In somatic tissues, the CpG island of the imprinted Peg1/Mest gene is methylated on the maternal allele. We have examined the methylation of CpG and non-CpG sites of this differentially methylated CpG island in freshly ovulated oocytes, in vitro aged oocytes, and pre-implantation embryos. The CpG methylation pattern was heterogeneous in freshly ovulated oocytes, despite the fact that they all were arrested in metaphase II. After short in vitro culture, Peg1/Mest became hypermethylated, whereas prolonged in vitro culture resulted in demethylation in a fraction of oocytes. Non-CpG methylation also occurred in a stage-specific manner. On alleles that were fully methylated at CpG sites, this modification was found, and it became reduced in two-cell stage embryos and blastocysts. These observations suggest that the process of establishment of the methylation imprint at this locus is more dynamic than previously thought.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology