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de Andrade A.,Falk Brain Tumor Center
BMC genomics | Year: 2011

De novo retrotransposition of Alu elements has been recognized as a major driver for insertion polymorphisms in human populations. In this study, we exploited Alu-anchored bisulfite PCR libraries to identify evolutionarily recent Alu element insertions, and to investigate their genetic and epigenetic variation. A total of 327 putatively recent Alu insertions were identified, altogether represented by 1,762 sequence reads. Nearly all such de novo retrotransposition events (316/327) were novel. Forty-seven out of forty-nine randomly selected events, corresponding to nineteen genomic loci, were sequence-verified. Alu element insertions remained hemizygous in one or more individuals in sixteen of the nineteen genomic loci. The Alu elements were found to be enriched for young Alu families with characteristic sequence features, such as the presence of a longer poly(A) tail. In addition, we documented the occurrence of a duplication of the AT-rich target site in their immediate flanking sequences, a hallmark of retrotransposition. Furthermore, we found the sequence motif (TT/AAAA) that is recognized by the ORF2P protein encoded by LINE-1 in their 5'-flanking regions, consistent with the fact that Alu retrotransposition is facilitated by LINE-1 elements. While most of these Alu elements were heavily methylated, we identified an Alu localized 1.5 kb downstream of TOMM5 that exhibited a completely unmethylated left arm. Interestingly, we observed differential methylation of its immediate 5' and 3' flanking CpG dinucleotides, in concordance with the unmethylated and methylated statuses of its internal 5' and 3' sequences, respectively. Importantly, TOMM5's CpG island and the 3 Alu repeats and 1 MIR element localized upstream of this newly inserted Alu were also found to be unmethylated. Methylation analyses of two additional genomic loci revealed no methylation differences in CpG dinucleotides flanking the Alu insertion sites in the two homologous chromosomes, irrespective of the presence or absence of the insertion. We anticipate that the combination of methodologies utilized in this study, which included repeat-anchored bisulfite PCR sequencing and the computational analysis pipeline herein reported, will prove invaluable for the generation of genetic and epigenetic variation maps.


de Andrade A.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Wang M.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Wang M.,Northwestern University | Bonaldo M.F.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | And 5 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2011

Background: De novo retrotransposition of Alu elements has been recognized as a major driver for insertion polymorphisms in human populations. In this study, we exploited Alu-anchored bisulfite PCR libraries to identify evolutionarily recent Alu element insertions, and to investigate their genetic and epigenetic variation.Results: A total of 327 putatively recent Alu insertions were identified, altogether represented by 1,762 sequence reads. Nearly all such de novo retrotransposition events (316/327) were novel. Forty-seven out of forty-nine randomly selected events, corresponding to nineteen genomic loci, were sequence-verified. Alu element insertions remained hemizygous in one or more individuals in sixteen of the nineteen genomic loci. The Alu elements were found to be enriched for young Alu families with characteristic sequence features, such as the presence of a longer poly(A) tail. In addition, we documented the occurrence of a duplication of the AT-rich target site in their immediate flanking sequences, a hallmark of retrotransposition. Furthermore, we found the sequence motif (TT/AAAA) that is recognized by the ORF2P protein encoded by LINE-1 in their 5'-flanking regions, consistent with the fact that Alu retrotransposition is facilitated by LINE-1 elements. While most of these Alu elements were heavily methylated, we identified an Alu localized 1.5 kb downstream of TOMM5 that exhibited a completely unmethylated left arm. Interestingly, we observed differential methylation of its immediate 5' and 3' flanking CpG dinucleotides, in concordance with the unmethylated and methylated statuses of its internal 5' and 3' sequences, respectively. Importantly, TOMM5's CpG island and the 3 Alu repeats and 1 MIR element localized upstream of this newly inserted Alu were also found to be unmethylated. Methylation analyses of two additional genomic loci revealed no methylation differences in CpG dinucleotides flanking the Alu insertion sites in the two homologous chromosomes, irrespective of the presence or absence of the insertion.Conclusions: We anticipate that the combination of methodologies utilized in this study, which included repeat-anchored bisulfite PCR sequencing and the computational analysis pipeline herein reported, will prove invaluable for the generation of genetic and epigenetic variation maps. © 2011 de Andrade et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Xie H.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Wang M.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | De Andrade A.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Bonaldo M.D.F.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | And 7 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2011

Genomic DNA methylation contributes substantively to transcriptional regulations that underlie mammalian development and cellular differentiation. Much effort has been made to decipher the molecular mechanisms governing the establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns. However, little is known about genome-wide variation of DNA methylation patterns. In this study, we introduced the concept of methylation entropy, a measure of the randomness of DNA methylation patterns in a cell population, and exploited it to assess the variability in DNA methylation patterns of Alu repeats and promoters. A few interesting observations were made: (i) within a cell population, methylation entropy varies among genomic loci; (ii) among cell populations, the methylation entropies of most genomic loci remain constant; (iii) compared to normal tissue controls, some tumors exhibit greater methylation entropies; (iv) Alu elements with high methylation entropy are associated with high GC content but depletion of CpG dinucleotides and (v) Alu elements in the intronic regions or far from CpG islands are associated with low methylation entropy. We further identified 12 putative allelic-specific methylated genomic loci, including four Alu elements and eight promoters. Lastly, using subcloned normal fibroblast cells, we demonstrated the highly variable methylation patterns are resulted from low fidelity of DNA methylation inheritance. © 2011 The Author(s).


Xie H.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Xie H.,Northwestern University | Wang M.,Falk Brain Tumor Center | Wang M.,Northwestern University | And 13 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

Global loss of DNA methylation has been known for decades as an epigenomic aberration associated with carcinogenesis and cancer progression. Loss of DNA methylation affects predominantly repetitive elements, which encompass >50% of the CpG dinucleotides present in the human genome. Because of the lack of an effective approach, no studies have been conducted to reveal such genome-wide methylation changes at a single-base resolution. To precisely determine the CpG sites with methylation loss during progression of pediatric intracranial ependymomas, we exploited a high-throughput bisulfite sequencing approach that simultaneously generates methylation profiles for thousands of Alu elements and their flanking sequences. Comparison of the methylation profiles of normal and tumor tissues revealed that the methylation status of the majority of CpG sites adjacent to or within Alu repeats remain unaltered, while a small set of CpG sites gain or lose methylation in ependymomas. Compared to the CpG sites with stable methylation level between normal control and ependymomas, the differentially methylated CpG sites are enriched in the sequences with low CpG density in the flanking regions of Alu repeats, rather than within the Alu sequences themselves. In addition, the CpG sites that are hypermethylated in ependymomas are proximal to CpG islands, whereas those that are hypomethylated are overrepresented in intergenic regions. Lastly, aberrant methylation of several genomic loci was confirmed to be associated with the aggressive primary tumors and the relapsed ependymomas.


PubMed | Falk Brain Tumor Center
Type: | Journal: BMC genomics | Year: 2012

De novo retrotransposition of Alu elements has been recognized as a major driver for insertion polymorphisms in human populations. In this study, we exploited Alu-anchored bisulfite PCR libraries to identify evolutionarily recent Alu element insertions, and to investigate their genetic and epigenetic variation.A total of 327 putatively recent Alu insertions were identified, altogether represented by 1,762 sequence reads. Nearly all such de novo retrotransposition events (316/327) were novel. Forty-seven out of forty-nine randomly selected events, corresponding to nineteen genomic loci, were sequence-verified. Alu element insertions remained hemizygous in one or more individuals in sixteen of the nineteen genomic loci. The Alu elements were found to be enriched for young Alu families with characteristic sequence features, such as the presence of a longer poly(A) tail. In addition, we documented the occurrence of a duplication of the AT-rich target site in their immediate flanking sequences, a hallmark of retrotransposition. Furthermore, we found the sequence motif (TT/AAAA) that is recognized by the ORF2P protein encoded by LINE-1 in their 5-flanking regions, consistent with the fact that Alu retrotransposition is facilitated by LINE-1 elements. While most of these Alu elements were heavily methylated, we identified an Alu localized 1.5 kb downstream of TOMM5 that exhibited a completely unmethylated left arm. Interestingly, we observed differential methylation of its immediate 5 and 3 flanking CpG dinucleotides, in concordance with the unmethylated and methylated statuses of its internal 5 and 3 sequences, respectively. Importantly, TOMM5s CpG island and the 3 Alu repeats and 1 MIR element localized upstream of this newly inserted Alu were also found to be unmethylated. Methylation analyses of two additional genomic loci revealed no methylation differences in CpG dinucleotides flanking the Alu insertion sites in the two homologous chromosomes, irrespective of the presence or absence of the insertion.We anticipate that the combination of methodologies utilized in this study, which included repeat-anchored bisulfite PCR sequencing and the computational analysis pipeline herein reported, will prove invaluable for the generation of genetic and epigenetic variation maps.

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