Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    Genomic imprinting effects on complex traits in domesticated animal species
    Monoallelically expressed genes that exert their phenotypic effect in a parent-of-origin specific manner are considered to be subject to genomic imprinting, the most well understood form of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in mammals. The observed differences in allele specific gene expression for imprinted genes are not attributable to differences in DNA sequence information, but to specific chemical modifications of DNA and chromatin proteins. Since the discovery of genomic imprinting some three decades ago, over one hundred imprinted mammalian genes have been identified and considerable advances have been made in uncovering the molecular mechanisms regulating imprinted gene expression. While most genomic imprinting studies have focused on mouse models and human biomedical disorders, recent work has highlighted the contributions of imprinted genes to complex trait variation in domestic livestock species. Consequently, greater understanding of genomic imprinting and its effect on agriculturally important traits is predicted to have major implications for the future of animal breeding and husbandry. In this review, we discuss genomic imprinting in mammals with particular emphasis on domestic livestock species and consider how this information can be used in animal breeding research and genetic improvement programs.
    Scopus© Citations 26  818
  • Publication
    DNA methylation dynamics at imprinted genes during bovine pre-implantation embryo development
    Background: In mammals, maternal differentially methylated regions (DMRs) acquire DNA methylation during the postnatal growth stage of oogenesis, with paternal DMRs acquiring DNA methylation in the perinatal prospermatagonia. Following fusion of the male and female gametes, it is widely accepted that murine DNA methylation marks at the DMRs of imprinted genes are stable through embryogenesis and early development, until they are reprogrammed in primordial germ cells. However, the DNA methylation dynamics at DMRs of bovine imprinted genes during early stages of development remains largely unknown. The objective of this investigation was to analyse the methylation dynamics at imprinted gene DMRs during bovine embryo development, from blastocyst stage until implantation. Results: To this end, pyrosequencing technology was used to quantify DNA methylation at DMR-associated CpG dinucleotides of six imprinted bovine genes (SNRPN, MEST, IGF2R, PLAGL1, PEG10 and H19) using bisulfite-modified genomic DNA isolated from individual blastocysts (Day 7); ovoid embryos (Day 14); filamentous embryos (Day 17) and implanting conceptuses (Day 25). For all genes, the degree of DNA methylation was most variable in Day 7 blastocysts compared to later developmental stages (P < 0.05). Furthermore, mining of RNA-seq transcriptomic data and western blot analysis revealed a specific window of expression of DNA methylation machinery genes (including DNMT3A, DNMT3B, TRIM28/KAP1 and DNMT1) and proteins (DNMT3A, DNMT3A2 and DNMT3B) by bovine embryos coincident with imprint stabilization. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the DNA methylation status of bovine DMRs might be variable during the early stages of embryonic development, possibly requiring an active period of imprint stabilization.
    Scopus© Citations 30  794
  • Publication
    Bi-directional efects of vitamin B12 and methotrexate on Daphnia magna ftness and genomic methylation
    Here we interrogated, using three separate but complementary experimental approaches, the impact of vitamin B12 availability and methotrexate exposure on Daphnia magna, which we hypothesised should have an opposite efect on One carbon metabolism (OCM). OCM is a vital biological process supporting a variety of physiological processes, including DNA methylation. Contrary to mammalian models, this process remains largely unexplored in invertebrates. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the impact of OCM short-term alteration on the ftness and epigenome of the keystone species, Daphnia. We used maternal age at reproduction, brood size and survival rates in combination with DNA methylation sensitive comet assay to determine the efects of vitamin B12 or MTX on ftness and the epigenome. Vitamin B12 had a positive infuence on Daphnia ftness and we provide evidence demonstrating that this may be associated with an increased level of genome-wide DNA methylation. Conversely, exposing D. magna to MTX negatively infuenced the ftness of the animals and was associated with loss of global DNA methylation, translating in decreased ftness. These results highlight the potential importance of OCM in invertebrates, providing novel evidence supporting a potential role for epigenetic modifcations to the genome in D. magna environmental adaptability.
