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1.  Differences in Transcription Patterns between Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Produced from the Same Germ Layer Are Erased upon Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53033.
Little is known about differences between induced pluripotent stem cells produced from tissues originating from the same germ layer. We have generated human myoblast-derived iPS cells by retroviral transduction of human primary myoblasts with the OCT3/4, SOX2, KLF4 and MYC coding sequences and compared them to iPS produced from human primary fibroblasts. When cultivated in vitro, these iPS cells proved similar to human embryonic stem cells in terms of morphology, expression of embryonic stemness markers and gene promoter methylation patterns. Embryonic bodies were derived that expressed endodermal, mesodermal as well as ectodermal markers. A comparative analysis of transcription patterns revealed significant differences in the gene expression pattern between myoblast- and fibroblast-derived iPS cells. However, these differences were reduced in the mesenchymal stem cells derived from the two iPS cell types were compared.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053033
PMCID: PMC3541362  PMID: 23326377
2.  Identification of Type 1 Diabetes–Associated DNA Methylation Variable Positions That Precede Disease Diagnosis 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(9):e1002300.
Monozygotic (MZ) twin pair discordance for childhood-onset Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is ∼50%, implicating roles for genetic and non-genetic factors in the aetiology of this complex autoimmune disease. Although significant progress has been made in elucidating the genetics of T1D in recent years, the non-genetic component has remained poorly defined. We hypothesized that epigenetic variation could underlie some of the non-genetic component of T1D aetiology and, thus, performed an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) for this disease. We generated genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of purified CD14+ monocytes (an immune effector cell type relevant to T1D pathogenesis) from 15 T1D–discordant MZ twin pairs. This identified 132 different CpG sites at which the direction of the intra-MZ pair DNA methylation difference significantly correlated with the diabetic state, i.e. T1D–associated methylation variable positions (T1D–MVPs). We confirmed these T1D–MVPs display statistically significant intra-MZ pair DNA methylation differences in the expected direction in an independent set of T1D–discordant MZ pairs (P = 0.035). Then, to establish the temporal origins of the T1D–MVPs, we generated two further genome-wide datasets and established that, when compared with controls, T1D–MVPs are enriched in singletons both before (P = 0.001) and at (P = 0.015) disease diagnosis, and also in singletons positive for diabetes-associated autoantibodies but disease-free even after 12 years follow-up (P = 0.0023). Combined, these results suggest that T1D–MVPs arise very early in the etiological process that leads to overt T1D. Our EWAS of T1D represents an important contribution toward understanding the etiological role of epigenetic variation in type 1 diabetes, and it is also the first systematic analysis of the temporal origins of disease-associated epigenetic variation for any human complex disease.
Author Summary
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a complex autoimmune disease affecting >30 million people worldwide. It is caused by a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors, leading to destruction of insulin-secreting cells. Although significant progress has recently been made in elucidating the genetics of T1D, the non-genetic component has remained poorly defined. Epigenetic modifications, such as methylation of DNA, are indispensable for genomic processes such as transcriptional regulation and are frequently perturbed in human disease. We therefore hypothesized that epigenetic variation could underlie some of the non-genetic component of T1D aetiology, and we performed a genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of a specific subset of immune cells (monocytes) from monozygotic twins discordant for T1D. This revealed the presence of T1D–specific methylation variable positions (T1D–MVPs) in the T1D–affected co-twins. Since these T1D–MVPs were found in MZ twins, they cannot be due to genetic differences. Additional experiments revealed that some of these T1D–MVPs are found in individuals before T1D diagnosis, suggesting they arise very early in the process that leads to overt T1D and are not simply due to post-disease associated factors (e.g. medication or long-term metabolic changes). T1D–MVPs may thus potentially represent a previously unappreciated, and important, component of type 1 diabetes risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002300
PMCID: PMC3183089  PMID: 21980303
3.  Identification of regions correlating MGMT promoter methylation and gene expression in glioblastomas 
Neuro-Oncology  2009;11(4):348-356.
