26 results found
Ranson JM, Khleifat AA, Lyall DM, et al., 2022, The Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON) Network: A global platform for innovation using data science and artificial intelligence., Alzheimers Dement, Vol: 18 Suppl 2
BACKGROUND: The increasing availability of large high-dimensional data from experimental medicine, population-based and clinical cohorts, clinical trials, and electronic health records has the potential to transform dementia research. Our ability to make best use of this rich data will depend on utilisation of advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and collaboration across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. METHOD: The Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON) Network launched in 20191 to support the growing interest in machine learning and AI. Led by Director Prof David Llewellyn and Deputy Director Dr Janice Ranson, the leadership team additionally includes 5 Theme Leads and 14 Working Group Leads, supported by an international Steering Committee of world-leading academics. Core funding is provided by Alzheimer's Research UK, the Alan Turing Institute and the University of Exeter, with additional support from strategic partners including the UK Dementia Research Institute and the Alzheimer's Society. Grand Challenges were established at a National Strategy Workshop in June 2020. Multidisciplinary Working Groups were formed to coordinate practical activities in seven key areas: Genetics and omics, experimental medicine, drug discovery and trials optimisation, biomarkers, imaging, dementia prevention, and applied models and digital health. Additional Special Interest Groups coordinate topic specific collaborations. RESULT: Membership on 4th February 2022 comprised 1,321 individuals from 61 countries across 6 continents (see Figure). Areas of expertise include dementia research (904; 68%), data science (692; 52%), clinical practice (244; 18%), industry (162; 12%), and regulation (26; 2%). Individual membership is free, and regular knowledge transfer events are provided including a monthly seminar series, talks and workshops, training, networking, and early career development. Each Working Group meets monthly, with multiple grants, reviews
Marzi S, 2022, BULK AND SINGLE CELL RNA SEQUENCING IN THE BRAIN, World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics (WCPG), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: E312-E312, ISSN: 0924-977X
Hu D, Abbasova L, Schilder B, et al., 2022, CUT&Tag recovers up to half of ENCODE ChIP-seq peaks, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Techniques for genome-wide epigenetic profiling have been undergoing rapid development toward recovery of high quality data from bulk and single cell samples. DNA-protein interactions have traditionally been profiled via chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next generation sequencing (ChIP-seq), which has become the gold standard for studying histone modifications or transcription factor binding. Cleavage Under Targets & Tagmentation (CUT&Tag) is a promising new technique, which enables profiling of such interactions in situ at high sensitivity and is adaptable to single cell applications. However thorough evaluation and benchmarking against established ChIP-seq datasets are still lacking. Here we comprehensively benchmarked CUT&Tag for H3K27ac and H3K27me3 against published ChIP-seq profiles from ENCODE in K562 cells. Across a total of 30 new and 6 published CUT&Tag datasets we found that no experiment recovers more than 50% of known ENCODE peaks, regardless of the histone mark. We tested peak callers MACS2 and SEACR, identifying optimal peak calling parameters. Balancing both precision and recall of known ENCODE peaks, SEACR without retention of duplicates showed the best performance. We found that reducing PCR cycles during library preparation lowered duplication rates at the expense of ENCODE peak recovery. Despite the moderate ENCODE peak recovery, peaks identified by CUT&Tag represent the strongest ENCODE peaks and show the same functional and biological enrichments as ChIP-seq peaks identified by ENCODE. Our workflow systematically evaluates the merits of methodological adjustments and will facilitate future efforts to apply CUT&Tag in human tissues and single cells.
Rodriguez-Algarra F, Seaborne RAE, Danson AF, et al., 2022, Genetic variation at mouse and human ribosomal DNA influences associated epigenetic states, Genome Biology, Vol: 23, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 1474-7596
BackgroundRibosomal DNA (rDNA) displays substantial inter-individual genetic variation in human and mouse. A systematic analysis of how this variation impacts epigenetic states and expression of the rDNA has thus far not been performed.ResultsUsing a combination of long- and short-read sequencing, we establish that 45S rDNA units in the C57BL/6J mouse strain exist as distinct genetic haplotypes that influence the epigenetic state and transcriptional output of any given unit. DNA methylation dynamics at these haplotypes are dichotomous and life-stage specific: at one haplotype, the DNA methylation state is sensitive to the in utero environment, but refractory to post-weaning influences, whereas other haplotypes entropically gain DNA methylation during aging only. On the other hand, individual rDNA units in human show limited evidence of genetic haplotypes, and hence little discernible correlation between genetic and epigenetic states. However, in both species, adjacent units show similar epigenetic profiles, and the overall epigenetic state at rDNA is strongly positively correlated with the total rDNA copy number. Analysis of different mouse inbred strains reveals that in some strains, such as 129S1/SvImJ, the rDNA copy number is only approximately 150 copies per diploid genome and DNA methylation levels are < 5%.ConclusionsOur work demonstrates that rDNA-associated genetic variation has a considerable influence on rDNA epigenetic state and consequently rRNA expression outcomes. In the future, it will be important to consider the impact of inter-individual rDNA (epi)genetic variation on mammalian phenotypes and diseases.