      280Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Epigenetic processes in the male germline
    (CSIRO Publishing, 2014-09) ;
    Sperm undergo some of the most extensive chromatin modifications seen in mammalian biology. During male germline development, paternal DNA methylation marks are erased and established on a global scale through waves of demethylation and de novo methylation. As spermatogenesis progresses, the majority of the histones are removed and replaced by protamines, enabling a tighter packaging of the DNA and transcriptional shutdown. Following fertilisation, the paternal genome is rapidly reactivated, actively demethylated, the protamines are replaced with histones and the embryonic genome is activated. The development of new assays, made possible by high-throughput sequencing technology, has resulted in the revisiting of what was considered settled science regarding the state of DNA packaging in mammalian spermatozoa. Researchers have discovered that not all histones are replaced by protamines and, in certain experiments, various species of RNA have been detected in what was previously considered transcriptionally quiescent spermatozoa. Most controversially, several groups have suggested that environmental modifications of the epigenetic state of spermatozoa may operate as a non-DNA-based form of inheritance, a process known as 'transgenerational epigenetic inheritance'. Other developments in the field include the increased focus on the involvement of short RNAs, such as microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs. There has also been an accumulation of evidence illustrating associations between defects in sperm DNA packaging and disease and fertility. In this paper we review the literature, recent findings and areas of controversy associated with epigenetic processes in the male germline, focusing on DNA methylation dynamics, non-coding RNAs, the biology of sperm chromatin packaging and transgenerational inheritance.
    Scopus© Citations 27  1088
  • Publication
    Sex-specific promoters regulate Dnmt3L expression in mouse germ cells
    Background: Dnmt3L, a member of the DNA methyltransferase 3 family, lacks enzymatic activity but is required for de-novo methylation of imprinted genes in oocytes and for transposon repression in male germ cells. Methods: We used northern blots, RT-PCR, 5' rapid amplification of complementary DNA (cDNA) ends (RACE), RNase H mapping, real-time/quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization to identify and characterize Dnmt3L transcripts produced during germ cell development. Results: Mouse Dnmt3L uses three sex-specific promoters, not the single promoter previously thought. A promoter active in prospermatogonia drives transcription of an mRNA encoding the full-length protein in perinatal testis, where de-novo methylation occurs. Late pachytene spermatocytes activate a second promoter in intron 9 of the Dnmt3L gene. After this stage, the predominant transcripts are three truncated mRNAs, which appear to be non-coding. We could also detect similar adult testis transcripts in humans. In the mouse ovary, an oocyte-specific promoter located in an intron of the neighbouring autoimmune regulator (Aire) gene produces a transcript with the full open reading frame (ORF). This is the only Dnmt3L transcript found in growing oocytes and is absent in the oocytes of Dnmt3L-/- females. Conclusions: Sex-specific promoters control Dnmt3L expression in the mouse germ line, mirroring the situation at the Dnmt1 and Dnmt3A loci.
    Scopus© Citations 50  610
  • Publication
    An integrated platform for bovine DNA methylome analysis suitable for small samples
    Background: Oocytes and early embryos contain minute amounts of DNA, RNA and proteins, making the study of early mammalian development highly challenging. The study of the embryo epigenome, in particular the DNA methylome, has been made accessible thanks to the possibility of amplifying specific sequences according to their initial methylation status. This paper describes a novel platform dedicated to the genome-wide study of bovine DNA methylation, including a complete pipeline for data analysis and visualization. The platform allows processing and integrating of DNA methylome and transcriptome data from the same sample. Procedures were optimized for genome-wide analysis of 10 ng of DNA (10 bovine blastocysts). Bovine sperm and blastocysts were compared as a test of platform capability. Results: The hypermethylation of bovine sperm DNA compared to the embryo genome was confirmed. Differentially methylated regions were distributed across various classes of bovine sperm genomic feature including primarily promoter, intronic and exonic regions, non-CpG-island regions (shore, shelf and open-sea) and CpG islands with low-to-intermediate CpG density. The blastocyst genome bore more methylation marks than sperm DNA only in CpG islands with high CpG density. Long-terminal-repeat retrotransposons (LTR), LINE and SINE were more methylated in sperm DNA, as were low-complexity repetitive elements in blastocysts. Conclusions: This is the first early embryo compatible genome-wide epigenetics platform for bovine. Such platforms should improve the study of the potential epigenetic risks of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), the establishment sequence of embryonic cell lines and potential deviations in both gene expression and DNA methylation capable of having long-term impact.
