It has long been known that methylated cytosines deaminate at higher rates than unmodified cytosines and constitute mutational hotspots in mammalian genomes. The repertoire of naturally occurring cytosine modifications, however, extends beyond 5-methylcytosine to include its oxidation derivatives, notably 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. The effects of these modifications on sequence evolution are unknown. Here, we combine base-resolution maps of methyl- and hydroxymethylcytosine in human and mouse with population genomic, divergence and somatic mutation data to show that hydroxymethylated and methylated cytosines show distinct patterns of variation and evolution. Surprisingly, hydroxymethylated sites are consistently associated with elevated C to G transversion rates at the level of segregating polymorphisms, fixed substitutions, and somatic mutations in tumors. Controlling for multiple potential confounders, we find derived C to G SNPs to be 1.43-fold (1.22-fold) more common at hydroxymethylated sites compared to methylated sites in human (mouse). Increased C to G rates are evident across diverse functional and sequence contexts and, in cancer genomes, correlate with the expression of Tet enzymes and specific components of the mismatch repair pathway (MSH2, MSH6, and MBD4). Based on these and other observations we suggest that hydroxymethylation is associated with a distinct mutational burden and that the mismatch repair pathway is implicated in causing elevated transversion rates at hydroxymethylated cytosines.
Epigenetic reprogramming involves processes that lead to the erasure of epigenetic information, reverting the chromatin template to a less differentiated state. Extensive epigenetic reprogramming occurs both naturally during mammalian development in the early embryo and the developing germ line, and artificially in various in vitro reprogramming systems. Global DNA demethylation appears to be a shared attribute of reprogramming events, and understanding DNA methylation dynamics is thus of considerable interest. Recently, the Tet enzymes, which catalyse the iterative oxidation of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine, have emerged as potential drivers of epigenetic reprogramming. Although some of the recent studies point towards the direct role of Tet proteins in the removal of DNA methylation, the accumulating evidence suggests that the processes underlying DNA methylation dynamics might be more complex. Here, we review the current evidence, highlighting the agreements and the discrepancies between the suggested models and the experimental evidence.
A primary site of infection in mammals is the nostrils, representing the gate to the brain through olfactory and vomeronasal epithelia, eyes as a direct route to the brain via the optical nerve, and oral cavity representing the main route to the digestive tract. Similarly, pheromones, odorants and tastants enter animal bodies the same way. Therefore similar evolutionary forces might have shaped the evolution of systems for recognition of pathogens and chemical signals. This might have resulted in sharing various proteins among systems of recognition and filtering to decrease potential costs of evolving and utilizing unique biochemical pathways. This has been documented previously in, for example, multipurpose and widely distributed GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors). The aim of the present review is to explore potential functional overlaps or complementary functions of lipocalins in the system of perception of exogenous substances to reconstruct the evolutionary forces that might have shaped their synergistic functions.
Cultured pluripotent stem cells hold great promise for regenerative medicine. Considerable efforts have been invested into the refinement and definition of improved culture systems that sustain self-renewal and avoid differentiation of pluripotent cells in vitro. Recent studies have, however, found that the choice of culture condition has a significant impact on epigenetic profiles of cultured pluripotent cells. Mouse and human ESCs (embryonic stem cells) show substantial epigenetic differences that are dependent on the culture condition, including global changes to DNA methylation and histone modifications and, in female human ESCs, to the epigenetic process of X chromosome inactivation. Epigenetic perturbations have also been detected during culture of pre-implantation embryos; limited research undertaken in mouse suggests a direct effect of the in vitro environment on epigenetic processes in this system. Widespread epigenetic changes induced by the culture condition in stem cells thus emphasize the necessity for extensive research into both immediate and long-term epigenetic effects of embryo culture during assisted reproductive technologies.
Central European mountain bogs, among the most valuable and threatened of habitats, were exposed to intensive human impact during the 20th century. We reconstructed the subrecent water chemistry and water-table depths using diatom based transfer functions calibrated from modern sampling. Herbarium Sphagnum specimens collected during the period 1918-1998 were used as a source of historic diatom samples. We classified samples into hummocks and hollows according to the identity of dominant Sphagnum species, to reduce bias caused by uneven sampling of particular microhabitats. Our results provide clear evidence for bog pollution by grazing during the period 1918-1947 and by undocumented aerial liming in the early 90-ies. We advocate use of herbarized epibryon as a source of information on subrecent conditions in recently polluted mires.
