Christopher Faulk, Kevin Liu, Amanda Barks, Jaclyn M Goodrich and Dana C Dolinoy
An understanding of the natural change in DNA methylation over time, defined as “epigenetic drift,” will inform the study of environmental effects on the epigenome. This study investigates epigenetic drift in isogenic mice exposed perinatally to lead (Pb) acetate at four concentrations, 0 ppm (control), 2.1 ppm (low), 16 ppm (medium), and 32 ppm (high) prior to conception through weaning, then followed until 10 months of age. Absolute values of DNA methylation in a transposon-associated metastable locus, Cdk5-activator binding protein (CabpIAP), and three imprinted loci (Igf2, Igf2r, and H19) were obtained from tail tissue in paired samples. DNA methylation levels in the controls increased over time at the imprinted Igf2 and Igf2r loci (both P = 0.0001), but not at the imprinted H19 locus or the CabpIAP metastable epiallele. Pb exposure was associated with accelerated DNA hypermethylation in CabpIAP (P = 0.0209) and moderated hypermethylation in Igf2r (P = 0.0447), and with marginally accelerated hypermethylation at H19 (P = 0.0847). In summary, the presence and magnitude of epigenetic drift was locus-dependent, and enhancement of drift was mediated by perinatal Pb exposure, in some, but not all, loci.
Ekaterina S Gushchanskaya, Artem V Artemov, Sergey V Ulyanov, Maria D Logacheva, Aleksey A Penin, Elena S Kotova, Sergey B Akopov, Lev G Nikolaev, Olga V Iarovaia, Eugene D Sverdlov, Alexey A Gavrilov and Sergey V Razin
We used the 4C-Seq technique to characterize the genome-wide patterns of spatial contacts of several CpG islands located on chromosome 14 in cultured chicken lymphoid and erythroid cells. We observed a clear tendency for the spatial clustering of CpG islands present on the same and different chromosomes, regardless of the presence or absence of promoters within these CpG islands. Accordingly, we observed preferential spatial contacts between Sp1 binding motifs and other GC-rich genomic elements, including the DNA sequence motifs capable of forming G-quadruplexes. However, an anchor placed in a gene/CpG island-poor area formed spatial contacts with other gene/CpG island-poor areas on chromosome 14 and other chromosomes. These results corroborate the two-compartment model of the spatial organization of interphase chromosomes and suggest that the clustering of CpG islands constitutes an important determinant of the 3D organization of the eukaryotic genome in the cell nucleus. Using the ChIP-Seq technique, we mapped the genome-wide CTCF deposition sites in the chicken lymphoid and erythroid cells that were used for the 4C analysis. We observed a good correlation between the density of CTCF deposition sites and the level of 4C signals for the anchors located in CpG islands but not for an anchor located in a gene desert. It is thus possible that CTCF contributes to the clustering of CpG islands observed in our experiments.
David Martino, Jihoon E Joo, Alexandra Sexton-Oates, Thanh Dang, Katrina Allen, Richard Saffery and Susan Prescott
Food allergy is mediated by a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, potentially mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. CD4+ T-cells are key drivers of the allergic response, and may therefore harbor epigenetic variation in association with the disease phenotype. Here we retrospectively examined genome-wide DNA methylation profiles (~450 000 CpGs) from CD4+ T-cells on a birth cohort of 12 children with IgE-mediated food allergy diagnosed at 12-months, and 12 non-allergic controls. DNA samples were available at two time points, birth and 12-months. Case:control comparisons of CD4+ methylation profiles identified 179 differentially methylated probes (DMP) at 12-months and 136 DMP at birth (FDR-adjusted P value < 0.05, delta β > 0.1). Approximately 30% of DMPs were coincident with previously annotated SNPs. A total of 96 allergy-associated non-SNP DMPs were present at birth when individuals were initially disease-free, potentially implicating these loci in the causal pathway. Pathway analysis of differentially methylated genes identified several MAP kinase signaling molecules. Mass spectrometry was used to validate 15 CpG sites at 3 candidate genes. Combined analysis of differential methylation with gene expression profiles revealed gene expression differences at some but not all allergy associated differentially methylated genes. Thus, dysregulation of DNA methylation at MAPK signaling-associated genes during early CD4+ T-cell development may contribute to suboptimal T-lymphocyte responses in early childhood associated with the development of food allergy.