[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alternative polyadenylation increases transcriptome diversity by generating multiple transcript isoforms from a single gene. It is thought that this process can be subject to epigenetic regulation, but few specific examples of this have been reported. We previously showed that the Mcts2/H13 locus is subject to genomic imprinting and that alternative polyadenylation of H13 transcripts occurs in an allele-specific manner, regulated by epigenetic mechanisms. Here, we demonstrate that allele-specific polyadenylation occurs at another imprinted locus with similar features. Nap1l5 is a retrogene expressed from the paternally inherited allele, is situated within an intron of a 'host' gene Herc3, and overlaps a CpG island that is differentially methylated between the parental alleles. In mouse brain, internal Herc3 polyadenylation sites upstream of Nap1l5 are used on the paternally derived chromosome, from which Nap1l5 is expressed, whereas a downstream site is used more frequently on the maternally derived chromosome. Ablating DNA methylation on the maternal allele at the Nap1l5 promoter increases the use of an internal Herc3 polyadenylation site and alters exon splicing. These changes demonstrate the influence of epigenetic mechanisms in regulating Herc3 alternative mRNA processing. Internal Herc3 polyadenylation correlates with expression levels of Nap1l5, suggesting a possible role for transcriptional interference. Similar mechanisms may regulate alternative polyadenylation elsewhere in the genome.
Nucleic Acids Research 07/2012; 40(18):8917-26. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imprinted retrotransposed genes share a common genomic organization including a promoter-associated differentially methylated region (DMR) and a position within the intron of a multi-exonic 'host' gene. In the mouse, at least one transcript of the host gene is also subject to genomic imprinting. Human retrogene orthologues are imprinted and we reveal that human host genes are not imprinted. This coincides with genomic rearrangements that occurred during primate evolution, which increase the separation between the retrogene DMRs and the host genes. To address the mechanisms governing imprinted retrogene expression, histone modifications were assayed at the DMRs. For the mouse retrogenes, the active mark H3K4me2 was associated with the unmethylated paternal allele, while the methylated maternal allele was enriched in repressive marks including H3K9me3 and H4K20me3. Two human retrogenes showed monoallelic enrichment of active, but not of repressive marks suggesting a partial uncoupling of the relationship between DNA methylation and repressive histone methylation, possibly due to the smaller size and lower CpG density of these DMRs. Finally, we show that the genes immediately flanking the host genes in mouse and human are biallelically expressed in a range of tissues, suggesting that these loci are distinct from large imprinted clusters.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2011; 39(11):4577-86. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bladder Cancer-Associated Protein gene (BLCAP; previously BC10) is a tumour suppressor that limits cell proliferation and stimulates apoptosis. BLCAP protein or message are downregulated or absent in a variety of human cancers. In mouse and human, the first intron of Blcap/BLCAP contains the distinct Neuronatin (Nnat/NNAT) gene. Nnat is an imprinted gene that is exclusively expressed from the paternally inherited allele. Previous studies found no evidence for imprinting of Blcap in mouse or human. Here we show that Blcap is imprinted in mouse and human brain, but not in other mouse tissues. Moreover, Blcap produces multiple distinct transcripts that exhibit reciprocal allele-specific expression in both mouse and human. We propose that the tissue-specific imprinting of Blcap is due to the particularly high transcriptional activity of Nnat in brain, as has been suggested previously for the similarly organized and imprinted murine Commd1/U2af1-rs1 locus. For Commd1/U2af1-rs1, we show that it too produces distinct transcript variants with reciprocal allele-specific expression. The imprinted expression of BLCAP and its interplay with NNAT at the transcriptional level may be relevant to human carcinogenesis.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/2008; 18(1):118-27. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternally and paternally derived alleles can utilize different promoters, but allele-specific differences in cotranscriptional processes have not been reported. We show that alternative polyadenylation sites at a novel murine imprinted gene (H13) are utilized in an allele-specific manner. A differentially methylated CpG island separates polyA sites utilized on maternal and paternal alleles, and contains an internal promoter. Two genetic systems show that alleles lacking methylation generate truncated H13 transcripts that undergo internal polyadenylation. On methylated alleles, the internal promoter is inactive and elongation proceeds to downstream polyadenylation sites. This demonstrates that epigenetic modifications can influence utilization of alternative polyadenylation sites.
Genes & Development 06/2008; 22(9):1141-6. · 12.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By combining a tissue-specific microarray screen with mouse uniparental duplications, we have identified a novel imprinted gene, Dopa decarboxylase (Ddc), on chromosome 11. Ddc_exon1a is a 2-kb transcript variant that initiates from an alternative first exon in intron 1 of the canonical Ddc transcript and is paternally expressed in trabecular cardiomyocytes of the embryonic and neonatal heart. Ddc displays tight conserved linkage with the maternally expressed and methylated Grb10 gene, suggesting that these reciprocally imprinted genes may be coordinately regulated. In Dnmt3L mutant embryos that lack maternal germ line methylation imprints, we show that Ddc is overexpressed and Grb10 is silenced. Their imprinting is therefore dependent on maternal germ line methylation, but the mechanism at Ddc does not appear to involve differential methylation of the Ddc_exon1a promoter region and may instead be provided by the oocyte mark at Grb10. Our analysis of Ddc redefines the imprinted Grb10 domain on mouse proximal chromosome 11 and identifies Ddc_exon1a as the first example of a heart-specific imprinted gene.