Genomic imprinting directs the allele-specific marking and expression of loci according to their parental origin. Differential DNA methylation at imprinted control regions (ICRs) is established in gametes and, although largely preserved through development, can be experimentally reset by fusing somatic cells with embryonic germ cell (EGC) lines. Here, we show that the Ten-Eleven Translocation proteins Tet1 and Tet2 participate in the efficient erasure of imprints in this model system. The fusion of B cells with EGCs initiates pluripotent reprogramming, in which rapid re-expression of Oct4 is accompanied by an accumulation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) at several ICRs. Tet2 was required for the efficient reprogramming capacity of EGCs, whereas Tet1 was necessary to induce 5-methylcytosine oxidation specifically at ICRs. These data show that the Tet1 and Tet2 proteins have discrete roles in cell-fusion-mediated pluripotent reprogramming and imprint erasure in somatic cells.
Naive pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and embryonic germ cells (EGCs) are derived from the preimplantation epiblast and primordial germ cells (PGCs), respectively. We investigated whether differences exist between ESCs and EGCs, in view of their distinct developmental origins. PGCs are programmed to undergo global DNA demethylation; however, we find that EGCs and ESCs exhibit equivalent global DNA methylation levels. Inhibition of MEK and Gsk3b by 2i conditions leads to pronounced reduction in DNA methylation in both cell types. This is driven by Prdm14 and is associated with downregulation of Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. However, genomic imprints are maintained in 2i, and we report derivation of EGCs with intact genomic imprints. Collectively, our findings establish that culture in 2i instills a naive pluripotent state with a distinctive epigenetic configuration that parallels molecular features observed in both the preimplantation epiblast and nascent PGCs.
Epigenetic reprogramming in the germline provides a developmental model to study the erasure of epigenetic memory as it occurs naturally in vivo in the course of normal embryonic development. Our data show that germline reprogramming comprises both active DNA demethylation and extensive chromatin remodelling that are mechanistically linked through the activation of the base excision DNA repair pathway involved in the DNA demethylation process. The observed molecular hallmarks of the germline reprogramming exhibit intriguing similarities to other dedifferentiation or regeneration systems, pointing towards the existence of unifying molecular pathways underlying cell fate reversal. Elucidation of molecular processes involved in the resetting of epigenetic information in vivo will thus add to our ability to manipulate cell fate and to restore pluripotency in in vitro settings.
Mollusc communities of previously unexplored Bulgarian fens were studied in order to determine and generalise the patterns of species richness and composition along the mineral richness gradient. The aim was also to compare predictive values of the environment, vegetation and spatial structure. Altogether, 44 mollusc species were recorded at 40 treeless fen sites. Species richness varied from 0 to 18 species per site, and it was positively associated with the mineral gradient and negatively with altitude. However, the best predictor was obtained using plant species composition. All explanatory variables had higher effect on land snails than on the entire mollusc assemblage (including aquatic species). Species richness and abundance were significantly and positively correlated with the species composition turnover; the communities were highly nested, with poor sites having subsets of the fauna found in the richest. The main direction of mollusc species turnover was highly associated with that observed for vegetation, and the main gradient of plant species composition was able to explain nearly 20% of total variation in mollusc data. We found that spatial structure explained by far the highest proportion of independent variation, which reflected the high level of geographical isolation of Bulgarian fens and regional differences independent of any environmental variation. Our results demonstrate (1) the general role of mineral richness gradient for structuring mollusc communities in fens, (2) the pivotal indicator role of plant species composition in predicting species composition of mollusc communities, despite being trophically independent and (3) the effect of isolation and origins of the habitat on species composition: most species have wide geographical distributions within the habitat type, and geographical patterns within Bulgaria may have a stochastic element.
Prmt5, an arginine methyltransferase, has multiple roles in germ cells, and possibly in pluripotency. Here we show that loss of Prmt5 function is early embryonic-lethal due to the abrogation of pluripotent cells in blastocysts. Prmt5 is also up-regulated in the cytoplasm during the derivation of embryonic stem (ES) cells together with Stat3, where they persist to maintain pluripotency. Prmt5 in association with Mep50 methylates cytosolic histone H2A (H2AR3me2s) to repress differentiation genes in ES cells. Loss of Prmt5 or Mep50 results in derepression of differentiation genes, indicating the significance of the Prmt5/Mep50 complex for pluripotency, which may occur in conjunction with the leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)/Stat3 pathway.
