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1.  Genome Wide Analysis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Reveal Leukemia Specific Methylome and Subtype Specific Hypomethylation of Repeats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33213.
Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq) has the potential to identify changes in DNA methylation important in cancer development. In order to understand the role of epigenetic modulation in the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) we have applied MeDIP-seq to the DNA of 12 AML patients and 4 normal bone marrows. This analysis revealed leukemia-associated differentially methylated regions that included gene promoters, gene bodies, CpG islands and CpG island shores. Two genes (SPHKAP and DPP6) with significantly methylated promoters were of interest and further analysis of their expression showed them to be repressed in AML. We also demonstrated considerable cytogenetic subtype specificity in the methylomes affecting different genomic features. Significantly distinct patterns of hypomethylation of certain interspersed repeat elements were associated with cytogenetic subtypes. The methylation patterns of members of the SINE family tightly clustered all leukemic patients with an enrichment of Alu repeats with a high CpG density (P<0.0001). We were able to demonstrate significant inverse correlation between intragenic interspersed repeat sequence methylation and gene expression with SINEs showing the strongest inverse correlation (R2 = 0.7). We conclude that the alterations in DNA methylation that accompany the development of AML affect not only the promoters, but also the non-promoter genomic features, with significant demethylation of certain interspersed repeat DNA elements being associated with AML cytogenetic subtypes. MeDIP-seq data were validated using bisulfite pyrosequencing and the Infinium array.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033213
PMCID: PMC3315563  PMID: 22479372
2.  A Comparison of the Whole Genome Approach of MeDIP-Seq to the Targeted Approach of the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® for Methylome Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50233.
DNA methylation is one of the most studied epigenetic marks in the human genome, with the result that the desire to map the human methylome has driven the development of several methods to map DNA methylation on a genomic scale. Our study presents the first comparison of two of these techniques - the targeted approach of the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® with the immunoprecipitation and sequencing-based method, MeDIP-seq. Both methods were initially validated with respect to bisulfite sequencing as the gold standard and then assessed in terms of coverage, resolution and accuracy. The regions of the methylome that can be assayed by both methods and those that can only be assayed by one method were determined and the discovery of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) by both techniques was examined. Our results show that the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® and MeDIP-seq show a good positive correlation (Spearman correlation of 0.68) on a genome-wide scale and can both be used successfully to determine differentially methylated loci in RefSeq genes, CpG islands, shores and shelves. MeDIP-seq however, allows a wider interrogation of methylated regions of the human genome, including thousands of non-RefSeq genes and repetitive elements, all of which may be of importance in disease. In our study MeDIP-seq allowed the detection of 15,709 differentially methylated regions, nearly twice as many as the array-based method (8070), which may result in a more comprehensive study of the methylome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050233
PMCID: PMC3510246  PMID: 23209683
3.  Genome-wide analysis of aberrant methylation in human breast cancer cells using methyl-DNA immunoprecipitation combined with high-throughput sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:137.
Background
Cancer cells undergo massive alterations to their DNA methylation patterns that result in aberrant gene expression and malignant phenotypes. However, the mechanisms that underlie methylome changes are not well understood nor is the genomic distribution of DNA methylation changes well characterized.
Results
Here, we performed methylated DNA immunoprecipitation combined with high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq) to obtain whole-genome DNA methylation profiles for eight human breast cancer cell (BCC) lines and for normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC). The MeDIP-seq analysis generated non-biased DNA methylation maps by covering almost the entire genome with sufficient depth and resolution. The most prominent feature of the BCC lines compared to HMEC was a massively reduced methylation level particularly in CpG-poor regions. While hypomethylation did not appear to be associated with particular genomic features, hypermethylation preferentially occurred at CpG-rich gene-related regions independently of the distance from transcription start sites. We also investigated methylome alterations during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in MCF7 cells. EMT induction was associated with specific alterations to the methylation patterns of gene-related CpG-rich regions, although overall methylation levels were not significantly altered. Moreover, approximately 40% of the epithelial cell-specific methylation patterns in gene-related regions were altered to those typical of mesenchymal cells, suggesting a cell-type specific regulation of DNA methylation.
Conclusions
This study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the methylome of human mammary cell lines and has produced novel insights into the mechanisms of methylome alteration during tumorigenesis and the interdependence between DNA methylome alterations and morphological changes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-137
PMCID: PMC2838848  PMID: 20181289
4.  A Bayesian deconvolution strategy for immunoprecipitation-based DNA methylome analysis 
Nature biotechnology  2008;26(7):779-785.
DNA methylation is an indispensible epigenetic modification of mammalian genomes. Consequently there is great interest in strategies for genome-wide/whole-genome DNA methylation analysis, and immunoprecipitation-based methods have proven to be a powerful option. Such methods are rapidly shifting the bottleneck from data generation to data analysis, necessitating the development of better analytical tools. Until now, a major analytical difficulty associated with immunoprecipitation-based DNA methylation profiling has been the inability to estimate absolute methylation levels. Here we report the development of a novel cross-platform algorithm – Bayesian Tool for Methylation Analysis (Batman) – for analyzing Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) profiles generated using arrays (MeDIP-chip) or next-generation sequencing (MeDIP-seq). The latter is an approach we have developed to elucidate the first high-resolution whole-genome DNA methylation profile (DNA methylome) of any mammalian genome. MeDIP-seq/MeDIP-chip combined with Batman represent robust, quantitative, and cost-effective functional genomic strategies for elucidating the function of DNA methylation.
doi:10.1038/nbt1414
PMCID: PMC2644410  PMID: 18612301
5.  Microplate-based platform for combined chromatin and DNA methylation immunoprecipitation assays 
BMC Molecular Biology  2011;12:49.
