events. Reprogramming of histone H3K9me2 and H3K27me3 detected between E15-E21 precedes the dynamic DNA demethylation at imprinted loci and DNA repeats between E22-E42. Our findings demonstrate that major epigenetic reprogramming in the pig germ line follows the overall dynamics shown in mice, suggesting that epigenetic reprogramming of germ cells is conserved in mammals. A better understanding of the sequential reprogramming of PGC in the pig will facilitate the derivation of embryonic germ cells in this species.
Project description:DNA methylation is mediated by a conserved family of DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts). The human genome encodes three active Dnmts (Dnmt1, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b), the tRNA methyltransferase Dnmt2, and the regulatory protein Dnmt3L. Despite their high degree of conservation among different species, genes encoding Dnmts have been duplicated and/or lost in multiple lineages throughout evolution, indicating that the DNA methylation machinery has some potential to undergo evolutionary change. However, little is known about the extent to which this machinery, or the methylome, varies among vertebrates. Here, we study the molecular evolution of Dnmt1, the enzyme responsible for maintenance of DNA methylation patterns after replication, in 79 vertebrate species. Our analyses show that all studied species exhibit a single copy of the DNMT1 gene, with the exception of tilapia and marsupials (tammar wallaby, koala, Tasmanian devil and opossum), each of which displays two apparently functional DNMT1 copies. Our phylogenetic analyses indicate that DNMT1 duplicated before the radiation of major marsupial groups (i.e., at least ~75 million years ago), thus giving rise to two DNMT1 copies in marsupials (copy 1 and copy 2). In the opossum lineage, copy 2 was lost, and copy 1 recently duplicated again, generating three DNMT1 copies: two putatively functional genes (copy 1a and 1b) and one pseudogene (copy 1ψ). Both marsupial copies (DNMT1 copies 1 and 2) are under purifying selection, and copy 2 exhibits elevated rates of evolution and signatures of positive selection, suggesting a scenario of neofunctionalization. This gene duplication might have resulted in modifications in marsupial methylomes and their dynamics.
Project description:Epigenetic reprogramming including demethylation of DNA occurs in mammalian primordial germ cells (PGCs) and in early embryos, and is important for the erasure of imprints and epimutations, and the return to pluripotency. The extent of this reprogramming and its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We previously showed that the cytidine deaminases AID and APOBEC1 can deaminate 5-methylcytosine in vitro and in Escherichia coli, and in the mouse are expressed in tissues in which demethylation occurs. Here we profiled DNA methylation throughout the genome by unbiased bisulphite next generation sequencing in wild-type and AID-deficient mouse PGCs at embryonic day (E)13.5. Wild-type PGCs revealed marked genome-wide erasure of methylation to a level below that of methylation deficient (Np95(-/-), also called Uhrf1(-/-)) embryonic stem cells, with female PGCs being less methylated than male ones. By contrast, AID-deficient PGCs were up to three times more methylated than wild-type ones; this substantial difference occurred throughout the genome, with introns, intergenic regions and transposons being relatively more methylated than exons. Relative hypermethylation in AID-deficient PGCs was confirmed by analysis of individual loci in the genome. Our results reveal that erasure of DNA methylation in the germ line is a global process, hence limiting the potential for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. AID deficiency interferes with genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation patterns, indicating that AID has a critical function in epigenetic reprogramming and potentially in restricting the inheritance of epimutations in mammals.