The O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase gene (MGMT) is methylated in several cancers, including gliomas. However, the functional role of cysteine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) island (CGI) methylation in MGMT silencing is still controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate whether MGMT CGI methylation correlates inversely with RNA expression of MGMT in glioblastomas and to determine the CpG region whose methylation best reflects the level of expression. The methylation level of CpG sites that are potentially related to expression was investigated in 54 glioblastomas by pyrosequencing, a highly quantitative method, and analyzed with respect to their MGMT mRNA expression status. Three groups of patients were identified according to the methylation pattern of all 52 analyzed CpG sites. Overall, an 85% rate of concordance was observed between methylation and expression (p < 0.0001). When analyzing each CpG separately, six CpG sites were highly correlated with expression (p < 0.0001), and two CpG regions could be used as surrogate markers for RNA expression in 81.5% of the patients. This study indicates that there is good statistical agreement between MGMT methylation and expression, and that some CpG regions better reflect MGMT expression than do others. However, if transcriptional repression is the key mechanism in explaining the higher chemosensitivity of MGMT-methylated tumors, a substantial rate of discordance should lead clinicians to be cautious when deciding on a therapeutic strategy based on MGMT methylation status alone.
doi:10.1215/15228517-2009-001
PMCID: PMC2743215  PMID: 19224763
CpG island methylation; expression; glioblastomas; MGMT
4.  Frequent aberrant DNA methylation of ABCB1, FOXC1, PPP2R2B and PTEN in ductal carcinoma in situ and early invasive breast cancer 
Introduction
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive lesion of the breast that is frequently detected by mammography and subsequently removed by surgery. However, it is estimated that about half of the detected lesions would never have progressed into invasive cancer. Identifying DCIS and invasive cancer specific epigenetic lesions and understanding how these epigenetic changes are involved in triggering tumour progression is important for a better understanding of which lesions are at risk of becoming invasive.
Methods
Quantitative DNA methylation analysis of ABCB1, CDKN2A/p16INK4a, ESR1, FOXC1, GSTP1, IGF2, MGMT, MLH1, PPP2R2B, PTEN and RASSF1A was performed by pyrosequencing in a series of 27 pure DCIS, 28 small invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs), 34 IDCs with a DCIS component and 5 normal breast tissue samples. FOXC1, ABCB1, PPP2R2B and PTEN were analyzed in 23 additional normal breast tissue samples. Real-Time PCR expression analysis was performed for FOXC1.
Results
Aberrant DNA methylation was observed in all three diagnosis groups for the following genes: ABCB1, FOXC1, GSTP1, MGMT, MLH1, PPP2R2B, PTEN and RASSF1A. For most of these genes, methylation was already present at the DCIS level with the same frequency as within IDCs. For FOXC1 significant differences in methylation levels were observed between normal breast tissue and invasive tumours (P < 0.001). The average DNA methylation levels were significantly higher in the pure IDCs and IDCs with DCIS compared to pure DCIS (P = 0.007 and P = 0.001, respectively). Real-time PCR analysis of FOXC1 expression from 25 DCIS, 23 IDCs and 28 normal tissue samples showed lower gene expression levels of FOXC1 in both methylated and unmethylated tumours compared to normal tissue (P < 0.001). DNA methylation levels of FOXC1, GSTP1, ABCB1 and RASSF1A were higher in oestrogen receptor (ER) positive vs. ER negative tumours; whereas methylation levels of FOXC1, ABCB1, PPP2R2B and PTEN were lower in tumours with a TP53 mutation.
Conclusions
Quantitative methylation analysis identified ABCB1, FOXC1, PPP2R2B and PTEN as novel genes to be methylated in DCIS. In particular, FOXC1 showed a significant increase in the methylation frequency in invasive tumours. Low FOXC1 gene expression in both methylated and unmethylated DCIS and IDCs indicates that the loss of its expression is an early event during breast cancer progression.
doi:10.1186/bcr2466
PMCID: PMC2880421  PMID: 20056007

Results 1-4 (4)