Murphy KB, Nott A, Marzi SJ, 2021, CHAS, a deconvolution tool, infers cell type-specific signatures in bulk brain histone acetylation studies of brain disorders
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Chromatin profiling studies have shown the importance of gene regulation in driving heritability and environmental risk of brain disorders. Acetylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27ac) has emerged as an informative disease-associated epigenetic mark. However, cell type-specific contributions to epigenetic dysregulation in disease are unclear as studies have often used bulk brain tissue. Therefore, methods for the deconvolution of bulk H3K27ac profiles are critical. Here we developed the Cell type-specific Histone Acetylation Score (CHAS), a computational tool for inferring cell type-specific signatures in bulk brain H3K27ac profiles. CHAS annotates peaks identified in bulk brain studies of H3K27ac to cell type-specific signals in four major brain cell types, and derives cell type-specific histone acetylation scores as a proxy for cell type proportion. Our method was validated in pseudo-bulk samples and applied to three brain disorder epigenome-wide association studies conducted on bulk brain tissue. CHAS exposed shifts in cellular proportions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in line with neuropathology, and identified disrupted gene regulatory elements in oligodendrocytes in AD and microglia in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This contrasts with heritability-based enrichment analyses which indicate genetic risk is associated with microglia in AD and neurons in ASD. Our approach identified cell type specific signalling pathways and putative upstream transcription factors associated with these elements. CHAS enables deconvolution of H3K27ac in bulk brain tissue, yielding cell type-specific biological insights into brain disease-associated regulatory variation.</jats:p>
Rodriguez-Algarra F, Seaborne RAE, Danson AF, et al., 2021, Genetic variation at mouse and human ribosomal DNA influences associated epigenetic states
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) displays substantial inter-individual genetic variation in human and mouse. A systematic analysis of how this variation impacts epigenetic states and expression of the rDNA has thus far not been performed.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>Using a combination of long- and short-read sequencing, we establish that 45S rDNA units in the C57BL/6J mouse strain exist as distinct genetic haplotypes that influence the epigenetic state and transcriptional output of any given unit. DNA methylation dynamics at these haplotypes are dichotomous and life-stage specific: at one haplotype, the DNA methylation state is sensitive to the <jats:italic>in utero</jats:italic> environment, but refractory to post-weaning influences, whereas other haplotypes entropically gain DNA methylation during ageing only. On the other hand, individual rDNA units in human show limited evidence of genetic haplotypes, and hence little discernible correlation between genetic and epigenetic states. However, in both species, adjacent units show similar epigenetic profiles, and the overall epigenetic state at rDNA is strongly positively correlated with total rDNA copy number. Analysis of different mouse inbred strains reveals that in some strains, such as 129S1/SvImJ, rDNA copy number is only approximately 150 copies per diploid genome and DNA methylation levels are <5%.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>Our work demonstrates that rDNA-associated genetic variation has a considerable influence on rDNA epigenetic state and consequently rRNA expression outcomes. In the future, it will be important to consider the impact of inter-individual rDNA (epi)genetic variation on mammalian phenotypes and diseases.</
Cerase A, Young AN, Ruiz NB, et al., 2021, Chd8 regulates X chromosome inactivation in mouse through fine-tuning control of Xist expression., Communications Biology, Vol: 4, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2399-3642
Female mammals achieve dosage compensation by inactivating one of their two X chromosomes during development, a process entirely dependent on Xist, an X-linked long non-coding RNA (lncRNA). At the onset of X chromosome inactivation (XCI), Xist is up-regulated and spreads along the future inactive X chromosome. Contextually, it recruits repressive histone and DNA modifiers that transcriptionally silence the X chromosome. Xist regulation is tightly coupled to differentiation and its expression is under the control of both pluripotency and epigenetic factors. Recent evidence has suggested that chromatin remodelers accumulate at the X Inactivation Center (XIC) and here we demonstrate a new role for Chd8 in Xist regulation in differentiating ES cells, linked to its control and prevention of spurious transcription factor interactions occurring within Xist regulatory regions. Our findings have a broader relevance, in the context of complex, developmentally-regulated gene expression.