Background
The processes that compose expression of a given gene are far more complex than previously thought presenting unprecedented conceptual and mechanistic challenges that require development of new tools. Chromatin structure, which is regulated by DNA methylation and histone modification, is at the center of gene regulation. Immunoprecipitations of chromatin (ChIP) and methylated DNA (MeDIP) represent a major achievement in this area that allow researchers to probe chromatin modifications as well as specific protein-DNA interactions in vivo and to estimate the density of proteins at specific sites genome-wide. Although a critical component of chromatin structure, DNA methylation has often been studied independently of other chromatin events and transcription.
Results
To allow simultaneous measurements of DNA methylation with other genomic processes, we developed and validated a simple and easy-to-use high throughput microplate-based platform for analysis of DNA methylation. Compared to the traditional beads-based MeDIP the microplate MeDIP was more sensitive and had lower non-specific binding. We integrated the MeDIP method with a microplate ChIP assay which allows measurements of both DNA methylation and histone marks at the same time, Matrix ChIP-MeDIP platform. We illustrated several applications of this platform to relate DNA methylation, with chromatin and transcription events at selected genes in cultured cells, human cancer and in a model of diabetic kidney disease.
Conclusion
The high throughput capacity of Matrix ChIP-MeDIP to profile tens and potentially hundreds of different genomic events at the same time as DNA methylation represents a powerful platform to explore complex genomic mechanism at selected genes in cultured cells and in whole tissues. In this regard, Matrix ChIP-MeDIP should be useful to complement genome-wide studies where the rich chromatin and transcription database resources provide fruitful foundation to pursue mechanistic, functional and diagnostic information at genes of interest in health and disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-12-49
PMCID: PMC3247195  PMID: 22098709
6.  Resources for methylome analysis suitable for gene knockout studies of potential epigenome modifiers 
GigaScience  2012;1:3.
Background
Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) is a popular enrichment based method and can be combined with sequencing (termed MeDIP-seq) to interrogate the methylation status of cytosines across entire genomes. However, quality control and analysis of MeDIP-seq data have remained to be a challenge.
Results
We report genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of wild type (wt) and mutant mouse cells, comprising 3 biological replicates of Thymine DNA glycosylase (Tdg) knockout (KO) embryonic stem cells (ESCs), in vitro differentiated neural precursor cells (NPCs) and embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). The resulting 18 methylomes were analysed with MeDUSA (Methylated DNA Utility for Sequence Analysis), a novel MeDIP-seq computational analysis pipeline for the identification of differentially methylated regions (DMRs). The observed increase of hypermethylation in MEF promoter-associated CpG islands supports a previously proposed role for Tdg in the protection of regulatory regions from epigenetic silencing. Further analysis of genes and regions associated with the DMRs by gene ontology, pathway, and ChIP analyses revealed further insights into Tdg function, including an association of TDG with low-methylated distal regulatory regions.
Conclusions
We demonstrate that MeDUSA is able to detect both large-scale changes between cells from different stages of differentiation and also small but significant changes between the methylomes of cells that only differ in the KO of a single gene. These changes were validated utilising publicly available datasets and confirm TDG's function in the protection of regulatory regions from epigenetic silencing.
doi:10.1186/2047-217X-1-3
PMCID: PMC3617451  PMID: 23587164
Methylome; MeDIP-seq; Epigenetics; Epigenomics; DNA methylation; Computational pipeline; MeDUSA
7.  Assessing the efficiency and significance of Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) assays in using in vitro methylated genomic DNA 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:240.
Background
DNA methylation contributes to the regulation of gene expression during development and cellular differentiation. The recently developed Methylated DNA ImmunoPrecipitation (MeDIP) assay allows a comprehensive analysis of this epigenetic mark at the genomic level in normal and disease-derived cells. However, estimating the efficiency of the MeDIP technique is difficult without previous knowledge of the methylation status of a given cell population. Attempts to circumvent this problem have involved the use of in vitro methylated DNA in parallel to the investigated samples. Taking advantage of this stratagem, we sought to improve the sensitivity of the approach and to assess potential biases resulting from DNA amplification and hybridization procedures using MeDIP samples.
Findings
We performed MeDIP assays using in vitro methylated DNA, with or without previous DNA amplification, and hybridization to a human promoter array. We observed that CpG content at gene promoters indeed correlates strongly with the MeDIP signal obtained using in vitro methylated DNA, even when lowering significantly the amount of starting material. In analyzing MeDIP products that were subjected to whole genome amplification (WGA), we also revealed a strong bias against CpG-rich promoters during this amplification procedure, which may potentially affect the significance of the resulting data.