Molecular and cellular biology 02/2008; 28(1):386-96. · 6.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imprinted genes undergo epigenetic modifications during gametogenesis, which lead to transcriptional silencing of either the maternally or the paternally derived allele in the subsequent generation. Previous work has suggested an association between imprinting and the products of retrotransposition, but the nature of this link is not well defined. In the mouse, three imprinted genes have been described that originated by retrotransposition and overlap CpG islands which undergo methylation during oogenesis. Nap1l5, U2af1-rs1, and Inpp5f_v2 are likely to encode proteins and share two additional genetic properties: they are located within introns of host transcripts and are derived from parental genes on the X chromosome. Using these sequence features alone, we identified Mcts2, a novel candidate imprinted retrogene on mouse Chromosome 2. Mcts2 has been validated as imprinted by demonstrating that it is paternally expressed and undergoes promoter methylation during oogenesis. The orthologous human retrogenes NAP1L5, INPP5F_V2, and MCTS2 are also shown to be paternally expressed, thus delineating novel imprinted loci on human Chromosomes 4, 10, and 20. The striking correlation between imprinting and X chromosome provenance suggests that retrotransposed elements with homology to the X chromosome can be selectively targeted for methylation during mammalian oogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A screen for imprinted genes on mouse Chromosome 7 recently identified Inpp5f_v2, a paternally expressed retrogene lying within an intron of Inpp5f. Here, we identify a novel paternally expressed variant of the Inpp5f gene (Inpp5f_v3) that shows a number of unusual features. Inpp5f_v3 initiates from a CpG-rich repeat region adjoining two B1 elements, despite previous reports that SINEs are generally excluded from imprinted promoters. Accordingly, we find that the Inpp5f_v3 promoter acquires methylation around the time of implantation, when many repeat families undergo de novo epigenetic silencing. Methylation is then lost specifically on the paternally derived allele during the latter stages of embryonic development, resulting in imprinted transcriptional activation on the demethylated allele. Methylation analyses in embryos lacking maternal methylation imprints suggest that the primary imprinting mark resides within an intronic CpG island approximately 1 kb downstream of the Inpp5f_v3 transcriptional start site. These data support the hypothesis that SINEs can influence gene expression by attracting de novo methylation during development, a property likely to explain their exclusion from other imprinted promoters.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(20):7031-9. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epigenetic events that occur during the development of the mammalian embryo are essential for correct gene expression and cell-lineage determination. Imprinted genes are expressed from only one parental allele due to differential epigenetic marks that are established during gametogenesis. Several theories have been proposed to explain the role that genomic imprinting has played over the course of mammalian evolution, but at present it is not clear if a single hypothesis can fully account for the diversity of roles that imprinted genes play. In this review, we discuss efforts to define the extent of imprinting in the mouse genome, and suggest that different imprinted loci may have been wrought by distinct evolutionary forces. We focus on a group of small imprinted domains, which consist of paternally expressed genes embedded within introns of multiexonic transcripts, to discuss the evolution of imprinting at these loci.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting refers to a specialized form of epigenetic gene regulation whereby the expression of a given allele is dictated by parental origin. Defining the extent and distribution of imprinting across genomes will be crucial for understanding the roles played by imprinting in normal mammalian growth and development. Using mice carrying uniparental disomies or duplications, microarray screening and stringent bioinformatics, we have developed the first large-scale tissue-specific screen for imprinted gene detection. We quantify the stringency of our methodology and relate it to previous non-tissue-specific large-scale studies. We report the identification in mouse of four brain-specific novel paternally expressed transcripts and an additional three genes that show maternal expression in the placenta. The regions of conserved linkage in the human genome are associated with the Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) where imprinting is known to be a contributing factor. We conclude that large-scale systematic analyses of this genre are necessary for the full impact of genomic imprinting on mammalian gene expression and phenotype to be elucidated.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2006; 34(12):e88. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a tissue-specific microarray screen in combination with chromosome anomalies in the mouse, we identified a novel imprinted gene, Inpp5f_v2 on mouse chromosome 7. Characterization of this gene reveals a 3.2-kb transcript that is paternally expressed in the brain. Inpp5f_v2 is a variant of the related 4.7-kb transcript, Inpp5f, an inositol phosphatase gene that is biallelically expressed in the mouse. Inpp5f_v2 uses an alternative transcriptional start site within an intron of Inpp5f and thus has a unique alternative first exon. Whereas other imprinted transcripts have a unique first exon located within intron 1 of a longer transcript variant (such as at the Gnas and WT1 loci), Inpp5f_v2 is the first example of which we are aware in which the alternative first exon of an imprinted gene is embedded in a downstream intron (intron 15) of a transcript variant. The CpG island associated with the non-imprinted Inpp5f gene is hypomethylated on both alleles, a finding consistent with biallelic expression, whereas the CpG island present 5' of Inpp5f_v2 is differentially methylated on the maternal versus paternal alleles consistent with its imprinting status.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 08/2005; 25(13):5514-22. · 5.37 Impact Factor