Smith AR, Smith RG, Macdonald R, et al., 2021, The histone modification H3K4me3 is altered at the ANK1 locus in Alzheimer's disease brain, Future Science OA, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2056-5623
Several epigenome-wide association studies of DNA methylation have highlighted altered DNA methylation in the ANK1 gene in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain samples. However, no study has specifically examined ANK1 histone modifications in the disease. We use chromatin immunoprecipitation-qPCR to quantify tri-methylation at histone 3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and 27 (H3K27me3) in the ANK1 gene in entorhinal cortex from donors with high (n = 59) or low (n = 29) Alzheimer's disease pathology. We demonstrate decreased levels of H3K4me3, a marker of active gene transcription, with no change in H3K27me3, a marker of inactive genes. H3K4me3 is negatively correlated with DNA methylation in specific regions of the ANK1 gene. Our study suggests that the ANK1 gene shows altered epigenetic marks indicative of reduced gene activation in Alzheimer's disease.
Åsenius F, Danson AF, Marzi SJ, 2020, DNA methylation in human sperm: a systematic review, Human Reproduction Update, Vol: 26, Pages: 841-873, ISSN: 1355-4786
BACKGROUNDStudies in non-human mammals suggest that environmental factors can influence spermatozoal DNA methylation, and some research suggests that spermatozoal DNA methylation is also implicated in conditions such as subfertility and imprinting disorders in the offspring. Together with an increased availability of cost-effective methods of interrogating DNA methylation, this premise has led to an increasing number of studies investigating the DNA methylation landscape of human spermatozoa. However, how the human spermatozoal DNA methylome is influenced by environmental factors is still unclear, as is the role of human spermatozoal DNA methylation in subfertility and in influencing offspring health.OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALEThe aim of this systematic review was to critically appraise the quality of the current body of literature on DNA methylation in human spermatozoa, summarize current knowledge and generate recommendations for future research.SEARCH METHODSA comprehensive literature search of the PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases was conducted using the search terms ‘semen’ OR ‘sperm’ AND ‘DNA methylation’. Publications from 1 January 2003 to 2 March 2020 that studied human sperm and were written in English were included. Studies that used sperm DNA methylation to develop methodologies or forensically identify semen were excluded, as were reviews, commentaries, meta-analyses or editorial texts. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) criteria were used to objectively evaluate quality of evidence in each included publication.OUTCOMESThe search identified 446 records, of which 135 were included in the systematic review. These 135 studies were divided into three groups according to area of research; 56 studies investigated the influence of spermatozoal DNA methylation on male fertility and abnormal semen parameters, 20 studies investigated spermatozoal DNA methylation in pr
Asenius F, Gorrie-Stone TJ, Brew A, et al., 2020, The DNA methylome of human sperm is distinct from blood with little evidence for tissue-consistent obesity associations, PLoS Genetics, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-28, ISSN: 1553-7390
Epidemiological research suggests that paternal obesity may increase the risk of fathering small for gestational age offspring. Studies in non-human mammals indicate that such associations could be mediated by DNA methylation changes in spermatozoa that influence offspring development in utero. Human obesity is associated with differential DNA methylation in peripheral blood. It is unclear, however, whether this differential DNA methylation is reflected in spermatozoa. We profiled genome-wide DNA methylation using the Illumina MethylationEPIC array in a cross-sectional study of matched human blood and sperm from lean (discovery n = 47; replication n = 21) and obese (n = 22) males to analyse tissue covariation of DNA methylation, and identify obesity-associated methylomic signatures. We found that DNA methylation signatures of human blood and spermatozoa are highly discordant, and methylation levels are correlated at only a minority of CpG sites (~1%). At the majority of these sites, DNA methylation appears to be influenced by genetic variation. Obesity-associated DNA methylation in blood was not generally reflected in spermatozoa, and obesity was not associated with altered covariation patterns or accelerated epigenetic ageing in the two tissues. However, one cross-tissue obesity-specific hypermethylated site (cg19357369; chr4:2429884; P = 8.95 × 10−8; 2% DNA methylation difference) was identified, warranting replication and further investigation. When compared to a wide range of human somatic tissue samples (n = 5,917), spermatozoa displayed differential DNA methylation across pathways enriched in transcriptional regulation. Overall, human sperm displays a unique DNA methylation profile that is highly discordant to, and practically uncorrelated with, that of matched peripheral blood. We observed that obesity was only nominally associated with differential DNA methylation in sperm, and therefore suggest that spermatozoal DNA methylation is an unlikely me
Asenius F, Marzi SJ, Gorrie-Stone TJ, et al., 2020, A lack of DNA methylation covariation between human blood and sperm make it unlikely to mediate intergenerational inheritance of acquired traits, 36th Virtual Annual Meeting of the European-Society-of-Human-Reproduction-and-Embryology (ESHRE), Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS, Pages: 112-112, ISSN: 0268-1161
Åsenius F, Gorrie-Stone TJ, Brew A, et al., 2020, DNA methylation covariation in human whole blood and sperm: implications for studies of intergenerational epigenetic effects
