Fei Song

Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (7)31.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Changes in DNA methylation in the mammalian genome during development are frequent events and play major roles regulating gene expression and other developmental processes. It is necessary to identify these events so that we may understand how these changes affect normal development and how aberrant changes may impact disease. In this study Methylated DNA ImmunoPrecipitation (MeDIP) was used in conjunction with a NimbleGen promoter plus CpG island (CpGi) array to identify Tissue and Developmental Stage specific Differentially Methylated DNA Regions (T-DMRs and DS-DMRs) on a genome-wide basis. Four tissues (brain, heart, liver, and testis) from C57BL/6J mice were analyzed at three developmental stages (15 day embryo, E15; new born, NB; 12 week adult, AD). Almost 5,000 adult T-DMRs and 10,000 DS-DMRs were identified. Surprisingly, almost all DS-DMRs were tissue specific (i.e. methylated in at least one tissue and unmethylated in one or more tissues). In addition our results indicate that many DS-DMRs are methylated at early development stages (E15 and NB) but are unmethylated in adult. There is a very strong bias for testis specific methylation in non-CpGi promoter regions (94%). Although the majority of T-DMRs and DS-DMRs tended to be in non-CpGi promoter regions, a relatively large number were also located in CpGi in promoter, intragenic and intergenic regions (>15% of the 15,979 CpGi on the array). Our data suggests the vast majority of unique sequence DNA methylation has tissue specificity, that demethylation has a prominent role in tissue differentiation, and that DNA methylation has regulatory roles in alternative promoter selection and in non-promoter regions. Overall, our studies indicate changes in DNA methylation during development are a dynamic, widespread, and tissue-specific process involving both DNA methylation and demethylation.
    BMC Genomics 01/2011; 12(1):231. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue specific differentially methylated regions (TDMRs) were identified and localized in the mouse genome using second generation virtual RLGS (vRLGS). Sequenom MassARRAY quantitative methylation analysis was used to confirm and determine the fine structure of tissue specific differences in DNA methylation. TDMRs have a broad distribution of locations to intragenic and intergenic regions including both CpG islands, and non-CpG islands regions. Somewhat surprising, there is a strong bias for TDMR location in non-promoter intragenic regions. Although some TDMRs are within or close to repeat sequences, overall they are less frequently associated with repetitive elements than expected from a random distribution. Many TDMRs are methylated at early developmental stages, but unmethylated later, suggesting active or passive demethylation, or expansions of populations of cells with unmethylated TDMRs. This is notable during postnatal testis differentiation where many testis specific TDMRs become progressively "demethylated". These results suggest that methylation changes during development are dynamic, involve demethylation and methylation, and may occur at late stages of embryonic development or even postnatally.
    Genomics 11/2008; 93(2):130-9. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (tDMRs) have been identified and implicated for their indispensable involvement in mammalian development and tissue differentiation. In this report, a quantitative DNA methylation analysis was performed for 13 human orthologous regions of recently confirmed mouse tDMRs by using Sequenom Mass Array, by which bisulfite-treated fragments are quantitatively detected using time of flight mass spectroscopy analysis. Eight regions were shown as tDMRs in various tissues from three independent individuals. Testis DNA samples from eight individuals were also analyzed for methylation. Interestingly, there is evidence that the DNA methylation level is divergent among individuals. DNA methylation levels of five testis-specific DMRs were significantly inversely correlated with the number of spermatocytes. However, a positive correlation was seen at tDMRs located near the TRIM38 and CASZ1 genes. Our results indicate that tDMRs are conserved between mouse and human and may have an important role in regulating tissue function, differentiation, and aging.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 10/2008; 376(4):658-64. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS), a method for the two-dimensional display of end-labeled DNA restriction fragments, was utilized to identify genomic regions of CpG island methylation associated with human colon cancer. An average of 1.5% of the RLGS loci/spots are lost or significantly reduced in sporadic primary colon tumors relative to normal colon mucosa from the same patient. This may represent tumor specific methylation of about 400 CpG islands in sporadic colon cancer. A number of RLGS loci exhibiting frequent loss associated with colon cancer were cloned. DNA sequence analysis indicated that the RLGS loci identified genomic regions characteristic of CpG islands. A number of methods including bisulfite genomic sequencing as well as quantitative MassARRAY methylation analysis (www.sequenom.com) confirmed tumor specific methylation at several of these loci. DNA database searches indicated that candidate genes associated with these loci include transcription factors and genes involved in signal transduction (52%), and genes of unknown function (37%). Expression analysis using quantitative real time RT-PCR indicates that methylation of some CpG islands located in non-promoter regions were associated with upregulation of gene expression in colorectal cancer. These results indicate that alterations in methylation status within CpG islands in colon tumors may have complex consequences on gene expression and tumorigenesis, sometimes resulting in up regulation or ectopic gene expression that may involve novel regulatory mechanisms.