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(1/2221) In vivo nuclease hypersensitivity studies reveal multiple sites of parental origin-dependent differential chromatin conformation in the 150 kb SNRPN transcription unit.

Human chromosome region 15q11-q13 contains a cluster of oppositely imprinted genes. Loss of the paternal or the maternal alleles by deletion of the region or by uniparental disomy 15 results in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) or Angelman syndrome (AS), respectively. Hence, the two phenotypically distinct neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by the lack of products of imprinted genes. Subsets of PWS and AS patients exhibit 'imprinting mutations', such as small microdeletions within the 5' region of the small nuclear ribonucleoprotein polypeptide N ( SNRPN ) transcription unit which affect the transcriptional activity and methylation status of distant imprinted genes throughout 15q11-q13 in cis. To elucidate the mechanism of these long-range effects, we have analyzed the chromatin structure of the 150 kb SNRPN transcription unit for DNase I- and Msp I-hypersensitive sites. By using an in vivo approach on lymphoblastoid cell lines from PWS and AS individuals, we discovered that the SNRPN exon 1 is flanked by prominent hypersensitive sites on the paternal allele, but is completely inaccessible to nucleases on the maternal allele. In contrast, we identified several regions of increased nuclease hypersensitivity on the maternal allele, one of which coincides with the AS minimal microdeletion region and another lies in intron 1 immediately downstream of the paternal-specific hypersensitive sites. At several sites, parental origin-specific nuclease hypersensitivity was found to be correlated with hypermethylation on the allele contributed by the other parent. The differential parental origin-dependent chromatin conformations might govern access of regulatory protein complexes and/or RNAs which could mediate interaction of the region with other genes.  (+info)

(2/2221) Two novel genes in the center of the 11p15 imprinted domain escape genomic imprinting.

We previously reported the isolation of a 2.5 Mb tumor-suppressing subchromosomal transferable fragment (STF) from human chromosome 11p15 and the identification of nine known genes and four novel genes within this STF. We now report the isolation of two novel cDNAs, designated here as TSSC4 and TSSC6 (tumor-suppressing STF cDNA 4 and 6), located within the STF. TSSC4 and TSSC6 encode predicted proteins of 329 and 290 amino acids, respectively, with no close similarity to previously reported proteins. TSSC4 and TSSC6 are both located in the center of a 1 Mb imprinted domain, which contains the imprinted genes TSSC3, TSSC5, p57(KIP2), KVLQT1, ASCL2, IGF2 and H19. However, we found that neither TSSC4 nor TSSC6 was significantly imprinted in any of the fetal or extra-embryonic tissues examined. Based on this result, the imprinted gene domain of 11p15 appears to contain at least two imprinted subdomains, between which TSSC4 and TSSC6 substantially escape imprinting, due either to lack of initial silencing or to an early developmental relaxation of imprinting.  (+info)

(3/2221) Genetic conflicts in genomic imprinting.

The expression pattern of genes in mammals and plants can depend upon the parent from which the gene was inherited, evidence for a mechanism of parent-specific genomic imprinting. Kinship considerations are likely to be important in the natural selection of many such genes, because coefficients of relatedness will usually differ between maternally and paternally derived genes. Three classes of gene are likely to be involved in genomic imprinting: the imprinted genes themselves, trans-acting genes in the parents, which affect the application of the imprint, and trnas-acting genes in the offspring, which recognize and affect the expression of the imprint. We show that coefficients of relatedness will typically differ among these three classes, thus engendering conflicts of interest between Imprinter genes, imprinted genes, and imprint-recognition genes, with probable consequences for the evolution of the imprinting machinery.  (+info)

(4/2221) Autoantibody appearance and risk for development of childhood diabetes in offspring of parents with type 1 diabetes: the 2-year analysis of the German BABYDIAB Study.

The temporal development of autoantibodies was studied in 1,353 offspring of parents with type 1 diabetes. Islet cell antibodies (ICAs) and autoantibodies to insulin (IAAs), glutamic acid decarboxylase, and IA-2 were measured at birth, 9 months, 2 years, and 5 years of age. At birth, no offspring had islet autoimmunity other than maternally acquired antibodies, which were shown to influence antibody prevalence up to age 6 months. Antibodies detected thereafter were likely to represent a true de novo production, since prevalences were the same for offspring from mothers and fathers with diabetes, antibodies detected at 9 months were almost always confirmed in the 2-year sample and were associated with an increased likelihood of having or developing other antibodies. By 2 years of age, autoantibodies appeared in 11% of offspring, 3.5% having more than one autoantibody. IAAs were detected most frequently, and few had autoantibodies in the absence of IAAs. In 23 offspring with multiple islet autoantibodies, IAAs preceded other antibodies in 10 cases and were first detected concurrently with other antibodies in 12 and after detection of other antibodies in 1. Development of additional antibodies and changes in levels, including decline of IAAs at older age, was frequent. Nine children, all with IAAs and ICAs, developed diabetes. Overall cumulative risk for disease by 5 years of age was 1.8% (95% CI 0.2-3.4) and was 50% (95% CI 19-81) for offspring with more than one autoantibody in their 2-year sample. Autoimmunity associated with childhood diabetes is an early event and a dynamic process. Presence of IAAs is a consistent feature of this autoimmunity, and IAA detection can identify children at risk.  (+info)

(5/2221) Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA in type 2 diabetes: maternal history and ancient population expansion.

