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Cell Reprogram. 2010 Feb;12(1):33-42. doi: 10.1089/cell.2009.0063.

DNA methylation patterns reflect epigenetic reprogramming in bovine embryos.

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Institute of Farm Animal Genetics (FLI), Mariensee, Neustadt, Germany.


To understand the epigenetic alterations associated with assisted reproduction technology (ART) and the reprogramming of gene expression that follows somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), we screened a panel of 41 amplicons representing 25 developmentally important genes on 15 different chromosomes (a total of 1079 CpG sites). Methylation analysis was performed on DNA from pools of 80 blastocysts representing three classes of embryos. This revealed a subset of amplicons that distinguish between embryos developing in vivo, produced in vitro, or reconstructed by SCNT. Following SCNT, we observed massive epigenetic reprogramming evidenced by reduced levels of methylation in the resultant embryos. Analysis of data from the 28 most informative amplicons (hotspot loci), representing more than 523 individual CpG sites, we discovered subsets of amplicons with methylation patterns that were unique to each class of embryo and may indicate metastable epialleles. Analysis of eight genes with respect to mRNA expression did not reveal a direct correlation with DNA methylation levels. In conclusion, this approach revealed a subset of amplicons that can be used to evaluate blastocyst quality and reprogramming following SCNT, and can also be employed for the localization of the epigenetic control regions within individual genes and for more general studies of stem cell differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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