    Scopus© Citations 34  622
  • Publication
    Chito-Oligosaccharide Inhibits the De-Methylation of a CpG Island within the Leptin (LEP) Promoter during Adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 Cells
    (Public Library of Science, 2013-03-27) ; ; ;
    Chito-oligosaccharide (COS) is a natural bioactive compound, which has been shown to suppress lipid metabolic genes and lipid accumulation in differentiating adipocytes. Leptin has been identified as a key regulator of energy homeostasis and is known to be under epigenetic regulation during adipogenesis. Hence, the first objective of this experiment was to compare leptin gene (LEP) expression and leptin secretion during the different stages of adipogenesis and to investigate the effect of COS on these processes. As COS inhibited LEP expression during adipogenesis, the second aim was to investigate the methylation dynamics of a ¿CpG¿ island in the proximal region of the LEP promoter during adipogenesis and to determine the effect of COS on this process. Mouse 3T3-L1 cells were stimulated to differentiate in the absence or presence of COS and the levels of leptin mRNA and protein were evaluated on days 0, 2, 4 and 6 post-induction of differentiation (PID). The extent of de-methylation of six CpG sites was evaluated. LEP mRNA transcript and protein could not be detected on either day 0PID or 2PID. In contrast, both were detected on day 4PID (P<0.05) and 6PID (P<0.001) and both were inhibited by COS (P<0.001). Of the six CpG sites analyzed, CpG_52, CpG_62 and CpG_95 became 11.5, 5.0 and 5.0% de-methylated between day 2PID and 6PID, respectively. COS blocked this de-methylation event at CpG_52 (P<0.001), CpG_62 (P<0.01) and CpG_95 (P<0.01) on day 6PID. These data suggest that COS can have an epigenetic effect on differentiating adipocytes, a novel biological function of COS which has potential applications for the manipulation of leptin gene expression, adipogenesis, and conditions within the metabolic syndrome spectrum.
    Scopus© Citations 9  407
  • Publication
    Exposure of bovine oocytes and embryos to elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations: integration of epigenetic and transcriptomic signatures in resultant blastocysts
    Background: Metabolic stress associated with negative energy balance in high producing dairy cattle and obesity in women is a risk factor for decreased fertility. Non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) are involved in this pathogenesis as they jeopardize oocyte and embryo development. Growing evidence indicates that maternal metabolic disorders can disturb epigenetic programming, such as DNA methylation, in the offspring. Oocyte maturation and early embryo development coincide with methylation changes and both are sensitive to adverse environments. Therefore, we investigated whether elevated NEFA concentrations affect establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation in oocytes and embryos, subsequently altering transcriptomic profiles and developmental competence of resultant blastocysts. Results: Bovine oocytes and embryos were exposed to different NEFA concentrations in separate experiments. In the first experiment, oocytes were matured in vitro for 24 h in medium containing: 1) physiological ('BASAL') concentrations of oleic (OA), palmitic (PA) and stearic (SA) acid or 2) pathophysiological ('HIGH COMBI') concentrations of OA, PA and SA. In the second experiment, zygotes were cultivated in vitro for 6.5 days under BASAL or HIGH COMBI conditions. Developmental competence was evaluated by assessing cleavage and blastocyst rate. Overall gene expression and DNA methylation of resultant blastocysts were analyzed using microarray. DNA methylation data were re-evaluated by pyrosequencing. HIGH COMBI-exposed oocytes and embryos displayed a lower competence to develop into blastocysts compared to BASAL-exposed counterparts (19.3% compared to 23.2% and 18.2% compared to 25.3%, respectively) (P < 0.05). HIGH COMBI-exposed oocytes and embryos resulted in blastocysts with altered DNA methylation and transcriptomic fingerprints, compared to BASAL-exposed counterparts. Differences in gene expression and methylation were more pronounced after exposure during culture compared to maturation suggesting that zygotes are more susceptible to adverse environments. Main gene networks affected were related to lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, cell death, immune response and metabolic disorders. Conclusions: Overall, high variation in methylation between blastocysts made it difficult to draw conclusions concerning methylation of individual genes, although a clear overview of affected pathways was obtained. This may offer clues regarding the high rate of embryonic loss and metabolic diseases during later life observed in offspring from mothers displaying lipolytic disorders.
    Scopus© Citations 73  302
  • Publication
    Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) disrupts particle transport, cilia function and sperm motility in an ex vivooviduct model
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-04-15) ;
    The oviduct functions in the transportation of gametes to the site of fertilization (the ampulla) and is the site of early embryonic development. Alterations of this early developmental environment, such as the presence of sexually transmitted pathogens, may affect oviduct function leading to reduced fertilization rates and contribute to compromised embryonic development. In this study, sperm interactions, particle transport speed (PTS) and cilia beat frequency (CBF) in the ampulla following exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a constituent of the sexually transmitted pathogens Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia abortus, was investigated. Three complementary experiments were performed to analyse; (1) bound sperm motility and cilia function (2) transport velocity in the oviduct and (3) the expression of genes related to immune function and inflammatory response (CASP3, CD14, MYD88, TLR4 and TRAF6). The motility of bound sperm was significantly lower in ampullae that were exposed to LPS. CBF and PTS significantly increased after treatment with LPS for 2 hours. Finally, gene expression analysis revealed that CASP3 and CD14 were significantly upregulated and TLR4 trended towards increased expression following treatment with LPS. These findings provide an insight on the impact of LPS on the oviduct sperm interaction, and have implications for both male and female fertility.
    Scopus© Citations 14  288