DNA Methylation Is Required for Silencing of Ant4, an Adenine Nucleotide Translocase Selectively Expressed in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells and Germ Cells
ABSTRACT The capacity for cellular differentiation is governed not only by the repertoire of available transcription factors but by the accessibility of cis-regulatory elements. Studying changes in epigenetic modifications during stem cell differentiation will help us understand how cells maintain or lose differentiation potential. We investigated changes in DNA methylation during the transition of pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into differentiated cell types. Using a methylation-sensitive restriction fingerprinting method, we identified a novel adenine nucleotide (ADP/ATP) translocase gene, Ant4, that was selectively hypomethylated and expressed in undifferentiated mouse ESCs. In contrast to other pluripotent stem cell–specific genes such as Oct-4 and Nanog, the Ant4 gene was readily derepressed in differentiated cells after 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine treatment. Moreover, expression of de novo DNA methyltransferases Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b was essential for repression and DNA methylation of the Ant4 gene during ESC differentiation. Although the deduced amino acid sequence of Ant4 is highly homologous to the previously identified Ant isoforms, the expression of Ant4 was uniquely restricted to developing gametes in adult mice, and its promoter hypomethylation was observed only in testis. Additionally, Ant4 was expressed in primordial germ cells. These data indicate that Ant4 is a pluripotent stem cell– and germ cell–specific isoform of adenine nucleotide translocase in mouse and that DNA methylation plays a primary role in its transcriptional silencing in somatic cells.
Article: Functional expression of human adenine nucleotide translocase 4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) mediates the exchange of ADP and ATP across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The human genome encodes multiple ANT isoforms that are expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Recently a novel germ cell-specific member of the ANT family, ANT4 (SLC25A31) was identified. Although it is known that targeted depletion of ANT4 in mice resulted in male infertility, the functional biochemical differences between ANT4 and other somatic ANT isoforms remain undetermined. To gain insight into ANT4, we expressed human ANT4 (hANT4) in yeast mitochondria. Unlike the somatic ANT proteins, expression of hANT4 failed to complement an AAC-deficient yeast strain for growth on media requiring mitochondrial respiration. Moreover, overexpression of hANT4 from a multi-copy plasmid interfered with optimal yeast growth. However, mutation of specific amino acids of hANT4 improved yeast mitochondrial expression and supported growth of the AAC-deficient yeast on non-fermentable carbon sources. The mutations affected amino acids predicted to interact with phospholipids, suggesting the importance of lipid interactions for function of this protein. Each mutant hANT4 and the somatic hANTs exhibited similar ADP/ATP exchange kinetics. These data define common and distinct biochemical characteristics of ANT4 in comparison to ANT1, 2 and 3 providing a basis for study of its unique adaptation to germ cells.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e19250. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Evolutionary genomics implies a specific function of Ant4 in mammalian and anole lizard male germ cells.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Most vertebrates have three paralogous genes with identical intron-exon structures and a high degree of sequence identity that encode mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocase (Ant) proteins, Ant1 (Slc25a4), Ant2 (Slc25a5) and Ant3 (Slc25a6). Recently, we and others identified a fourth mammalian Ant paralog, Ant4 (Slc25a31), with a distinct intron-exon structure and a lower degree of sequence identity. Ant4 was expressed selectively in testis and sperm in adult mammals and was indeed essential for mouse spermatogenesis, but it was absent in birds, fish and frogs. Since Ant2 is X-linked in mammalian genomes, we hypothesized that the autosomal Ant4 gene may compensate for the loss of Ant2 gene expression during male meiosis in mammals. Here we report that the Ant4 ortholog is conserved in green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) and demonstrate that it is expressed in the anole testis. Further, a degenerate DNA fragment of putative Ant4 gene was identified in syntenic regions of avian genomes, indicating that Ant4 was present in the common amniote ancestor. Phylogenetic analyses suggest an even more ancient origin of the Ant4 gene. Although anole lizards are presumed male (XY) heterogametic, like mammals, copy numbers of the Ant2 as well as its neighboring gene were similar between male and female anole genomes, indicating that the anole Ant2 gene is either autosomal or located in the pseudoautosomal region of the sex chromosomes, in contrast to the case to mammals. These results imply the conservation of Ant4 is not likely simply driven by the sex chromosomal localization of the Ant2 gene and its subsequent inactivation during male meiosis. Taken together with the fact that Ant4 protein has a uniquely conserved structure when compared to other somatic Ant1, 2 and 3, there may be a specific advantage for mammals and lizards to express Ant4 in their male germ cells.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(8):e23122. · 4.09 Impact Factor