In order to screen microsatellites for conservation genetics studies of the species, a total of 23 microsatellite loci from Korean goral (Naemorhedus caudatus), including 15 previously developed loci and 8 new loci in this study, were tested. Eleven microsatellites were screened and subjected to cross-species amplification using a test panel of four Caprinae species, Japanese serows (Capricornis crispus), Chinese gorals (Naemorhedus goral), Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and domestic goats (Capra hircus). In addition, all eleven microsatellites (SY3A, SY12A, SY12B, SY48, SY58, SY71, SY76, SY84, SY84B, SY112, and SY129) satisfied the criteria to be a core set of microsatellites. This core set of microsatellites and cross-species amplification of Korean goral microsatellites were found to be helpful for high-resolution studies for conservation and management of Korean goral and other endangered Caprinae species.
Genome-wide active DNA demethylation in primordial germ cells (PGCs), which reprograms the epigenome for totipotency, is linked to changes in nuclear architecture, loss of histone modifications, and widespread histone replacement. Here, we show that DNA demethylation in the mouse PGCs is mechanistically linked to the appearance of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) breaks and the activation of the base excision repair (BER) pathway, as is the case in the zygote where the paternal pronucleus undergoes active DNA demethylation shortly after fertilization. Whereas BER might be triggered by deamination of a methylcytosine (5mC), cumulative evidence indicates other mechanisms in germ cells. We demonstrate that DNA repair through BER represents a core component of genome-wide DNA demethylation in vivo and provides a mechanistic link to the extensive chromatin remodeling in developing PGCs.
Epigenetic reprogramming involves processes that lead to the erasure of epigenetic information. Such instances are typically connected with the reversal of differentiation and can potentially lead to the re-establishment of the pluripotent (embryonic stem (ES)-like) phenotype. Genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming occurs naturally in vivo in the course of normal mammalian development. Although in vitro reprogramming systems that can restore pluripotency in somatic cell have been designed, they are still very inefficient and the process requires considerably more time than the reprogramming processes that occur in vivo. Careful analysis of the developmental reprogramming events can give us mechanistic clues and enable us to design better in vitro experimental strategies.
Isolated atrial amyloidosis (IAA) is associated with atrial tachyarrhythmias. However, only a few studies have appraised atrial tachyarrhythmias and atrial depolarization abnormalities in connection with high-grade IAA. We conducted a collaborative retrospective study to assess this association.
The recent identification of an intragenic differentially methylated region (DMR) within the last exon of the bovine Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) gene provides a diagnostic tool for in-depth investigation of bovine imprinting and regulatory mechanisms which are active during embryo development. Here, we used bisulfite sequencing to compare sex-specific DNA methylation patterns within this DMR in bovine blastocysts produced in vivo, by in vitro fertilization and culture, SCNT, androgenesis or parthenogenesis. In in vivo derived embryos, DNA methylation was removed from this intragenic DMR after fertilization, but partially replaced by the time the embryo reached the blastocyst stage. Among embryos developing in vivo, the level of DNA methylation was significantly lower in female than in male blastocysts. This sexual dimorphism was also found between parthenogenetic and androgenetic embryos, and followed the donor cell sex in SCNT derived blastocysts and is evidence for correct methylation reprogramming in SCNT embryos.
While the effects of contemporaneous local environment on species richness have been repeatedly documented, much less is known about historical effects, especially over large temporal scales. Using fen sites in the Western Carpathian Mountains with known radiocarbon-dated ages spanning Late Glacial to modern times (16 975-270 cal years before 2008), we have compiled richness data from the same plots for three groups of taxa with contrasting dispersal modes: (1) vascular plants, which have macroscopic propagules possessing variable, but rather low, dispersal abilities; (2) bryophytes, which have microscopic propagules that are readily transported long distances by air; and (3) terrestrial and freshwater mollusks, which have macroscopic individuals with slow active migration rates, but which also often possess high passive dispersal abilities. Using path analysis we tested the relationships between species richness and habitat age, area, isolation, and altitude for these groups. When only matrix-derived taxa were considered, no significant positive relation was noted between species richness and habitat size or age. When only calcareous-fen specialists were considered, however, habitat age was found to significantly affect vascular plant richness and, marginally, also bryophyte richness, whereas mollusk richness was significantly affected by habitat area. These results suggest that in inland insular systems only habitat specialist (i.e., interpatch disperser and/or relict species) richness is influenced by habitat age and/or area, with habitat age becoming more important as species dispersal ability decreases.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.