Pinheiro A.,Metabolism and Genetics Group |
Faustino I.,Metabolism and Genetics Group |
Silva M.J.,Metabolism and Genetics Group |
Silva J.,Center for Reproductive Genetics Alberto Barros |
And 7 more authors.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism | Year: 2010
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification that has profound roles in gene expression and, in particular, is thought to be crucial for regulation of tissue-specific genes in animal cells. The pivotal E1α subunit of human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, an essential and rate-limiting enzyme system in energy metabolism, is encoded by two distinct genes: PDHA1 gene, located on chromosome X is expressed in somatic tissues, whereas PDHA2 gene, located on chromosome 4, is exclusively expressed in spermatogenic cells. The objective of this study is to elucidate the role of DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism controlling the regulation of PDHA2 gene expression in human tissues, namely its repression in somatic tissues and its activation in testicular germ cells. Genomic DNA was isolated from human somatic tissues (circulating lymphocytes and gastric cells) and from testis, including isolated fractions of haploid and diploid germ cells. After primer design with appropriate software, it was performed the sodium bisulfite PCR sequencing of the PDHA2 promoter and coding regions. Total RNA of the same tissues was isolated, reverse transcribed and PDHA1and PDHA2 transcripts were amplified with specific primers and analysed by agarose gel electrophoresis. The analysis of the genomic sequence of the PDHA2 gene revealed the presence of 61 CpG sites whose distribution matches the criteria for the presence of two CpG islands. Sequence analysis of both CpG islands upon bisulfite treatment displayed several differences, either between islands or among tissues. In particular, the methylation pattern of one of the CpG islands revealed a perfect correlation with transcriptional activity of the PDHA2 gene either in testis or in somatic tissues. Surprisingly, it is the full demethylation of the CpG island located in the coding region that seems to play a crucial role upon PDHA2 gene transcription in testis. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.