Conclusion
We illustrate the use of in vitro methylated DNA to assess the efficiency and accuracy of MeDIP procedures. We report that efficient and reproducible genome-wide data can be obtained via MeDIP experiments using relatively low amount of starting genomic DNA; and emphasize for the precaution that must be taken in data analysis when an additional DNA amplification step is required.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-240
PMCID: PMC2949662  PMID: 20846371
8.  Methylome reorganization during in vitro dedifferentiation and regeneration of Populus trichocarpa 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:92.
Background
Cytosine DNA methylation (5mC) is an epigenetic modification that is important to genome stability and regulation of gene expression. Perturbations of 5mC have been implicated as a cause of phenotypic variation among plants regenerated through in vitro culture systems. However, the pattern of change in 5mC and its functional role with respect to gene expression, are poorly understood at the genome scale. A fuller understanding of how 5mC changes during in vitro manipulation may aid the development of methods for reducing or amplifying the mutagenic and epigenetic effects of in vitro culture and plant transformation.
Results
We investigated the in vitro methylome of the model tree species Populus trichocarpa in a system that mimics routine methods for regeneration and plant transformation in the genus Populus (poplar). Using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq), we compared the methylomes of internode stem segments from micropropagated explants, dedifferentiated calli, and internodes from regenerated plants. We found that more than half (56%) of the methylated portion of the genome appeared to be differentially methylated among the three tissue types. Surprisingly, gene promoter methylation varied little among tissues, however, the percentage of body-methylated genes increased from 9% to 14% between explants and callus tissue, then decreased to 8% in regenerated internodes. Forty-five percent of differentially-methylated genes underwent transient methylation, becoming methylated in calli, and demethylated in regenerants. These genes were more frequent in chromosomal regions with higher gene density. Comparisons with an expression microarray dataset showed that genes methylated at both promoters and gene bodies had lower expression than genes that were unmethylated or only promoter-methylated in all three tissues. Four types of abundant transposable elements showed their highest levels of 5mC in regenerated internodes.
Conclusions
DNA methylation varies in a highly gene- and chromosome-differential manner during in vitro differentiation and regeneration. 5mC in redifferentiated tissues was not reset to that in original explants during the study period. Hypermethylation of gene bodies in dedifferentiated cells did not interfere with transcription, and may serve a protective role against activation of abundant transposable elements.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-92
PMCID: PMC3728041  PMID: 23799904
9.  Genome-wide high-resolution mapping of DNA methylation identifies epigenetic variation across embryo and endosperm in Maize (Zea may) 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):21.
Background
Epigenetic modifications play important roles in plant and animal development. DNA methylation impacts the transposable element (TE) silencing, gene imprinting and expression regulation.
Results
Through a genome-wide analysis, DNA methylation peaks were characterized and mapped in maize embryo and endosperm genome, respectively. Distinct methylation level was observed across maize embryo and endosperm. The maize embryo genome contained more DNA methylation than endosperm. Totally, 985,478 CG islands (CGIs) were identified and most of them were unmethylated. More CGI shores were methylated than CGIs in maize suggested that DNA methylation level was not positively correlated with CpG density. The promoter sequence and transcriptional termination region (TTR) were more methylated than the gene body (intron and exon) region based on peak number and methylated depth. Result showed that 99% TEs were methylated in maize embryo, but a large portion of them (34.8%) were not methylated in endosperm. Maize embryo and endosperm exhibit distinct pattern/level of methylation. The most differentially methylated region between embryo and endosperm are CGI shores. Our results indicated that DNA methylation is associated with both gene silencing and gene activation in maize. Many genes involved in embryogenesis and seed development were found differentially methylated in embryo and endosperm. We found 41.5% imprinting genes were similarly methylated and 58.5% imprinting genes were differentially methylated between embryo and endosperm. Methylation level was associated with allelic silencing of only a small number of imprinting genes. The expression of maize DEMETER-like (DME-like) gene and MBD101 gene (MBD4 homolog) were higher in endosperm than in embryo. These two genes may be associated with distinct methylation levels across maize embryo and endosperm.
Conclusions
Through MeDIP-seq we systematically analyzed the methylomes of maize embryo and endosperm and results indicated that the global methylation status of embryo was more than that of the endosperm. Differences could be observed at the total number of methylation peaks, DMRs and specific methylated genes which were tightly associated with development of embryo and endosperm. Our results also revealed that many DNA methylation regions didn’t affect transcription of the corresponding genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1204-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1204-7
PMCID: PMC4316406  PMID: 25612809
DNA methylation; Maize; Embryo; Endosperm; Transposable element; Imprinting gene; MeDIP-seq
10.  Systematic evaluation of genome-wide methylated DNA enrichment using a CpG island array 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:10.
Background
Recent progress in high-throughput technologies has greatly contributed to the development of DNA methylation profiling. Although there are several reports that describe methylome detection of whole genome bisulfite sequencing, the high cost and heavy demand on bioinformatics analysis prevents its extensive application. Thus, current strategies for the study of mammalian DNA methylomes is still based primarily on genome-wide methylated DNA enrichment combined with DNA microarray detection or sequencing. Methylated DNA enrichment is a key step in a microarray based genome-wide methylation profiling study, and even for future high-throughput sequencing based methylome analysis.
