Epigenetic modifications in an imprinting cluster are controlled by a hierarchy of DMRs suggesting long-range chromatin interactions.

Laboratory of Developmental Genetics and Imprinting, Developmental Genetics Programme, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK.
Human Molecular Genetics (Impact Factor: 6.68). 03/2003; 12(3):295-305.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Imprinted genes and their control elements occur in clusters in the mammalian genome and carry epigenetic modifications. Observations from imprinting disorders suggest that epigenetic modifications throughout the clusters could be under regional control. However, neither the elements that are responsible for regional control, nor its developmental timing, particularly whether it occurs in the germline or postzygotically, are known. Here we examine regional control of DNA methylation in the imprinted Igf2-H19 region in the mouse. Paternal germline specific methylation was reprogrammed after fertilization in two differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in Igf2, and was reestablished after implantation. Using a number of knockout strains in the region, we found that the DMRs themselves are involved in regional coordination in a hierarchical fashion. Thus the H19 DMR was needed on the maternal allele to protect the Igf2 DMRs 1 and 2 from methylation, and Igf2 DMR1 was needed to protect DMR2 from methylation. This regional coordination occurred exclusively after fertilization during somatic development, and did not involve linear spreading of DNA methylation, suggesting a model in which long-range chromatin interactions are involved in regional epigenetic coordination. These observations are likely to be relevant to other gene clusters in which epigenetic regulation plays a role, and in pathological situations in which epigenetic regulation is disrupted.


Available from: Adele Murrell, Apr 19, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose:Expression of imprinted genes is regulated by DNA methylation of differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is an imprinting disorder caused by epimutations of DMRs at 11p15.5. To date, multiple methylation defects have been reported in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome patients with epimutations; however, limited numbers of DMRs have been analyzed. The susceptibility of DMRs to aberrant methylation, alteration of gene expression due to aberrant methylation, and causative factors for multiple methylation defects remain undetermined.Methods:Comprehensive methylation analysis with two quantitative methods, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry and bisulfite pyrosequencing, was conducted across 29 DMRs in 54 Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome patients with epimutations. Allelic expressions of three genes with aberrant methylation were analyzed. All DMRs with aberrant methylation were sequenced.Results:Thirty-four percent of KvDMR1-loss of methylation patients and 30% of H19DMR-gain of methylation patients showed multiple methylation defects. Maternally methylated DMRs were susceptible to aberrant hypomethylation in KvDMR1-loss of methylation patients. Biallelic expression of the genes was associated with aberrant methylation. Cis-acting pathological variations were not found in any aberrantly methylated DMR.Conclusion:Maternally methylated DMRs may be vulnerable to DNA demethylation during the preimplantation stage, when hypomethylation of KvDMR1 occurs, and aberrant methylation of DMRs affects imprinted gene expression. Cis-acting variations of the DMRs are not involved in the multiple methylation defects.Genet Med advance online publication 8 May 2014Genetics in Medicine (2014); doi:10.1038/gim.2014.46.
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    ABSTRACT: Background Differential distribution of DNA methylation on the parental alleles of imprinted genes distinguishes the alleles from each other and dictates their parent of origin-specific expression patterns. While differential DNA methylation at primary imprinting control regions is inherited via the gametes, additional allele-specific DNA methylation is acquired at secondary sites during embryonic development and plays a role in the maintenance of genomic imprinting. The precise mechanisms by which this somatic DNA methylation is established at secondary sites are not well defined and may vary as methylation acquisition at these sites occurs at different times for genes in different imprinting clusters. Results In this study, we show that there is also variability in the timing of somatic DNA methylation acquisition at multiple sites within a single imprinting cluster. Paternal allele-specific DNA methylation is initially acquired at similar stages of post-implantation development at the linked Dlk1 and Gtl2 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). In contrast, unlike the Gtl2-DMR, the maternal Dlk1-DMR acquires DNA methylation in adult tissues. Conclusions These data suggest that the acquisition of DNA methylation across the Dlk1/Gtl2 imprinting cluster is variable. We further found that the Dlk1 differentially methylated region displays low DNA methylation fidelity, as evidenced by the presence of hemimethylation at approximately one-third of the methylated CpG dyads. We hypothesize that the maintenance of DNA methylation may be less efficient at secondary differentially methylated sites than at primary imprinting control regions.
    Epigenetics & Chromatin 05/2014; 7:9. DOI:10.1186/1756-8935-7-9 · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differential methylation between the two alleles of a gene has been observed at imprinted regions, where the methylation of one allele occurs on a parent-of-origin basis, the inactive X-chromosome in females, and at those loci whose methylation is driven by genetic variants. We have extensively characterized imprinted methylation in a substantial range of normal human tissues, reciprocal genome-wide uniparental disomies and hydatidiform moles, using a combination of whole genome bisulphite sequencing and high-density methylation microarrays. This approach allowed us to define methylation profiles at known imprinted domains at base-pair resolution, as well as identifying 21 novel loci harbouring parent-of-origin methylation, 15 of which are restricted to the placenta. We observe that the extent of imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs) is extremely similar between tissues, with the exception of the placenta. This extra-embryonic tissue often adopts a different methylation profile compared to somatic tissues. Further we profiled all imprinted DMRs in sperm and embryonic stem cells derived from parthenogenetically-activated oocytes, individual blastomeres and blastocysts to identifying primary DMRs and reveal the extent of reprograming during pre-implantation development. Intriguingly, we find that in contrast to ubiquitous imprints, the majority of placenta-specific imprinted DMRs are unmethylated in sperm and all human embryonic stem cells. Therefore, placental-specific imprinting provides evidence for an inheritable epigenetic state that is independent of DNA methylation and the existence of a novel imprinting mechanism at these loci.
    Genome Research 01/2014; DOI:10.1101/gr.164913.113 · 13.85 Impact Factor

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