Accelerated methylation of ribosomal RNA genes during the cellular senescence of Werner syndrome fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) metabolism has been implicated in cellular and organismal aging. The role of rDNA in premature and normal human aging was investigated by measuring rDNA gene copy number, the level of rDNA methylation, and rRNA expression during the in vitro senescence of primary fibroblasts from normal (young and old) donors and from Werner syndrome (WS) patients. In comparison to their normal counterparts, WS fibroblasts grew slowly and reached senescence after fewer doublings. The rDNA copy number did not change significantly throughout the life span of both normal and WS fibroblasts. However, in senescent WS and normal old fibroblasts, we detected rDNA species with unusually slow electrophoretic mobility. Cellular aging in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is accompanied by the formation and accumulation of rDNA circles. Our analysis revealed that the rDNA species observed in this study were longer, linear rDNA molecules attributable to the inhibition of ECO:RI cleavage by methylation. Furthermore, isoschizomeric restriction analysis confirmed that in vitro senescence of fibroblasts is accompanied by significant increases in cytosine methylation within rDNA genes. This increased methylation is maximal during the abbreviated life span of WS fibroblasts. Despite increased methylation of rDNA in senescent cells, the steady-state levels of 28S rRNA remained constant over the life span of both normal and WS fibroblasts.
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ABSTRACT: Alterations in gene expression in the suicide brain have been reported and for several genes DNA methylation as an epigenetic regulator is thought to play a role. rRNA genes, that encode ribosomal RNA, are the backbone of the protein synthesis machinery and levels of rRNA gene promoter methylation determine rRNA transcription. We test here by sodium bisulfite mapping of the rRNA promoter and quantitative real-time PCR of rRNA expression the hypothesis that epigenetic differences in critical loci in the brain are involved in the pathophysiology of suicide. Suicide subjects in this study were selected for a history of early childhood neglect/abuse, which is associated with decreased hippocampal volume and cognitive impairments. rRNA was significantly hypermethylated throughout the promoter and 5' regulatory region in the brain of suicide subjects, consistent with reduced rRNA expression in the hippocampus. This difference in rRNA methylation was not evident in the cerebellum and occurred in the absence of genome-wide changes in methylation, as assessed by nearest neighbor. This is the first study to show aberrant regulation of the protein synthesis machinery in the suicide brain. The data implicate the epigenetic modulation of rRNA in the pathophysiology of suicide.PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(5):e2085. · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ribosomal deficits are documented in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often represents an early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD), as well as in advanced AD. The nucleolar rRNA genes (rDNA), transcription of which is critical for ribosomal biogenesis, are regulated by epigenetic silencing including promoter CpG methylation. To assess whether CpG methylation of the rDNA promoter was dysregulated across the AD spectrum, we analyzed brain samples from 10 MCI-, 23 AD-, and, 24 age-matched control individuals using bisulfite mapping. The rDNA promoter became hypermethylated in cerebro-cortical samples from MCI and AD groups. In parietal cortex, the rDNA promoter was hypermethylated more in MCI than in advanced AD. The cytosine methylation of total genomic DNA was similar in AD, MCI, and control samples. Consistent with a notion that hypermethylation-mediated silencing of the nucleolar chromatin stabilizes rDNA loci, preventing their senescence-associated loss, genomic rDNA content was elevated in cerebrocortical samples from MCI and AD groups. In conclusion, rDNA hypermethylation could be a new epigenetic marker of AD. Moreover, silencing of nucleolar chromatin may occur during early stages of AD pathology and play a role in AD-related ribosomal deficits and, ultimately, dementia.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e22585. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Characterization of cytosine methylated regions and 5-cytosine DNA methyltransferase (Ehmeth) in the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The DNA methylation status of the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica was heretofore unknown. In the present study, we developed a new technique, based on the affinity of methylated DNA to 5-methylcytosine antibodies, to identify methylated DNA in this parasite. Ribosomal DNA and ribosomal DNA circles were isolated by this method and we confirmed the validity of our approach by sodium bisulfite sequencing. We also report the identification and the characterization of a gene, Ehmeth, encoding a DNA methyltransferase strongly homologous to the human DNA methyltransferase 2 (Dnmt2). Immunofluorescence microscopy using an antibody raised against a recombinant Ehmeth showed that Ehmeth is concentrated in the nuclei of trophozoites. The recombinant Ehmeth has a weak but significant methyltransferase activity when E.histolytica genomic DNA is used as substrate. 5-Azacytidine (5-AzaC), an inhibitor of DNA methyltransferase, was used to study in vivo the role of DNA methylation in E.histolytica. Genomic DNA of trophozoites grown with 5-AzaC (23 microM) was undermethylated and the ability of 5-AzaC-treated trophozoites to kill mammalian cells or to cause liver abscess in hamsters was strongly impaired.Nucleic Acids Research 02/2004; 32(1):287-97. · 8.03 Impact Factor