September 22, 2019  |  

Mapping and characterizing N6-methyladenine in eukaryotic genomes using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

N6-Methyladenine (m6dA) has been discovered as a novel form of DNA methylation prevalent in eukaryotes; however, methods for high-resolution mapping of m6dA events are still lacking. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing has enabled the detection of m6dA events at single-nucleotide resolution in prokaryotic genomes, but its application to detecting m6dA in eukaryotic genomes has not been rigorously examined. Herein, we identified unique characteristics of eukaryotic m6dA methylomes that fundamentally differ from those of prokaryotes. Based on these differences, we describe the first approach for mapping m6dA events using SMRT sequencing specifically designed for the study of eukaryotic genomes and provide appropriate strategies for designing experiments and carrying out sequencing in future studies. We apply the novel approach to study two eukaryotic genomes. For green algae, we construct the first complete genome-wide map of m6dA at single-nucleotide and single-molecule resolution. For human lymphoblastoid cells (hLCLs), it was necessary to integrate SMRT sequencing data with independent sequencing data. The joint analyses suggest putative m6dA events are enriched in the promoters of young full-length LINE-1 elements (L1s), but call for validation by additional methods. These analyses demonstrate a general method for rigorous mapping and characterization of m6dA events in eukaryotic genomes.© 2018 Zhu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

September 22, 2019  |  

N6-methyladenine DNA modification in the human genome.

DNA N6-methyladenine (6mA) modification is the most prevalent DNA modification in prokaryotes, but whether it exists in human cells and whether it plays a role in human diseases remain enigmatic. Here, we showed that 6mA is extensively present in the human genome, and we cataloged 881,240 6mA sites accounting for ~0.051% of the total adenines. [G/C]AGG[C/T] was the most significantly associated motif with 6mA modification. 6mA sites were enriched in the coding regions and mark actively transcribed genes in human cells. DNA 6mA and N6-demethyladenine modification in the human genome were mediated by methyltransferase N6AMT1 and demethylase ALKBH1, respectively. The abundance of 6mA was significantly lower in cancers, accompanied by decreased N6AMT1 and increased ALKBH1 levels, and downregulation of 6mA modification levels promoted tumorigenesis. Collectively, our results demonstrate that DNA 6mA modification is extensively present in human cells and the decrease of genomic DNA 6mA promotes human tumorigenesis. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

A statistical method for observing personal diploid methylomes and transcriptomes with Single-Molecule Real-Time sequencing.

We address the problem of observing personal diploid methylomes, CpG methylome pairs of homologous chromosomes that are distinguishable with respect to phased heterozygous variants (PHVs), which is challenging due to scarcity of PHVs in personal genomes. Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is promising as it outputs long reads with CpG methylation information, but a serious concern is whether reliable PHVs are available in erroneous SMRT reads with an error rate of ~15%. To overcome the issue, we propose a statistical model that reduces the error rate of phasing CpG site to 1%, thereby calling CpG hypomethylation in each haplotype with >90% precision and sensitivity. Using our statistical model, we examined GNAS complex locus known for a combination of maternally, paternally, or biallelically expressed isoforms, and observed allele-specific methylation pattern almost perfectly reflecting their respective allele-specific expression status, demonstrating the merit of elucidating comprehensive personal diploid methylomes and transcriptomes.

September 22, 2019  |  

Methylation of the reelin gene promoter in peripheral blood and its relationship with the cognitive function of schizophrenia patients.

There is a decrease in the expression of the reelin gene (RELN) in the brain of schizophrenia patients, which can underlie observed cognitive abnormalities. It is suggested that this decrease is caused by the hypermethylation of the RELN promoter. The aim of the study was to investigate methylation of the RELN promoter in the peripheral blood of schizophrenia patients and its association with their cognitive deficits. A modified SMRT-BS (single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing) was used. We determined the methylation rate of 170 CpG sites within a 1465 bp DNA region containing the entire CpG island in the RELN promoter in 51 schizophrenia patients and 52 healthy controls. All subjects completed a battery of neuropsychological tests. There were no DNA methylation changes associated with schizophrenia. Most CpGs sites were unmethylated in both groups. At the same time, there was a variability in the methylation level of different regions within the promoter. The methylation level in the area from -258 to -151 bp relative to RELN transcription start site was a significant predictor of the index of patients’ cognitive functioning if sex, age, smoking, education, and polymorphism rsl858815 had been considered. The positive correlation between the methylation rate in this region and cognitive index suggests that the hypomethylation of the RELN promoter could contribute to the development of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.

