Epigenetic regulation of the X-chromosomal macrosatellite repeat encoding for the cancer/testis gene CT47

Department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG (Impact Factor: 4.35). 08/2011; 20(2):185-91. DOI: 10.1038/ejhg.2011.150
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Macrosatellite repeats (MSRs) present an extreme example of copy number variation, yet their epigenetic regulation in normal and malignant cells is largely understudied. The CT47 cancer/testis antigen located on human Xq24 is organized as an array of 4.8 kb large units. CT47 is expressed in the testis and in certain types of cancer, but not in non-malignant somatic tissue. We used CT47 as a model to study a possible correlation between copy number variation, epigenetic regulation and transcription originating from MSRs in normal and malignant cells. In lymphoblastoid cell lines and primary fibroblasts, CT47 expression was absent, consistent with the observed heterochromatic structure and DNA hypermethylation of the CT47 promoter. Heterochromatinization of CT47 occurs early during development as human embryonic stem cells show high levels of DNA methylation and repressive chromatin modifications in the absence of CT47 expression. In small-cell lung carcinoma cell lines with low levels of CT47 transcripts, we observed reduced levels of histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) and trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) without concomitant increase in euchromatic histone modifications. DNA methylation levels in the promoter region of CT47 are also significantly reduced in these cells. This supports a model in which during oncogenic transformation, there is a relative loss of repressive chromatin markers resulting in leaky expression of CT47. We conclude that some MSRs, like CT47 and the autosomal MSRs TAF11-Like, PRR20, ZAV and D4Z4, the latter being involved in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, seem to be governed by common regulatory mechanisms with their abundant expression mostly being restricted to the germ line.

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Available from: Judit Balog, Sep 26, 2015
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    • "Most large tandem repeats are arranged into heterochromatin (22,35,36,37). Notable exceptions include the X-linked macrosatellite DXZ4 (6), that adopts both euchromatin and heterochromatin arrangements in response to X chromosome inactivation (22,23), and the chromosome 4 macrosatellite D4Z4, that adopts a more euchromatic organization in response to a reduction in the tandem repeat copy number (37,38), or due to haploinsufficiency of the heterochromatin protein SMCHD1 (39). "
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    ABSTRACT: The human genome contains numerous large tandem repeats, many of which remain poorly characterized. Here we report a novel transfer RNA (tRNA) tandem repeat on human chromosome 1q23.3 that shows extensive copy number variation with 9–43 repeat units per allele and displays evidence of meiotic and mitotic instability. Each repeat unit consists of a 7.3 kb GC-rich sequence that binds the insulator protein CTCF and bears the chromatin hallmarks of a bivalent domain in human embryonic stem cells. A tRNA containing tandem repeat composed of at least three 7.6-kb GC-rich repeat units reside within a syntenic region of mouse chromosome 1. However, DNA sequence analysis reveals that, with the exception of the tRNA genes that account for less than 6% of a repeat unit, the remaining 7.2 kb is not conserved with the notable exception of a 24 base pair sequence corresponding to the CTCF binding site, suggesting an important role for this protein at the locus.
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    • "As is the case for D4Z4, where repeat contraction inflicted chromatin changes result in the loss of control over the DUX4 gene, it is not inconceivable that inappropriate transcriptional activity of any MSR may have phenotypic consequences, including disease. Indeed, we and others have shown that the chromatin structure and transcriptional activity of MSRs is tightly controlled and that in disease conditions, like FSHD and cancer, there is a loss of control over their regulation [4,9-11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Macrosatellite repeats (MSRs), usually spanning hundreds of kilobases of genomic DNA, comprise a significant proportion of the human genome. Because of their highly polymorphic nature, MSRs represent an extreme example of copy number variation, but their structure and function is largely understudied. Here, we describe a detailed study of six autosomal and two X chromosomal MSRs among 270 HapMap individuals from Central Europe, Asia and Africa. Copy number variation, stability and genetic heterogeneity of the autosomal macrosatellite repeats RS447 (chromosome 4p), MSR5p (5p), FLJ40296 (13q), RNU2 (17q) and D4Z4 (4q and 10q) and X chromosomal DXZ4 and CT47 were investigated. Repeat array size distribution analysis shows that all of these MSRs are highly polymorphic with the most genetic variation among Africans and the least among Asians. A mitotic mutation rate of 0.4-2.2% was observed, exceeding meiotic mutation rates and possibly explaining the large size variability found for these MSRs. By means of a novel Bayesian approach, statistical support for a distinct multimodal rather than a uniform allele size distribution was detected in seven out of eight MSRs, with evidence for equidistant intervals between the modes. The multimodal distributions with evidence for equidistant intervals, in combination with the observation of MSR-specific constraints on minimum array size, suggest that MSRs are limited in their configurations and that deviations thereof may cause disease, as is the case for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. However, at present we cannot exclude that there are mechanistic constraints for MSRs that are not directly disease-related. This study represents the first comprehensive study of MSRs in different human populations by applying novel statistical methods and identifies commonalities and differences in their organization and function in the human genome.
    BMC Genomics 03/2013; 14(1):143. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-143 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subtelomeres are patchworks of evolutionary conserved sequence blocks and harbor the transcriptional start sites for telomere repeat containing RNAs (TERRA). Recent studies suggest that the interplay between telomeres and subtelomeric chromatin is required for maintaining telomere function. To further characterize chromatin remodeling of subtelomeres in relation to telomere shortening and cellular senescence, we systematically quantified histone modifications and DNA methylation at the subtelomeres of chromosomes 7q and 11q in primary human WI-38 fibroblasts. Upon senescence, both subtelomeres were characterized by a decrease in markers of constitutive heterochromatin, suggesting relative chromatin relaxation. However, we did not find increased levels of markers of euchromatin or derepression of the 7q VIPR2 gene. The repressed state of the subtelomeres was maintained upon senescence, which could be attributed to a rise in levels of facultative heterochromatin markers at both subtelomeres. While senescence-induced subtelomeric chromatin remodeling was similar for both chromosomes, chromatin remodeling at TERRA promoters displayed chromosome-specific patterns. At the 7q TERRA promoter, chromatin structure was co-regulated with the more proximal subtelomere. In contrast, the 11q TERRA promoter, which was previously shown to be bound by CCCTC-binding factor CTCF, displayed lower levels of markers of constitutive heterochromatin that did not change upon senescence, whereas levels of markers of facultative heterochromatin decreased upon senescence. In line with the chromatin state data, transcription of 11q TERRA but not 7q TERRA was detected. Our study provides a detailed description of human subtelomeric chromatin dynamics and shows distinct regulation of the TERRA promoters of 7q and 11q upon cellular senescence.
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