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1.  TET2 and TET3 regulate GlcNAcylation and H3K4 methylation through OGT and SET1/COMPASS 
The EMBO Journal  2013;32(5):645-655.
This paper identifies the N-acetylglucosamine transferase OGT as binding partner for TET2/3 proteins. Their genome-wide chromatin binding and the characterization of the Set1/COMPASS complex as OGT target implies coordinated gene regulation.
TET proteins convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, an emerging dynamic epigenetic state of DNA that can influence transcription. Evidence has linked TET1 function to epigenetic repression complexes, yet mechanistic information, especially for the TET2 and TET3 proteins, remains limited. Here, we show a direct interaction of TET2 and TET3 with O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). OGT does not appear to influence hmC activity, rather TET2 and TET3 promote OGT activity. TET2/3–OGT co-localize on chromatin at active promoters enriched for H3K4me3 and reduction of either TET2/3 or OGT activity results in a direct decrease in H3K4me3 and concomitant decreased transcription. Further, we show that Host Cell Factor 1 (HCF1), a component of the H3K4 methyltransferase SET1/COMPASS complex, is a specific GlcNAcylation target of TET2/3–OGT, and modification of HCF1 is important for the integrity of SET1/COMPASS. Additionally, we find both TET proteins and OGT activity promote binding of the SET1/COMPASS H3K4 methyltransferase, SETD1A, to chromatin. Finally, studies in Tet2 knockout mouse bone marrow tissue extend and support the data as decreases are observed of global GlcNAcylation and also of H3K4me3, notably at several key regulators of haematopoiesis. Together, our results unveil a step-wise model, involving TET–OGT interactions, promotion of GlcNAcylation, and influence on H3K4me3 via SET1/COMPASS, highlighting a novel means by which TETs may induce transcriptional activation.
doi:10.1038/emboj.2012.357
PMCID: PMC3590984  PMID: 23353889
chromatin; epigenetics; TET proteins
2.  Aberrant Promoter Methylation and Expression of UTF1 during Cervical Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42704.
Promoter methylation profiles are proposed as potential prognosis and/or diagnosis biomarkers in cervical cancer. Up to now, little is known about the promoter methylation profile and expression pattern of stem cell (SC) markers during tumor development. In this study, we were interested to identify SC genes methylation profiles during cervical carcinogenesis. A genome-wide promoter methylation screening revealed a strong hypermethylation of Undifferentiated cell Transcription Factor 1 (UTF1) promoter in cervical cancer in comparison with normal ectocervix. By direct bisulfite pyrosequencing of DNA isolated from liquid-based cytological samples, we showed that UTF1 promoter methylation increases with lesion severity, the highest level of methylation being found in carcinoma. This hypermethylation was associated with increased UTF1 mRNA and protein expression. By using quantitative RT-PCR and Western Blot, we showed that both UTF1 mRNA and protein are present in epithelial cancer cell lines, even in the absence of its two main described regulators Oct4A and Sox2. Moreover, by immunofluorescence, we confirmed the nuclear localisation of UTF1 in cell lines. Surprisingly, direct bisulfite pyrosequencing revealed that the inhibition of DNA methyltransferase by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine was associated with decreased UTF1 gene methylation and expression in two cervical cancer cell lines of the four tested. These findings strongly suggest that UTF1 promoter methylation profile might be a useful biomarker for cervical cancer diagnosis and raise the questions of its role during epithelial carcinogenesis and of the mechanisms regulating its expression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042704
PMCID: PMC3411846  PMID: 22880087
3.  The histone demethylase Kdm3a is essential to progression through differentiation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(15):7219-7232.
Histone demethylation has important roles in regulating gene expression and forms part of the epigenetic memory system that regulates cell fate and identity by still poorly understood mechanisms. Here, we examined the role of histone demethylase Kdm3a during cell differentiation, showing that Kdm3a is essential for differentiation into parietal endoderm-like (PE) cells in the F9 mouse embryonal carcinoma model. We identified a number of target genes regulated by Kdm3a during endoderm differentiation; among the most dysregulated were the three developmental master regulators Dab2, Pdlim4 and FoxQ1. We show that dysregulation of the expression of these genes correlates with Kdm3a H3K9me2 demethylase activity. We further demonstrate that either Dab2 depletion or Kdm3a depletion prevents F9 cells from fully differentiating into PE cells, but that ectopic expression of Dab2 cannot compensate for Kdm3a knockdown; Dab2 is thus necessary, but insufficient on its own, to promote complete terminal differentiation. We conclude that Kdm3a plays a crucial role in progression through PE differentiation by regulating expression of a set of endoderm differentiation master genes. The emergence of Kdm3a as a key modulator of cell fate decision strengthens the view that histone demethylases are essential to cell differentiation.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks399
PMCID: PMC3424556  PMID: 22581778
4.  DNA methylation profiling identifies epigenetic dysregulation in pancreatic islets from type 2 diabetic patients 
The EMBO Journal  2012;31(6):1405-1426.
DNA methylation profiling identifies epigenetic dysregulation in pancreatic islets from type 2 diabetic patients
The first genome-scale DNA methylation study on pancreatic islets from type 2 diabetic patients identifies disease-associated DNA methylation pattern that translate into aberrant gene expression in novel factors relevant for β-cell function and survival.
In addition to genetic predisposition, environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Epigenetic changes may provide the link for translating environmental exposures into pathological mechanisms. In this study, we performed the first comprehensive DNA methylation profiling in pancreatic islets from T2D and non-diabetic donors. We uncovered 276 CpG loci affiliated to promoters of 254 genes displaying significant differential DNA methylation in diabetic islets. These methylation changes were not present in blood cells from T2D individuals nor were they experimentally induced in non-diabetic islets by exposure to high glucose. For a subgroup of the differentially methylated genes, concordant transcriptional changes were present. Functional annotation of the aberrantly methylated genes and RNAi experiments highlighted pathways implicated in β-cell survival and function; some are implicated in cellular dysfunction while others facilitate adaptation to stressors. Together, our findings offer new insights into the intricate mechanisms of T2D pathogenesis, underscore the important involvement of epigenetic dysregulation in diabetic islets and may advance our understanding of T2D aetiology.
doi:10.1038/emboj.2011.503
PMCID: PMC3321176  PMID: 22293752
DNA methylation; pancreatic islets; type 2 diabetes
5.  DNA methylation profiling reveals a predominant immune component in breast cancers 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2011;3(12):726-741.
Breast cancer is a molecularly, biologically and clinically heterogeneous group of disorders. Understanding this diversity is essential to improving diagnosis and optimizing treatment. Both genetic and acquired epigenetic abnormalities participate in cancer, but the involvement of the epigenome in breast cancer and its contribution to the complexity of the disease are still poorly understood. By means of DNA methylation profiling of 248 breast tissues, we have highlighted the existence of previously unrecognized breast cancer groups that go beyond the currently known ‘expression subtypes’. Interestingly, we showed that DNA methylation profiling can reflect the cell type composition of the tumour microenvironment, and in particular a T lymphocyte infiltration of the tumours. Further, we highlighted a set of immune genes having high prognostic value in specific tumour categories. The immune component uncovered here by DNA methylation profiles provides a new perspective for the importance of the microenvironment in breast cancer, holding implications for better management of breast cancer patients.
doi:10.1002/emmm.201100801
PMCID: PMC3377115  PMID: 21910250
breast cancer; DNA methylation; epigenetics; epigenomics; microenvironment

Results 1-5 (5)