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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 1;102(9):3336-41. Epub 2005 Feb 22.

Association of tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (TDMs) with differential gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


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.

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