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 10/2007; 2(3):161-72. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations in DNA methylation have been implicated in mammalian development. Hence, the identification of tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (TDMs) is indispensable for understanding its role. Using restriction landmark genomic scanning of six mouse tissues, 150 putative TDMs were identified and 14 were further analyzed. The DNA sequences of the 14 mouse TDMs are analyzed in this study. Six of the human homologous regions show TDMs to both mouse and human and genes in five of these regions have conserved tissue-specific expression: preferential expression in testis. A TDM, DDX4, is further analyzed in nine testis tissues. An increase in methylation of the promoter region is significantly associated with a marked reduction of the gene expression and defects in spermatogenesis, suggesting that hypomethylation of the DDX4 promoter region regulates DDX4 gene expression in spermatogenic cells. Our results indicate that some genomic regions with tissue-specific methylation and expression are conserved between mouse and human and suggest that DNA methylation may have an important role in regulating differentiation and tissue-/cell-specific gene expression of some genes.
    Genomics 04/2007; 89(3):326-37. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) is one of the most successfully applied methods for the identification of aberrant CpG island hypermethylation in cancer, as well as the identification of tissue specific methylation of CpG islands. However, a limitation to the utility of this method has been the ability to assign specific genomic sequences to RLGS spots, a process commonly referred to as "RLGS spot cloning." We report the development of a virtual RLGS method (vRLGS) that allows for RLGS spot identification in any sequenced genome and with any enzyme combination. We report significant improvements in predicting DNA fragment migration patterns by incorporating sequence information into the migration models, and demonstrate a median Euclidian distance between actual and predicted spot migration of 0.18 centimeters for the most complex human RLGS pattern. We report the confirmed identification of 795 human and 530 mouse RLGS spots for the most commonly used enzyme combinations. We also developed a method to filter the virtual spots to reduce the number of extra spots seen on a virtual profile for both the mouse and human genomes. We demonstrate use of this filter to simplify spot cloning and to assist in the identification of spots exhibiting tissue-specific methylation. The new vRLGS system reported here is highly robust for the identification of novel RLGS spots. The migration models developed are not specific to the genome being studied or the enzyme combination being used, making this tool broadly applicable. The identification of hundreds of mouse and human RLGS spot loci confirms the strong bias of RLGS studies to focus on CpG islands and provides a valuable resource to rapidly study their methylation.
    BMC Genomics 02/2007; 8:446. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early studies proposed that DNA methylation could have a role in regulating gene expression during development [Riggs, A.D. (1975) Cytogenet. Cell Genet. 14, 9-25]. However, some studies of DNA methylation in known tissue-specific genes during development do not support a major role for DNA methylation. In the results presented here, tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (TDMs) were first identified, and then expression of genes associated with these regions correlated with methylation status. Restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) was used in conjunction with virtual RLGS to identify 150 TDMs [Matsuyama, T., Kimura, M.T., Koike, K., Abe, T., Nakao, T., Asami, T., Ebisuzaki, T., Held, W.A., Yoshida, S. & Nagase, H. (2003) Nucleic Acids Res. 31, 4490-4496]. Analysis of 14 TDMs by methylation-specific PCR and by bisulfite genomic sequencing confirms that the regions identified by RLGS are differentially methylated in a tissue-specific manner. The results indicate that 5% or more of the CpG islands are TDMs, disputing the general notion that all CpG islands are unmethylated. Some of the TDMs are within 5' promoter CpG islands of genes, which exhibit a tissue-specific expression pattern that is consistent with methylation status and a role in tissue differentiation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2005; 102(9):3336-41. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

371 Citations
31.49 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • Brock University
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • 2005–2011
    • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
      • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
      Buffalo, New York, United States
    • Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Bhaganagar, Andhra Pradesh, India