Results
In order to evaluate the sensitivity and accuracy of methylated DNA enrichment, we investigated and optimized a number of important parameters to improve the performance of several enrichment assays, including differential methylation hybridization (DMH), microarray-based methylation assessment of single samples (MMASS), and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP). With advantages and disadvantages unique to each approach, we found that assays based on methylation-sensitive enzyme digestion and those based on immunoprecipitation detected different methylated DNA fragments, indicating that they are complementary in their relative ability to detect methylation differences.
Conclusions
Our study provides the first comprehensive evaluation for widely used methodologies for methylated DNA enrichment, and could be helpful for developing a cost effective approach for DNA methylation profiling.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-10
PMCID: PMC3023747  PMID: 21211017
11.  Clinical and public health research using methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP): A comparison of commercially available kits to examine differential DNA methylation across the genome 
Epigenetics  2012;7(1):106-112.
The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation method (MeDIP) is a genome-wide, high-resolution approach that detects DNA methylation with oligonucleotide tiling arrays or high throughput sequencing platforms. A simplified high-throughput MeDIP assay will enable translational research studies in clinics and populations, which will greatly enhance our understanding of the human methylome. We compared three commercial kits, MagMeDIP Kit TM (Diagenode), Methylated-DNA IP Kit (Zymo Research) and Methylamp™ Methylated DNA Capture Kit (Epigentek), in order to identify which one has better reliability and sensitivity for genomic DNA enrichment. Each kit was used to enrich two samples, one from fresh tissue and one from a cell line, with two different DNA amounts. The enrichment efficiency of each kit was evaluated by agarose gel band intensity after Nco I digestion and by reaction yield of methylated DNA. A successful enrichment is expected to have a 1:4 to 10:1 conversion ratio and a yield of 80% or higher. We also evaluated the hybridization efficiency to genome-wide methylation arrays in a separate cohort of tissue samples. We observed that the MagMeDIP kit had the highest yield for the two DNA amounts and for both the tissue and cell line samples, as well as for the positive control. In addition, the DNA was successfully enriched from a 1:4 to 10:1 ratio. Therefore, the MagMeDIP kit is a useful research tool that will enable clinical and public health genome-wide DNA methylation studies.
doi:10.4161/epi.7.1.18647
PMCID: PMC3337832  PMID: 22207357
differential methylation; Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP); translational research genome-wide promoter methylation
12.  High Resolution Methylome Map of Rat Indicates Role of Intragenic DNA Methylation in Identification of Coding Region 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31621.
DNA methylation is crucial for gene regulation and maintenance of genomic stability. Rat has been a key model system in understanding mammalian systemic physiology, however detailed rat methylome remains uncharacterized till date. Here, we present the first high resolution methylome of rat liver generated using Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and high throughput sequencing (MeDIP-Seq) approach. We observed that within the DNA/RNA repeat elements, simple repeats harbor the highest degree of methylation. Promoter hypomethylation and exon hypermethylation were common features in both RefSeq genes and expressed genes (as evaluated by proteomic approach). We also found that although CpG islands were generally hypomethylated, about 6% of them were methylated and a large proportion (37%) of methylated islands fell within the exons. Notably, we obeserved significant differences in methylation of terminal exons (UTRs); methylation being more pronounced in coding/partially coding exons compared to the non-coding exons. Further, events like alternate exon splicing (cassette exon) and intron retentions were marked by DNA methylation and these regions are retained in the final transcript. Thus, we suggest that DNA methylation could play a crucial role in marking coding regions thereby regulating alternative splicing. Apart from generating the first high resolution methylome map of rat liver tissue, the present study provides several critical insights into methylome organization and extends our understanding of interplay between epigenome, gene expression and genome stability.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031621
PMCID: PMC3280313  PMID: 22355382
13.  MetMap Enables Genome-Scale Methyltyping for Determining Methylation States in Populations 
PLoS Computational Biology  2010;6(8):e1000888.
The ability to assay genome-scale methylation patterns using high-throughput sequencing makes it possible to carry out association studies to determine the relationship between epigenetic variation and phenotype. While bisulfite sequencing can determine a methylome at high resolution, cost inhibits its use in comparative and population studies. MethylSeq, based on sequencing of fragment ends produced by a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme, is a method for methyltyping (survey of methylation states) and is a site-specific and cost-effective alternative to whole-genome bisulfite sequencing. Despite its advantages, the use of MethylSeq has been restricted by biases in MethylSeq data that complicate the determination of methyltypes. Here we introduce a statistical method, MetMap, that produces corrected site-specific methylation states from MethylSeq experiments and annotates unmethylated islands across the genome. MetMap integrates genome sequence information with experimental data, in a statistically sound and cohesive Bayesian Network. It infers the extent of methylation at individual CGs and across regions, and serves as a framework for comparative methylation analysis within and among species. We validated MetMap's inferences with direct bisulfite sequencing, showing that the methylation status of sites and islands is accurately inferred. We used MetMap to analyze MethylSeq data from four human neutrophil samples, identifying novel, highly unmethylated islands that are invisible to sequence-based annotation strategies. The combination of MethylSeq and MetMap is a powerful and cost-effective tool for determining genome-scale methyltypes suitable for comparative and association studies.
