Hemimethylation of CpG dyads is characteristic of secondary DMRs associated with imprinted loci and correlates with 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at paternally methylated sequences
Final Published Version
Epigenetics & Chromatin
In mammals, the regulation of imprinted genes is controlled by differential methylation at imprinting control regions which acquire parent of origin-specific methylation patterns during gametogenesis and retain differences in allelic methylation status throughout fertilization and subsequent somatic cell divisions. In addition, many imprinted genes acquire differential methylation during post-implantation development; these secondary differentially methylated regions appear necessary to maintain the imprinted expression state of individual genes. Despite the requirement for both types of differentially methylated sequence elements to achieve proper expression across imprinting clusters, methylation patterns are more labile at secondary differentially methylated regions. To understand the nature of this variability, we analyzed CpG dyad methylation patterns at both paternally and maternally methylated imprinted loci within multiple imprinting clusters.
We determined that both paternally and maternally methylated secondary differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted genes display high levels of hemimethylation, 29–49%, in comparison to imprinting control regions which exhibited 8–12% hemimethylation. To explore how hemimethylation could arise, we assessed the differentially methylated regions for the presence of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine which could cause methylation to be lost via either passive and/or active demethylation mechanisms. We found enrichment of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at paternally methylated secondary differentially methylated regions, but not at the maternally methylated sites we analyzed in this study.
We found high levels of hemimethylation to be a generalizable characteristic of secondary differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted genes. We propose that 5-hydroxymethylcytosine enrichment may be responsible for the variability in methylation status at paternally methylated secondary differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted genes. We further suggest that the high incidence of hemimethylation at secondary differentially methylated regions must be counteracted by continuous methylation acquisition at these loci.
Nechin, Julianna, Emma Tunstall, Naideline Raymond, Nicole Hamagami, Chris Pathmanabhan, Samantha Forestier, Tamara L. Davis. 2019. "Hemimethylation of CpG dyads is characteristic of secondary DMRs associated with imprinted loci and correlates with 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at paternally methylated sequences." Epigenetics & Chromatin 12.1.