Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Oncotarget. 2012 Apr;3(4):462-74.

On the presence and role of human gene-body DNA methylation.

Author information

  • 1School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.

Abstract

DNA methylation of promoter sequences is a repressive epigenetic mark that down-regulates gene expression. However, DNA methylation is more prevalent within gene-bodies than seen for promoters, and gene-body methylation has been observed to be positively correlated with gene expression levels. This paradox remains unexplained, and accordingly the role of DNA methylation in gene-bodies is poorly understood. We addressed the presence and role of human gene-body DNA methylation using a meta-analysis of human genome-wide methylation, expression and chromatin data sets. Methylation is associated with transcribed regions as genic sequences have higher levels of methylation than intergenic or promoter sequences. We also find that the relationship between gene-body DNA methylation and expression levels is non-monotonic and bell-shaped. Mid-level expressed genes have the highest levels of gene-body methylation, whereas the most lowly and highly expressed sets of genes both have low levels of methylation. While gene-body methylation can be seen to efficiently repress the initiation of intragenic transcription, the vast majority of methylated sites within genes are not associated with intragenic promoters. In fact, highly expressed genes initiate the most intragenic transcription inconsistent with the previously held notion that gene-body methylation serves to repress spurious intragenic transcription to allow for efficient transcriptional elongation. These observations lead us to propose a model to explain the presence of human gene-body methylation. This model holds that the repression of intragenic transcription by gene-body methylation is largely epiphenomenal, and suggests that gene-body methylation levels are predominantly shaped via the accessibility of the DNA to methylating enzyme complexes.

PMID:
22577155
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3380580
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (8)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Impact Journals, LLC Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk