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Genomic imprinting

In the Literature.

Here GNN posts six abstracts of articles on genomic imprinting related to the feature story The Legacy of Solid Gold.


The callipyge mutation enhances the expression of coregulated imprinted genes in cis without affecting their imprinting status.

The callipyge (CLPG) phenotype (from kappa(alpha)lambda(iota), "beautiful," and pi(iota)gamma(epsilon), "buttocks") described in sheep is an inherited muscular hypertrophy that is subject to an unusual parent-of-origin effect referred to as polar overdominance: only heterozygous individuals having inherited the CLPG mutation from their sire exhibit the muscular hypertrophy. The callipyge (clpg) locus was mapped to a chromosome segment of approximately 400 kb (refs. 2-4), which was shown to contain four genes (DLK1, GTL2, PEG11 and MEG8) that are preferentially expressed in skeletal muscle and subject to parental imprinting in this tissue. Here we describe the effect of the CLPG mutation on the expression of these four genes, and demonstrate that callipyge individuals have a unique expression profile that may account for the observed polar overdominance.

Nat Genet 2001 Apr;27(4):367-9.

Fine-mapping and construction of a bovine contig spanning the ovine callipyge locus.

The callipyge (CLPG) gene was fine-mapped by linkage analysis to a 4.6-cM chromosome interval on distal ovine OAR18q, flanked by microsatellite markers IDVGA30 and OY3. The OAR18q linkage map and human HSA14q transcript map were aligned by genotyping two bovine-hamster whole-genome radiation hybrid panels with the microsatellite markers, as well as with sequences corresponding to HSA 14q genes. Using Type I loci mapping to the IDVGA30-OY3 interval as anchor points, we have constructed a 1.4-Mb bovine BAC contig containing the IDVGA30-OY3 interval. We demonstrate that the IDVGA30-OY3 interval spans approximately 770 kb and contains at least four genes: YY1, WARS, DLK1, and GTL2.

Mamm Genome 2001 Feb;12(2):141-9.

Genomic imprinting: parental influence on the genome.

Genomic imprinting affects several dozen mammalian genes and results in the expression of those genes from only one of the two parental chromosomes. This is brought about by epigenetic instructions--imprints--that are laid down in the parental germ cells. Imprinting is a particularly important genetic mechanism in mammals, and is thought to influence the transfer of nutrients to the fetus and the newborn from the mother. Consistent with this view is the fact that imprinted genes tend to affect growth in the womb and behaviour after birth. Aberrant imprinting disturbs development and is the cause of various disease syndromes. The study of imprinting also provides new insights into epigenetic gene modification during development.

Nat Rev Genet 2001 Jan;2(1):21-32.

Novel imprinted DLK1/GTL2 domain on human chromosome 14 contains motifs that mimic those implicated in IGF2/H19 regulation.

The evolution of genomic imprinting in mammals occurred more than 100 million years ago, and resulted in the formation of genes that are functionally haploid because of parent-of-origin-dependent expression. Despite ample evidence from studies in a number of species suggesting the presence of imprinted genes on human chromosome 14, their identity has remained elusive. Here we report the identification of two reciprocally imprinted genes, GTL2 and DLK1, which together define a novel imprinting cluster on human chromosome 14q32. The maternally expressed GTL2 (gene trap locus 2) gene encodes for a nontranslated RNA. DLK1 (delta, Drosophila, homolog-like 1) is a paternally expressed gene that encodes for a transmembrane protein containing six epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeat motifs closely related to those present in the delta/notch/serrate family of signaling molecules. The paternal expression, chromosomal localization, and biological function of DLK1 also make it a likely candidate gene for the callipyge phenotype in sheep. Many of the predicted structural and regulatory features of the DLK1/GTL2 domain are highly analogous to those implicated in IGF2/H19 imprint regulation, including two hemimethylated consensus binding sites for the vertebrate enhancer blocking protein, CTCF. These results provide evidence that a common mechanism and domain organization may be used for juxtapositioned, reciprocally imprinted genes.

Genome Res 2000 Nov;10(11):1711-8.

Delta-like and gtl2 are reciprocally expressed, differentially methylated linked imprinted genes on mouse chromosome 12.

The distal portion of mouse chromosome 12 is imprinted. To date, however, Gtl2 is the only imprinted gene identified on chromosome 12. Gtl2 encodes multiple alternatively spliced transcripts with no apparent open reading frame. Using conceptuses with maternal or paternal uniparental disomy for chromosome 12 (UPD12), we found that Gtl2 is expressed from the maternal allele and methylated at the 5' end of the silent paternal allele. A reciprocally imprinted gene, Delta-like (Dlk), with homology to genes involved in the Notch signalling pathway was identified 80kb upstream of Gtl2. Dlk was expressed exclusively from the paternal allele in both the embryo and placenta, but the CpG-island promoter of Dlk was completely unmethylated on both parental alleles. Rather, a paternally methylated region was identified in the last exon of the active Dlk allele. The proximity, reciprocal imprinting and methylation in this domain are reminiscent of the co-ordinately regulated Igf2-H19 imprinted domain on mouse chromosome 7. Like H19 and Igf2, Gtl2 and Dlk were found to be co-expressed in the same tissues throughout development, though not after birth. These results have implications for the regulation, function and evolution of imprinted domains.

Curr Biol 2000 Sep 21;10(18):1135-8.

The Dlk1 and Gtl2 genes are linked and reciprocally imprinted.

Genes subject to genomic imprinting exist in large chromosomal domains, probably reflecting coordinate regulation of the genes within a cluster. Such regulation has been demonstrated for the H19, Igf2, and Ins2 genes that share a bifunctional imprinting control region. We have identified the Dlk1 gene as a new imprinted gene that is paternally expressed. Furthermore, we show that Dlk1 is tightly linked to the maternally expressed Gtl2 gene. Dlk1 and Gtl2 are coexpressed and respond in a reciprocal manner to loss of DNA methylation. These genes are likely to represent a new example of coordinated imprinting of linked genes.

Genes Dev 2000 Aug 15;14(16):1997-2002.

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