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Epigenetics Chromatin. 2018 Jun 29;11(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13072-018-0207-z.

Synthetic DNA fragments bearing ICR cis elements become differentially methylated and recapitulate genomic imprinting in transgenic mice.

Author information

1
Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tennoudai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan.
2
Life Science Center for Survival Dynamics, Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA), University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan.
3
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Tokushima University, Tokushima, 770-8503, Japan.
4
Graduate school of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan.
5
Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tennoudai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan. keiji@tara.tsukuba.ac.jp.
6
Life Science Center for Survival Dynamics, Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA), University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8577, Japan. keiji@tara.tsukuba.ac.jp.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Genomic imprinting is governed by allele-specific DNA methylation at imprinting control regions (ICRs), and the mechanism controlling its differential methylation establishment during gametogenesis has been a subject of intensive research interest. However, recent studies have reported that gamete methylation is not restricted at the ICRs, thus highlighting the significance of ICR methylation maintenance during the preimplantation period where genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming takes place. Using transgenic mice (TgM), we previously demonstrated that the H19 ICR possesses autonomous activity to acquire paternal-allele-specific DNA methylation after fertilization. Furthermore, this activity is indispensable for the maintenance of imprinted methylation at the endogenous H19 ICR during the preimplantation period. In addition, we showed that a specific 5' fragment of the H19 ICR is required for its paternal methylation after fertilization, while CTCF and Sox-Oct motifs are essential for its maternal protection from undesirable methylation after implantation.

RESULTS:

To ask whether specific cis elements are sufficient to reconstitute imprinted methylation status, we employed a TgM co-placement strategy for facilitating detection of postfertilization methylation activity and precise comparison of test sequences. Bacteriophage lambda DNA becomes highly methylated regardless of its parental origin and thus can be used as a neutral sequence bearing no inclination for differential DNA methylation. We previously showed that insertion of only CTCF and Sox-Oct binding motifs from the H19 ICR into a lambda DNA (LCb) decreased its methylation level after both paternal and maternal transmission. We therefore appended a 478-bp 5' sequence from the H19 ICR into the LCb fragment and found that it acquired paternal-allele-specific methylation, the dynamics of which was identical to that of the H19 ICR, in TgM. Crucially, transgene expression also became imprinted. Although there are potential binding sites for ZFP57 (a candidate protein thought to control the methylation imprint) in the larger H19 ICR, they are not found in the 478-bp fragment, rendering the role of ZFP57 in postfertilization H19 ICR methylation a still open question.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results demonstrate that a differentially methylated region can be reconstituted by combining the activities of specific imprinting elements and that these elements together determine the activity of a genomically imprinted region in vivo.

KEYWORDS:

CTCF; DNA methylation; Genomic imprinting; H19; Sox-Oct; ZFP57

PMID:
29958543
PMCID:
PMC6027785
DOI:
10.1186/s13072-018-0207-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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