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Genomics. 2008 Mar;91(3):267-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2007.12.001. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Methylation perturbations in retroelements within the genome of a Mus interspecific hybrid correlate with double minute chromosome formation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


A reduction in the DNA modification of cytosine methylation has been linked directly to chromosome rearrangements concomitant with retroelement amplification in several marsupial hybrid genomes. While phenotypes observed for interspecific eutherian hybrids are suggestive of methylation perturbations and retroelement instability, no link between retroelements, DNA methylation, and chromosome instability has yet been identified. Previous studies in eutherian hybrids, however, have been limited to a gross examination of methylation using methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme analysis or focused on single-copy genes and/or have avoided examination of repetitive DNA. Methylation changes and retroelements are proposed as mechanisms for double minute chromosome formation and oncogene amplification, both present in the genome of a Mus hybrid model, thus making it an ideal system to evaluate methylation status more closely. We have used the PCR-based methodologies methylation-sensitive amplicon subtraction (MS-AS) and methylation-sensitive representational difference analysis (MS-RDA) to detect differentially methylated sequences between three complex genomes and to isolate methylation perturbations in a Mus musculusxMus caroli hybrid. This novel application of MS-AS and MS-RDA resulted in the isolation of differentially methylated retroelements surrounding the locus on Chromosome 10 responsible for double minute chromosome formation within this interspecific eutherian hybrid.

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