September 22, 2019  |  

Nondestructive, base-resolution sequencing of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine using a DNA deaminase.

Here we present APOBEC-coupled epigenetic sequencing (ACE-seq), a bisulfite-free method for localizing 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) at single-base resolution with low DNA input. The method builds on the observation that AID/APOBEC family DNA deaminase enzymes can potently discriminate between cytosine modification states and exploits the non-destructive nature of enzymatic, rather than chemical, deamination. ACE-seq yielded high-confidence 5hmC profiles with at least 1,000-fold less DNA input than conventional methods. Applying ACE-seq to generate a base-resolution map of 5hmC in tissue-derived cortical excitatory neurons, we found that 5hmC was almost entirely confined to CG dinucleotides. The whole-genome map permitted cytosine, 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5hmC to be parsed and revealed genomic features that diverged from global patterns, including enhancers and imprinting control regions with high and low 5hmC/5mC ratios, respectively. Enzymatic deamination overcomes many challenges posed by bisulfite-based methods, thus expanding the scope of epigenome profiling to include scarce samples and opening new lines of inquiry regarding the role of cytosine modifications in genome biology.

September 22, 2019  |  

Reconstitution of eukaryotic chromosomes and manipulation of DNA N6-methyladenine alters chromatin and gene expression

DNA N6-adenine methylation (6mA) has recently been reported in diverse eukaryotes, spanning unicellular organisms to metazoans. Yet the functional significance of 6mA remains elusive due to its low abundance, difficulty of manipulation within native DNA, and lack of understanding of eukaryotic 6mA writers. Here, we report a novel DNA 6mA methyltransferase in ciliates, termed MTA1. The enzyme contains an MT-A70 domain but is phylogenetically distinct from all known RNA and DNA methyltransferases. Disruption of MTA1 in vivo leads to the genome-wide loss of 6mA in asexually growing cells and abolishment of the consensus ApT dimethylated motif. Genes exhibit subtle changes in chromatin organization or RNA expression upon loss of 6mA, depending on their starting methylation level. Mutants fail to complete the sexual cycle, which normally coincides with a peak of MTA1 expression. Thus, MTA1 functions in a developmental stage-specific manner. We determine the impact of 6mA on chromatin organization in vitro by reconstructing complete, full-length ciliate chromosomes harboring 6mA in native or ectopic positions. Using these synthetic chromosomes, we show that 6mA directly disfavors nucleosomes in vitro in a local, quantitative manner, independent of DNA sequence. Furthermore, the chromatin remodeler ACF can overcome this effect. Our study identifies a novel MT-A70 protein necessary for eukaryotic 6mA methylation and defines the impact of 6mA on chromatin organization using epigenetically defined synthetic chromosomes.

September 22, 2019  |  

N6-methyladenine DNA methylation in Japonica and Indica rice genomes and its association with gene expression, plant development, and stress responses.

N6-Methyladenine (6mA) DNA methylation has recently been implicated as a potential new epigenetic marker in eukaryotes, including the dicot model Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the conservation and divergence of 6mA distribution patterns and functions in plants remain elusive. Here we report high-quality 6mA methylomes at single-nucleotide resolution in rice based on substantially improved genome sequences of two rice cultivars, Nipponbare (Nip; Japonica) and 93-11 (Indica). Analysis of 6mA genomic distribution and its association with transcription suggest that 6mA distribution and function is rather conserved between rice and Arabidopsis. We found that 6mA levels are positively correlated with the expression of key stress-related genes, which may be responsible for the difference in stress tolerance between Nip and 93-11. Moreover, we showed that mutations in DDM1 cause defects in plant growth and decreased 6mA level. Our results reveal that 6mA is a conserved DNA modification that is positively associated with gene expression and contributes to key agronomic traits in plants. Copyright © 2018 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

MadID, a versatile approach to map protein-DNA interactions, highlights telomere-nuclear envelope contact sites in human cells.

Mapping the binding sites of DNA- or chromatin-interacting proteins is essential to understanding biological processes. DNA adenine methyltransferase identification (DamID) has emerged as a comprehensive method to map genome-wide occupancy of proteins of interest. A caveat of DamID is the specificity of Dam methyltransferase for GATC motifs that are not homogenously distributed in the genome. Here, we developed an optimized method named MadID, using proximity labeling of DNA by the methyltransferase M.EcoGII. M.EcoGII mediates N6-adenosine methylation in any DNA sequence context, resulting in deeper and unbiased coverage of the genome. We demonstrate, using m6A-specific immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing, that MadID is a robust method to identify protein-DNA interactions at the whole-genome level. Using MadID, we revealed contact sites between human telomeres, repetitive sequences devoid of GATC sites, and the nuclear envelope. Overall, MadID opens the way to identification of binding sites in genomic regions that were largely inaccessible. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

Relationship between Alzheimer’s disease-associated SNPs within the CLU gene, local DNA methylation and episodic verbal memory in healthy and schizophrenia subjects.

Genetic variation may impact on local DNA methylation patterns. Therefore, information about allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) within disease-related loci has been proposed to be useful for the interpretation of GWAS results. To explore mechanisms that may underlie associations between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia risk CLU gene and verbal memory, one of the most affected cognitive domains in both conditions, we studied DNA methylation in a region between AD-associated SNPs rs9331888 and rs9331896 in 72 healthy individuals and 73 schizophrenia patients. Using single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing we assessed the haplotype-dependent ASM in this region. We then investigated whether its methylation could influence episodic verbal memory measured with the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test in these two cohorts. The region showed a complex methylation pattern, which was similar in healthy and schizophrenia individuals and unrelated to haplotypes. The pattern predicted memory scores in controls. The results suggest that epigenetic modifications within the CLU locus may play a role in memory variation, independent of ASM. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

September 21, 2019  |  

Assembling large genomes with single-molecule sequencing and locality-sensitive hashing.

Long-read, single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is routinely used to finish microbial genomes, but available assembly methods have not scaled well to larger genomes. We introduce the MinHash Alignment Process (MHAP) for overlapping noisy, long reads using probabilistic, locality-sensitive hashing. Integrating MHAP with the Celera Assembler enabled reference-grade de novo assemblies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster and a human hydatidiform mole cell line (CHM1) from SMRT sequencing. The resulting assemblies are highly continuous, include fully resolved chromosome arms and close persistent gaps in these reference genomes. Our assembly of D. melanogaster revealed previously unknown heterochromatic and telomeric transition sequences, and we assembled low-complexity sequences from CHM1 that fill gaps in the human GRCh38 reference. Using MHAP and the Celera Assembler, single-molecule sequencing can produce de novo near-complete eukaryotic assemblies that are 99.99% accurate when compared with available reference genomes.

July 19, 2019  |  

The somatic genomic landscape of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma.

We describe the landscape of somatic genomic alterations of 66 chromophobe renal cell carcinomas (ChRCCs) on the basis of multidimensional and comprehensive characterization, including mtDNA and whole-genome sequencing. The result is consistent that ChRCC originates from the distal nephron compared with other kidney cancers with more proximal origins. Combined mtDNA and gene expression analysis implicates changes in mitochondrial function as a component of the disease biology, while suggesting alternative roles for mtDNA mutations in cancers relying on oxidative phosphorylation. Genomic rearrangements lead to recurrent structural breakpoints within TERT promoter region, which correlates with highly elevated TERT expression and manifestation of kataegis, representing a mechanism of TERT upregulation in cancer distinct from previously observed amplifications and point mutations. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

An adenine code for DNA: A second life for N6-methyladenine.

DNA N6-methyladenine (6mA) protects against restriction enzymes in bacteria. However, isolated reports have suggested additional activities and its presence in other organisms, such as unicellular eukaryotes. New data now find that 6mA may have a gene regulatory function in green alga, worm, and fly, suggesting m6A as a potential “epigenetic” mark. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

DNA methylation on N6-adenine in C. elegans.

In mammalian cells, DNA methylation on the fifth position of cytosine (5mC) plays an important role as an epigenetic mark. However, DNA methylation was considered to be absent in C. elegans because of the lack of detectable 5mC, as well as homologs of the cytosine DNA methyltransferases. Here, using multiple approaches, we demonstrate the presence of adenine N(6)-methylation (6mA) in C. elegans DNA. We further demonstrate that this modification increases trans-generationally in a paradigm of epigenetic inheritance. Importantly, we identify a DNA demethylase, NMAD-1, and a potential DNA methyltransferase, DAMT-1, which regulate 6mA levels and crosstalk between methylations of histone H3K4 and adenines and control the epigenetic inheritance of phenotypes associated with the loss of the H3K4me2 demethylase spr-5. Together, these data identify a DNA modification in C. elegans and raise the exciting possibility that 6mA may be a carrier of heritable epigenetic information in eukaryotes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Quantitative and multiplexed DNA methylation analysis using long-read single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing (SMRT-BS).

DNA methylation has essential roles in transcriptional regulation, imprinting, X chromosome inactivation and other cellular processes, and aberrant CpG methylation is directly involved in the pathogenesis of human imprinting disorders and many cancers. To address the need for a quantitative and highly multiplexed bisulfite sequencing method with long read lengths for targeted CpG methylation analysis, we developed single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing (SMRT-BS).Optimized bisulfite conversion and PCR conditions enabled the amplification of DNA fragments up to ~1.5 kb, and subjecting overlapping 625-1491 bp amplicons to SMRT-BS indicated high reproducibility across all amplicon lengths (r?=?0.972) and low standard deviations (=0.10) between individual CpG sites sequenced in triplicate. Higher variability in CpG methylation quantitation was correlated with reduced sequencing depth, particularly for intermediately methylated regions. SMRT-BS was validated by orthogonal bisulfite-based microarray (r?=?0.906; 42 CpG sites) and second generation sequencing (r?=?0.933; 174 CpG sites); however, longer SMRT-BS amplicons (>1.0 kb) had reduced, but very acceptable, correlation with both orthogonal methods (r?=?0.836-0.897 and r?=?0.892-0.927, respectively) compared to amplicons less than ~1.0 kb (r?=?0.940-0.951 and r?=?0.948-0.963, respectively). Multiplexing utility was assessed by simultaneously subjecting four distinct CpG island amplicons (702-866 bp; 325 CpGs) and 30 hematological malignancy cell lines to SMRT-BS (average depth of 110X), which identified a spectrum of highly quantitative methylation levels across all interrogated CpG sites and cell lines.SMRT-BS is a novel, accurate and cost-effective targeted CpG methylation method that is amenable to a high degree of multiplexing with minimal clonal PCR artifacts. Increased sequencing depth is necessary when interrogating longer amplicons (>1.0 kb) and the previously reported bisulfite sequencing PCR bias towards unmethylated DNA should be considered when measuring intermediately methylated regions. Coupled with an optimized bisulfite PCR protocol, SMRT-BS is capable of interrogating ~1.5 kb amplicons, which theoretically can cover ~91% of CpG islands in the human genome.

July 19, 2019  |  

CGGBP1 mitigates cytosine methylation at repetitive DNA sequences.

CGGBP1 is a repetitive DNA-binding transcription regulator with target sites at CpG-rich sequences such as CGG repeats and Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs. The role of CGGBP1 as a possible mediator of CpG methylation however remains unknown. At CpG-rich sequences cytosine methylation is a major mechanism of transcriptional repression. Concordantly, gene-rich regions typically carry lower levels of CpG methylation than the repetitive elements. It is well known that at interspersed repeats Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs high levels of CpG methylation constitute a transcriptional silencing and retrotransposon inactivating mechanism.Here, we have studied genome-wide CpG methylation with or without CGGBP1-depletion. By high throughput sequencing of bisulfite-treated genomic DNA we have identified CGGBP1 to be a negative regulator of CpG methylation at repetitive DNA sequences. In addition, we have studied CpG methylation alterations on Alu and L1 retrotransposons in CGGBP1-depleted cells using a novel bisulfite-treatment and high throughput sequencing approach.The results clearly show that CGGBP1 is a possible bidirectional regulator of CpG methylation at Alus, and acts as a repressor of methylation at L1 retrotransposons.

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