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Genomics. 2006 Apr;87(4):509-19. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Expression profiling of uniparental mouse embryos is inefficient in identifying novel imprinted genes.

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  • 1Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin-Buch, Germany.


Imprinted genes are expressed from only one allele in a parent-of-origin-specific manner. We here describe a systematic approach to identify novel imprinted genes using quantification of allele-specific expression by Pyrosequencing, a highly accurate method to detect allele-specific expression differences. Sixty-eight candidate imprinted transcripts mapping to known imprinted chromosomal regions were selected from a recent expression profiling study of uniparental mouse embryos and analyzed. Three novel imprinted transcripts encoding putative non-protein-coding RNAs were identified on the basis of parent-of-origin-specific monoallelic expression in E11.5 (C57BL/6 x Cast/Ei)F1 and informative (C57BL/6 x Cast/Ei) x C57BL/6 backcross embryos. In addition, four transcripts with preferential expression of a strain-specific allele were found. Intriguingly, a vast majority of the analyzed transcripts showed no imprinting-associated expression in F1 embryos. These data strengthen the view that a large fraction of nonimprinted genes is differentially expressed between parthenogenetic and androgenetic embryos and question the efficiency of expression profiling of uniparental embryos to identify novel imprinted genes.

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