A novel DNA modification, N-6 methylated deoxyadenosine (m6dA), has recently been discovered in eukaryotic genomes. Despite its low abundance in eukaryotes, m6dA is implicated in human diseases such as cancer. It is therefore important to precisely identify and characterize m6dA in the human genome. Here, we identify m6dA sites at nucleotide level, in different human cells, genome wide. We compare m6dA features between distinct human cells and identify m6dA characteristics in human genomes. Our data demonstrates for the first time that despite low m6dA abundance, the m6dA mark does often occur consistently at the same genomic location within a given human cell type, demonstrating m6dA homogeneity. We further show, for the first time, higher levels of m6dA homogeneity within one chromosome. Most m6dA are found on a single chromosome from a diploid sample, suggesting inheritance. Our transcriptome analysis not only indicates that human genes with m6dA are associated with higher RNA transcript levels but identifies allele-specific gene transcripts showing haplotype-specific m6dA methylation, which are implicated in different biological functions. Our analyses demonstrate the precision and consistency by which the m6dA mark occurs within the human genome, suggesting that m6dA marks are precisely inherited in humans.
Journal: Scientific reports