Imprinted genes in mammals show monoallelic expression dependent on parental origin and are often associated with differentially methylated regions (DMRs). There are two classes of DMR: primary DMRs acquire gamete-specific methylation in either spermatogenesis or oogenesis and maintain the allelic methylation differences throughout development; secondary DMRs establish differential methylation patterns after fertilization. Targeted disruption of some primary DMRs showed that they dictate the allelic expression of nearby imprinted genes and the establishment of the allelic methylation of secondary DMRs. However, how primary DMRs are recognized by the imprinting machinery is unknown. As a step toward elucidating the sequence features of the primary DMRs, we have determined the extents and boundaries of 15 primary mouse DMRs (including 12 maternally methylated and three paternally methylated DMRs) in 12.5-dpc embryos by bisulfite sequencing. We found that the average size of the DMRs was 3.2 kb and that their average G+C content was 54%. Dinucleotide content analysis of the DMR sequences revealed that, although they are generally CpG rich, the paternally methylated DMRs contain less CpGs than the maternally methylated DMRs. Our findings provide a basis for the further characterization of DMRs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology