Expression of the bovine DNA (cytosine 5) methyltransferase family during preimplantation development and aberrations induced by somatic cell nuclear transfer
Bovine preimplantation embryos derived from nuclear transfer experiments exhibit a global state of genomic hypermethylation that likely account for the large number of developmental abnormalities observed to date. The central hypotheses of this work is that the genomic hypermethylation and improper epigenetic reprogramming reported in studies of bovine nuclear transfer, are in large part due to abnormal expression and regulation of the DNA methyltransferase proteins. Bovine Dnmt mRNAs display strong sequence homology to those of human and mouse and similar to other species, exist as multiple isoforms. Two of these splice variants, which have been termed Dnmt2? and Dnmt3a4 represent previously unreported sequence combinations. Investigation of bovine DNA methyltransferase expression in the bovine oocyte and early preimplantation development has revealed an intricate system divergent from observations previously reported in the mouse. Specifically, the somatic version of Dnmt1 along with Dnmt2, 3a and 3b are all expressed during these initial stages of bovine development. Further, real time analyses of the Dnmt transcripts in cloned and in vitro produced embryos reveal significant differences in the mRNA expression levels of Dnmt1 and 2 but not Dnmt3a and 3b suggesting that the de novo methyltransferases may be functioning normally while Dnmt1 and Dnmt2 are aberrantly methylating the genome during a critical time when methylation levels should be receding. Real time PCR analysis of the Dnmt transcripts in fetal and adult tissues has revealed a developmental and tissue specific expression pattern suggesting that proper expression and function of these enzymes is a key element in the process of differentiation. These results are further supported by studies of Dnmt expression in aging bovine fibroblast cultures, which suggest that the Dnmts may play some as yet unidentified role in cellular senescence. Recently, it has been postulated that the cause of abnormal methylation observed in cloned embryos may be due in part to misexpression of the Dnmt1o isoform during preimplantation development. Work presented here raises new and significant hypotheses that must be considered both regarding the cadre of DNA methyltranferases that direct epigenetic programming during normal development and regarding the implication of abnormal DNMT expression in cloned embryos.
Advisor:Westhusin, Mark E.; Kraemer, Duane; Derr, James; Thomas, Terry
School:Texas A&M University
School Location:USA - Texas
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:epigenetics bovine dna methylation
Date of Publication:12/01/2003