Several studies have suggested a maternal excess in the transmission of type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. However, the majority of these reports rely on patients recalling parental disease status and hence are open to criticism. An alternative approach is to study mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages. The hypervariable region 1 of the rapidly evolving noncoding section of mtDNA is suitable for investigating maternal ancestry and has been used extensively to study the origins of human racial groups. We have sequenced this 347-bp section of mtDNA from leukocytes of subjects with type 2 diabetes (n = 63) and age- and race-matched nondiabetic control subjects (n = 57). Consensus sequences for the two study groups were identical. Pairwise sequence analysis showed unimodal distribution of pairwise differences for both groups, suggesting that both populations had undergone expansion in ancient times. The distributions were significantly different (chi2 = 180, df = 11, P < 0.001); mean pairwise differences were 4.7 and 3.8 for the diabetic and control subjects, respectively. These data suggest that the diabetic subjects belong to an ancient maternal lineage that expanded before the major expansion observed in the nondiabetic population. Phylogenetic trees constructed using maximum parsimony, neighbor-joining, Fitch-Margolish, or maximum likelihood methods failed to show the clustering of all (or a subset) of the diabetic subjects into one or more distinct lineages.  (+info)

(6/2221) Genomic imprinting: implications for human disease.

Genomic imprinting refers to an epigenetic marking of genes that results in monoallelic expression. This parent-of-origin dependent phenomenon is a notable exception to the laws of Mendelian genetics. Imprinted genes are intricately involved in fetal and behavioral development. Consequently, abnormal expression of these genes results in numerous human genetic disorders including carcinogenesis. This paper reviews genomic imprinting and its role in human disease. Additional information about imprinted genes can be found on the Genomic Imprinting Website at http://www.geneimprint.com.  (+info)

(7/2221) Parental allele-specific chromatin configuration in a boundary-imprinting-control element upstream of the mouse H19 gene.

The mouse H19 gene is expressed from the maternal chromosome exclusively. A 2-kb region at 2 to 4 kb upstream of H19 is paternally methylated throughout development, and these sequences are necessary for the imprinted expression of both H19 and the 5'-neighboring Igf2 gene. In particular, on the maternal chromosome this element appears to insulate the Igf2 gene from enhancers located downstream of H19. We analyzed the chromatin organization of this element by assaying its sensitivity to nucleases in nuclei. Six DNase I hypersensitive sites (HS sites) were detected on the unmethylated maternal chromosome exclusively, the two most prominent of which mapped 2.25 and 2.75 kb 5' to the H19 transcription initiation site. Five of the maternal HS sites were present in expressing and nonexpressing tissues and in embryonic stem (ES) cells. They seem, therefore, to reflect the maternal origin of the chromosome rather than the expression of H19. A sixth maternal HS site, at 3.45 kb upstream of H19, was detected in ES cells only. The nucleosomal organization of this element was analyzed in tissues and ES cells by micrococcal nuclease digestion. Specifically on the maternal chromosome, an unusual and strong banding pattern was obtained, suggestive of a nonnucleosomal organization. From our studies, it appears that the unusual chromatin organization with the presence of HS sites (maternal chromosome) and DNA methylation (paternal chromosome) in this element are mutually exclusive and reflect alternate epigenetic states. In addition, our data suggest that nonhistone proteins are associated with the maternal chromosome and that these might be involved in its boundary function.  (+info)

(8/2221) The "thermolabile" variant of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and neural tube defects: An evaluation of genetic risk and the relative importance of the genotypes of the embryo and the mother.

Recent reports have implicated the "thermolabile" (T) variant of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) in the causation of folate-dependent neural tube defects (NTDs). We report herein the largest genetic study of NTD cases (n=271) and families (n=218) to date, establishing that, in Ireland, the "TT" genotype is found in 18.8% of cases versus 8.3% of controls (odds ratio 2.57; confidence interval [CI] 1.48-4.45; P=.0005). The maternal and paternal TT genotypes have intermediate frequencies of 13.8% and 11.9%, respectively, indicating that the predominant MTHFR-related genetic effect acts via the TT genotype of the developing embryo. Analysis of the 218 family triads of mother, father, and affected child with log-linear models supports this interpretation, providing significant evidence that the case TT genotype is associated with NTDs (P=.02) but no evidence of a maternal TT genotypic effect (P=. 83). The log-linear model predicted that the risk of NTDs conferred by the case TT genotype is 1.61 (CI 1.06-2.46), consistent with the paramount importance of the case TT genotype in determining risk. There is no compelling evidence for more than a modest additional risk conferred by a maternal TT genotype. These results favor a biological model of MTHFR-related NTD pathogenesis in which suboptimal maternal folate status imposes biochemical stress on the developing embryo, a stress it is ill-equipped to tolerate if it has a TT genotype.  (+info)