Author Summary
In the vertebrates, methylation of cytosine residues in DNA regulates gene activity in concert with proteins that associate with DNA. Large-scale genomewide comparative studies that seek to link specific methylation patterns to disease will require hundreds or thousands of samples, and thus economical methods that assay genomewide methylation. One such method is MethylSeq, which samples cytosine methylation at site-specific resolution by high-throughput sequencing of the ends of DNA fragments generated by methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes. MethylSeq's low cost and simplicity of implementation enable its use in large-scale comparative studies, but biases inherent to the method inhibit interpretation of the data it produces. Here we present MetMap, a statistical framework that first accounts for the biases in MethylSeq data and then generates an analysis of the data that is suitable for use in comparative studies. We show that MethylSeq and MetMap can be used together to determine methylation profiles across the genome, and to identify novel unmethylated regions that are likely to be involved in gene regulation. The ability to conduct comparative studies of sufficient scale at a reasonable cost promises to reveal new insights into the relationship between cytosine methylation and phenotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000888
PMCID: PMC2924245  PMID: 20856582
14.  Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation and Microarray-Based Analysis: Detection of DNA Methylation in Breast Cancer Cell Lines 
The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray (MeDIP-chip) is a genome-wide, high-resolution approach to detect DNA methylation in whole genome or CpG (cytosine base followed by a guanine base) islands. The method utilizes anti-methylcytosine antibody to immunoprecipitate DNA that contains highly methylated CpG sites. Enriched methylated DNA can be interrogated using DNA microarrays or by massive parallel sequencing techniques. This combined approach allows researchers to rapidly identify methylated regions in a genome-wide manner, and compare DNA methylation patterns between two samples with diversely different DNA methylation status. MeDIP-chip has been applied successfully for analyses of methylated DNA in the different targets including animal and plant tissues (1, 2). Here we present a MeDIP-chip protocol that is routinely used in our laboratory, illustrated with specific examples from MeDIP-chip analysis of breast cancer cell lines. Potential technical pitfalls and solutions are also provided to serve as workflow guidelines.
doi:10.1007/978-1-60327-378-7_10
PMCID: PMC2845920  PMID: 19763503
DNA methylation; epigenetics; MeDIP-chip; microarray; cancer
15.  Identification and functional validation of HPV-mediated hypermethylation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma 
Genome Medicine  2013;5(2):15.
Background
Human papillomavirus-positive (HPV+) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents a distinct clinical and epidemiological condition compared with HPV-negative (HPV-) HNSCC. To test the possible involvement of epigenetic modulation by HPV in HNSCC, we conducted a genome-wide DNA-methylation analysis.
Methods
Using laser-capture microdissection of 42 formalin-fixed paraffin wax-embedded (FFPE) HNSCCs, we generated DNA-methylation profiles of 18 HPV+ and 14 HPV- samples, using Infinium 450 k BeadArray technology. Methylation data were validated in two sets of independent HPV+/HPV- HNSCC samples (fresh-frozen samples and cell lines) using two independent methods (Infinium 450 k and whole-genome methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-seq)). For the functional analysis, an HPV- HNSCC cell line was transduced with lentiviral constructs containing the two HPV oncogenes (E6 and E7), and effects on methylation were assayed using the Infinium 450 k technology.
Results and discussion
Unsupervised clustering over the methylation variable positions (MVPs) with greatest variation showed that samples segregated in accordance with HPV status, but also that HPV+ tumors are heterogeneous. MVPs were significantly enriched at transcriptional start sites, leading to the identification of a candidate CpG island methylator phenotype in a sub-group of the HPV+ tumors. Supervised analysis identified a strong preponderance (87%) of MVPs towards hypermethylation in HPV+ HNSCC. Meta-analysis of our HNSCC and publicly available methylation data in cervical and lung cancers confirmed the observed DNA-methylation signature to be HPV-specific and tissue-independent. Grouping of MVPs into functionally more significant differentially methylated regions identified 43 hypermethylated promoter DMRs, including for three cadherins of the Polycomb group target genes. Integration with independent expression data showed strong negative correlation, especially for the cadherin gene-family members. Combinatorial ectopic expression of the two HPV oncogenes (E6 and E7) in an HPV- HNSCC cell line partially phenocopied the hypermethylation signature seen in HPV+ HNSCC tumors, and established E6 as the main viral effector gene.
Conclusions
Our data establish that archival FFPE tissue is very suitable for this type of methylome analysis, and suggest that HPV modulates the HNSCC epigenome through hypermethylation of Polycomb repressive complex 2 target genes such as cadherins, which are implicated in tumor progression and metastasis.
doi:10.1186/gm419
PMCID: PMC3706778  PMID: 23419152
16.  Methylation Profiling Using Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation and Tiling Array Hybridization 
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification that regulates development and plays a role in the pathophysiology of many diseases. It is dynamically changed during germline development. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) is an efficient, cost-effective method for locus-specific and genome-wide analysis. Methylated DNA fragments are enriched by a 5-methylcytidine-recognizing antibody, therefore allowing the analysis of both CpG and non-CpG methylation. The enriched DNA fragments can be amplified and hybridized to tiling arrays covering CpG islands, promoters, or the entire genome. Comparison of different methylomes permits the discovery of differentially methylated regions that might be important in disease- or tissue-specific expression. Here, we describe an established MeDIP protocol and tiling array hybridization method for profiling methylation of testicular germ cells.
doi:10.1007/978-1-61779-436-0_10
PMCID: PMC3652283  PMID: 22144241
MeDIP; DNA methylation; Tiling arrays
17.  Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in bovine placentas 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:12.
