Development

Methylation Map

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Science  12 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5971, pp. 1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5971.1305-c

Epigenetic modification, such as DNA methylation at CpG sequences, functions in normal cell differentiation and development. Dysregulation of DNA methylation is associated with altered gene expression and disease. Now Laurent et al. have used bisulfite sequencing technology and bioinformatices to identify whole-genome DNA methylation maps with single–base pair resolution for three cell types at various stages of differentiation: human embryonic stem cells (hESs), neonatal fibroblasts, and a fibroblast derivative from hESs. These maps were compared to those of mature peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Methylation of CpGs, and to a lesser degree CpAs, was higher in the gene body and lower in promoter regions. At areas of higher DNA methylation, there was depressed binding of histone H3 trimethylation. Furthermore, the pattern of methylation around exons and introns suggests a possible role in regulation of mRNA splicing. Overall, methylation decreased with differentiation progression; however, many differentially methylated regions, some of which are key pluripotency and differentiation-associated genes, increased methylation during differentiation.

Genome Res. 10.1101/gr.101907.109 (2010).

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