Background
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification that is essential for epigenetic gene regulation in development and disease. To date, the genome-wide DNA methylation maps of many organisms have been reported, but the methylation pattern of cattle remains unknown.
Results
We showed the genome-wide DNA methylation map in placental tissues using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation combined with high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq). In cattle, the methylation levels in the gene body are relatively high, whereas the promoter remains hypomethylated. We obtained thousands of highly methylated regions (HMRs), methylated CpG islands, and methylated genes from bovine placenta. DNA methylation levels around the transcription start sites of genes are negatively correlated with the gene expression level. However, the relationship between gene-body DNA methylation and gene expression is non-monotonic. Moderately expressed genes generally have the highest levels of gene-body DNA methylation, whereas the highly, and lowly expressed genes, as well as silent genes, show moderate DNA methylation levels. Genes with the highest expression show the lowest DNA methylation levels.
Conclusions
We have generated the genome-wide mapping of DNA methylation in cattle for the first time, and our results can be used for future studies on epigenetic gene regulation in cattle. This study contributes to the knowledge on epigenetics in cattle.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-12
PMCID: PMC3893433  PMID: 24397284
18.  Comparison of the Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiles between Fast-Growing and Slow-Growing Broilers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56411.
Introduction
Growth traits are important in poultry production, however, little is known for its regulatory mechanism at epigenetic level. Therefore, in this study, we aim to compare DNA methylation profiles between fast- and slow-growing broilers in order to identify candidate genes for chicken growth. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation-sequencing (MeDIP-seq) was used to investigate the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern in high and low tails of Recessive White Rock (WRRh; WRRl) and that of Xinhua Chickens (XHh; XHl) at 7 weeks of age. The results showed that the average methylation density was the lowest in CGIs followed by promoters. Within the gene body, the methylation density of introns was higher than that of UTRs and exons. Moreover, different methylation levels were observed in different repeat types with the highest in LINE/CR1. Methylated CGIs were prominently distributed in the intergenic regions and were enriched in the size ranging 200–300 bp. In total 13,294 methylated genes were found in four samples, including 4,085 differentially methylated genes of WRRh Vs. WRRl, 5,599 of XHh Vs. XHl, 4,204 of WRRh Vs. XHh, as well as 7,301 of WRRl Vs. XHl. Moreover, 132 differentially methylated genes related to growth and metabolism were observed in both inner contrasts (WRRh Vs. WRRl and XHh Vs. XHl), whereas 129 differentially methylated genes related to growth and metabolism were found in both across-breed contrasts (WRRh Vs. XHh and WRRl Vs. XHl). Further analysis showed that overall 75 genes exhibited altered DNA methylation in all four contrasts, which included some well-known growth factors of IGF1R, FGF12, FGF14, FGF18, FGFR2, and FGFR3. In addition, we validate the MeDIP-seq results by bisulfite sequencing in some regions.
Conclusions
This study revealed the global DNA methylation pattern of chicken muscle, and identified candidate genes that potentially regulate muscle development at 7 weeks of age at methylation level.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056411
PMCID: PMC3575439  PMID: 23441189
19.  Dysregulation of genome-wide gene expression and DNA methylation in abnormal cloned piglets 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):811.
Background
Epigenetic modifications (especially altered DNA methylation) resulting in altered gene expression may be one reason for development failure or abnormalities in cloned animals, but the underlying mechanism of the abnormal phenotype in cloned piglets remains unknown. Some cloned piglets in our study showed abnormal phenotypes such as large tongue (longer and thicker), weak muscles, and exomphalos. Here we conducted DNA methylation (DNAm) immunoprecipitation and high throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of muscle tissues of cloned piglets to investigate the relationship of abnormal DNAm with gene dysregulation and the unusual phenotypes in cloned piglets.
Results
Analysis of the methylomes revealed that abnormal cloned piglets suffered more hypomethylation than hypermethylation compared to the normal cloned piglets, although the DNAm level in the CpG Island was higher in the abnormal cloned piglets. Some repetitive elements, such as SINE/tRNA-Glu Satellite/centr also showed differences. We detected 1,711 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the two groups, of which 243 genes also changed methylation level in the abnormal cloned piglets. The altered DNA methylation mainly affected the low and silently expressed genes. There were differences in both pathways and genes, such as the MAPK signalling pathway, the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy pathway, and the imprinted gene PLAGL1; all of which may play important roles in development of the abnormal phenotype.
Conclusions
The abnormal cloned piglets showed substantial changes both in the DNAm and the gene expression. Our data may provide new insights into understanding the molecular mechanisms of the reprogramming of genetic information in cloned animals.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-811) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-811
PMCID: PMC4189204  PMID: 25253444
SCNT; Piglets; DNA methylation; Gene expression
20.  Alcohol exposure alters DNA methylation profiles in mouse embryos at early neurulation 
Alcohol exposure during development can cause variable neurofacial deficit and growth retardation known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The mechanism underlying FASD is not fully understood. However, alcohol, which is known to affect methyl donor metabolism, may induce aberrant epigenetic changes contributing to FASD. Using a tightly controlled whole-embryo culture, we investigated the effect of alcohol exposure (88 mM) at early embryonic neurulation on genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression in the C57BL/6 mouse. The DNA methylation landscape around promoter CpG islands at early mouse development was analyzed using MeDIP (methylated DNA immunoprecipitation) coupled with microarray (MeDIP-chip). At early neurulation, genes associated with high CpG promoters (HCP) had a lower ratio of methylation but a greater ratio of expression. Alcohol-induced alterations in DNA methylation were observed, particularly in genes on chromosomes 7, 10 and X; remarkably, a >10 fold increase in the number of genes with increased methylation on chromosomes 10 and X was observed in alcohol-exposed embryos with a neural tube defect phenotype compared to embryos without a neural tube defect. Significant changes in methylation were seen in imprinted genes, genes known to play roles in cell cycle, growth, apoptosis, cancer, and in a large number of genes associated with olfaction. Altered methylation was associated with significant (p < 0.01) changes in expression for 84 genes. Sequenom EpiTYPER DNA methylation analysis was used for validation of the MeDIP-chip data. Increased methylation of genes known to play a role in metabolism (Cyp4f13) and decreased methylation of genes associated with development (Nlgn3, Elavl2, Sox21 and Sim1), imprinting (Igf2r) and chromatin (Hist1h3d) was confirmed. In a mouse model for FASD, we show for the first time that alcohol exposure during early neurulation can induce aberrant changes in DNA methylation patterns with associated changes in gene expression, which together may contribute to the observed abnormal fetal development.
PMCID: PMC2805036  PMID: 20009564
fetal alcohol syndrome; epigenetics; MeDIP-chip; sequenom mass array; microarray; neural tube defect
21.  Dynamic DNA cytosine methylation in the Populus trichocarpa genome: tissue-level variation and relationship to gene expression 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:27.
Background
DNA cytosine methylation is an epigenetic modification that has been implicated in many biological processes. However, large-scale epigenomic studies have been applied to very few plant species, and variability in methylation among specialized tissues and its relationship to gene expression is poorly understood.
Results
We surveyed DNA methylation from seven distinct tissue types (vegetative bud, male inflorescence [catkin], female catkin, leaf, root, xylem, phloem) in the reference tree species black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). Using 5-methyl-cytosine DNA immunoprecipitation followed by Illumina sequencing (MeDIP-seq), we mapped a total of 129,360,151 36- or 32-mer reads to the P. trichocarpa reference genome. We validated MeDIP-seq results by bisulfite sequencing, and compared methylation and gene expression using published microarray data. Qualitative DNA methylation differences among tissues were obvious on a chromosome scale. Methylated genes had lower expression than unmethylated genes, but genes with methylation in transcribed regions ("gene body methylation") had even lower expression than genes with promoter methylation. Promoter methylation was more frequent than gene body methylation in all tissues except male catkins. Male catkins differed in demethylation of particular transposable element categories, in level of gene body methylation, and in expression range of genes with methylated transcribed regions. Tissue-specific gene expression patterns were correlated with both gene body and promoter methylation.
Conclusions
We found striking differences among tissues in methylation, which were apparent at the chromosomal scale and when genes and transposable elements were examined. In contrast to other studies in plants, gene body methylation had a more repressive effect on transcription than promoter methylation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-27
PMCID: PMC3298464  PMID: 22251412
Epigenetics; epigenomics; DNA methylation; 5-methylcytosine; Populus
22.  DNA–Methylome Analysis of Mouse Intestinal Adenoma Identifies a Tumour-Specific Signature That Is Partly Conserved in Human Colon Cancer 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(2):e1003250.
Aberrant CpG methylation is a universal epigenetic trait of cancer cell genomes. However, human cancer samples or cell lines preclude the investigation of epigenetic changes occurring early during tumour development. Here, we have used MeDIP-seq to analyse the DNA methylome of APCMin adenoma as a model for intestinal cancer initiation, and we present a list of more than 13,000 recurring differentially methylated regions (DMRs) characterizing intestinal adenoma of the mouse. We show that Polycomb Repressive Complex (PRC) targets are strongly enriched among hypermethylated DMRs, and several PRC2 components and DNA methyltransferases were up-regulated in adenoma. We further demonstrate by bisulfite pyrosequencing of purified cell populations that the DMR signature arises de novo in adenoma cells rather than by expansion of a pre-existing pattern in intestinal stem cells or undifferentiated crypt cells. We found that epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressors, which occurs frequently in colon cancer, was rare in adenoma. Quite strikingly, we identified a core set of DMRs, which is conserved between mouse adenoma and human colon cancer, thus possibly revealing a global panel of epigenetically modified genes for intestinal tumours. Our data allow a distinction between early conserved epigenetic alterations occurring in intestinal adenoma and late stochastic events promoting colon cancer progression, and may facilitate the selection of more specific clinical epigenetic biomarkers.
Author Summary
The formation and progression of tumours to metastatic disease is driven by two major mechanisms, i.e. genetic alterations that activate oncogenes or inactivate tumour suppressor genes, and changes in the epigenome that cause variations in the expression of the genetic information. A deeper understanding of the interaction between the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms is critical for the selection of tumour biomarkers and for the future development of therapies. Human tumour specimens and cell lines contain a plethora of genetic and epigenetic changes, which complicate data analysis. In contrast, mouse tumour models such as the APCMin mouse used in this study arise by a single initiating genetic mutation, yet share key traits with human cancer. Here we show that mouse adenomas acquire a multitude of epigenetic alterations, which are recurring in mouse adenoma and in human colon cancer, representing early and advanced tumours, respectively. The use of a mouse model thus allowed us to uncover a sequence of epigenetic changes occurring in tumours, which may facilitate the identification of novel clinical colon cancer biomarkers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003250
PMCID: PMC3567140  PMID: 23408899
23.  Examination of the specificity of DNA methylation profiling techniques towards 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(11):e125.
DNA cytosine-5 methylation is a well-studied epigenetic pathway implicated in gene expression control and disease pathogenesis. Different technologies have been developed to examine the distribution of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) in specific sequences of the genome. Recently, substantial amounts of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), most likely derived from enzymatic oxidation of 5mC by TET1, have been detected in certain mammalian tissues. Here, we have examined the ability of several commonly used DNA methylation profiling methods to distinguish between 5mC and 5hmC. We show that techniques based on sodium bisulfite treatment of DNA are incapable of distinguishing between the two modified bases. In contrast, techniques based on immunoprecipitation with anti-5mC antibody (methylated DNA immunoprecipitation, MeDIP) or those based on proteins that bind to methylated CpG sequences (e.g. methylated-CpG island recovery assay, MIRA) do not detect 5hmC and are specific for 5mC unless both modified bases occur in the same DNA fragment. We also report that several methyl-CpG binding proteins including MBD1, MBD2 and MBD4 do not bind to sequences containing 5hmC. Selective mapping of 5hmC will require the development of unique tools for the detection of this modified base.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkq223
PMCID: PMC2887978  PMID: 20371518
24.  QDMR: a quantitative method for identification of differentially methylated regions by entropy 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(9):e58.
DNA methylation plays critical roles in transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodeling. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) have important implications for development, aging and diseases. Therefore, genome-wide mapping of DMRs across various temporal and spatial methylomes is important in revealing the impact of epigenetic modifications on heritable phenotypic variation. We present a quantitative approach, quantitative differentially methylated regions (QDMRs), to quantify methylation difference and identify DMRs from genome-wide methylation profiles by adapting Shannon entropy. QDMR was applied to synthetic methylation patterns and methylation profiles detected by methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray (MeDIP-chip) in human tissues/cells. This approach can give a reasonable quantitative measure of methylation difference across multiple samples. Then DMR threshold was determined from methylation probability model. Using this threshold, QDMR identified 10 651 tissue DMRs which are related to the genes enriched for cell differentiation, including 4740 DMRs not identified by the method developed by Rakyan et al. QDMR can also measure the sample specificity of each DMR. Finally, the application to methylation profiles detected by reduced representation bisulphite sequencing (RRBS) in mouse showed the platform-free and species-free nature of QDMR. This approach provides an effective tool for the high-throughput identification of potential functional regions involved in epigenetic regulation.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkr053
PMCID: PMC3089487  PMID: 21306990
25.  Analysis of the leaf methylomes of parents and their hybrids provides new insight into hybrid vigor in Populus deltoides 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(Suppl 1):S8.
Background
Plants with heterosis/hybrid vigor perform better than their parents in many traits. However, the biological mechanisms underlying heterosis remain unclear. To investigate the significance of DNA methylation to heterosis, a comprehensive analysis of whole-genome DNA methylome profiles of Populus deltoides cl.'55/65' and '10/17' parental lines and their intraspecific F1 hybrids lines was performed using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) and high-throughput sequencing.
Results
Here, a total of 486.27 million reads were mapped to the reference genome of Populus trichocarpa, with an average unique mapping rate of 57.8%. The parents with similar genetic background had distinct DNA methylation levels. F1 hybrids with hybrid vigor possessed non-additive DNA methylation level (their levels were higher than mid-parent values). The DNA methylation levels in promoter and repetitive sequences and transposable element of better-parent F1 hybrids and parents and lower-parent F1 hybrids were different. Compared with the maternal parent, better-parent F1 hybrids had fewer hypermethylated genes and more hypomethylated ones. Compared with the paternal parent and lower-parent L1, better-parent F1 hybrids had more hypermethylated genes and fewer hypomethylated ones. The differentially methylated genes between better-parent F1 hybrids, the parents and lower-parent F1 hybrids were enriched in the categories metabolic processes, response to stress, binding, and catalytic activity, development, and involved in hormone biosynthesis, signaling pathway.
Conclusions
The methylation patterns of the parents both partially and dynamically passed onto their hybrids, and F1 hybrids has a non-additive mathylation level. A multidimensional process is involved in the formation of heterosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-15-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC4118634  PMID: 25080097
Populus deltoides; DNA methylation; methylome; hybrid vigor; MeDIP-Seq; non-additive

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