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Epidemiological studies suggest that paternal obesity may increase the risk of fathering small for gestational age offspring. Studies in non-human mammals suggest that such associations could be mediated by DNA methylation changes in spermatozoa that influence offspring development in utero. Human obesity is associated with differential DNA methylation in peripheral blood. It is unclear, however, whether this differential DNA methylation is reflected in spermatozoa. We profiled genome-wide DNA methylation using the Illumina MethylationEPIC array in matched human blood and sperm from lean (discovery n=47; replication n=21) and obese (n=22) males to analyse tissue covariation of DNA methylation, and identify whether this covariation is influenced by obesity.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>DNA methylation signatures of human blood and spermatozoa are highly discordant, and methylation levels are correlated at only a minority of CpG sites (∼1%). While at the majority of these sites, DNA methylation appears to be influenced by genetic variation, obesity-associated DNA methylation in blood was not generally reflected in spermatozoa, and obesity did not influence covariation patterns. However, one cross-tissue obesity-specific hypermethylated site (cg19357369; chr4:2429884; <jats:italic>P</jats:italic>=8.95 × 10<jats:sup>−8</jats:sup>; beta=0.02) was identified, warranting replication and further investigation. When compared to a wide range of human somatic tissue samples (n=5,917), spermatozoa displayed differential DNA methylation in pathways enriched in transcriptional regulation.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>Human sperm displays a unique DNA methylation profi
Hubel C, Marzi SJ, Berrn G, et al., 2019, Epigenetics in eating disorders: a systematic review, Molecular Psychiatry, Vol: 24, Pages: 901-915, ISSN: 1359-4184
Eating disorders are complex heritable conditions influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Given the progress of genomic discovery in anorexia nervosa, with the identification of the first genome-wide significant locus, as well as animated discussion of epigenetic mechanisms in linking environmental factors with disease onset, our goal was to conduct a systematic review of the current body of evidence on epigenetic factors in eating disorders to inform future directions in this area. Following PRISMA guidelines, two independent authors conducted a search within PubMed and Web of Science and identified 18 journal articles and conference abstracts addressing anorexia nervosa (n = 13), bulimia nervosa (n = 6), and binge-eating disorder (n = 1), published between January 2003 and October 2017. We reviewed all articles and included a critical discussion of field-specific methodological considerations. The majority of epigenetic analyses of eating disorders investigated methylation at candidate genes (n = 13), focusing on anorexia and bulimia nervosa in very small samples with considerable sample overlap across published studies. Three studies used microarray-based technologies to examine DNA methylation across the genome of anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder patients. Overall, results were inconclusive and were primarily exploratory in nature. The field of epigenetics in eating disorders remains in its infancy. We encourage the scientific community to apply methodologically sound approaches using genome-wide designs including epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS), to increase sample sizes, and to broaden the focus to include all eating disorder types.
Giusti-Rodriguez PMD, Sullivan P, 2019, Using three-dimensional regulatory chromatin interactions from adult and fetal cortex to interpret genetic results for psychiatric disorders and cognitive traits, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of genetic associations for complex psychiatric disorders and cognitive traits. However, interpretation of most of these findings is complicated by the presence of many significant and highly correlated genetic variants located in non-coding regions. Here, we address this issue by creating a high-resolution map of the three-dimensional (3D) genome organization by applying Hi-C to adult and fetal brain cortex with concomitant RNA-seq, open chromatin (ATAC-seq), and ChIP-seq data (H3K27ac, H3K4me3, and CTCF). Extensive analyses established the quality, information content, and salience of these new Hi-C data. We used these data to connect 938 significant genetic loci for schizophrenia, intelligence, ADHD, alcohol dependence, Alzheimer's disease, anorexia nervosa, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, and educational attainment to 8,595 genes (with 42.1% of these genes implicated more than once). We show that assigning genes to traits based on proximity provides a limited view of the complexity of GWAS findings and that gene set analyses based on functional genomic data provide an expanded view of the biological processes involved in the etiology of schizophrenia and other complex brain traits.
Hannon E, Marzi SJ, Schalkwyk LS, et al., 2019, Genetic risk variants for brain disorders are enriched in cortical H3K27ac domains, Molecular Brain, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1756-6606
Most variants associated with complex phenotypes in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) do not directly index coding changes affecting protein structure. Instead they are hypothesized to influence gene regulation, with common variants associated with disease being enriched in regulatory domains including enhancers and regions of open chromatin. There is interest, therefore, in using epigenomic annotation data to identify the specific regulatory mechanisms involved and prioritize risk variants. We quantified lysine H3K27 acetylation (H3K27ac) - a robust mark of active enhancers and promoters that is strongly correlated with gene expression and transcription factor binding – across the genome in entorhinal cortex samples using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by highly parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq). H3K27ac peaks were called using high quality reads combined across all samples and formed the basis of partitioned heritability analysis using LD score regression along with publicly-available GWAS results for seven psychiatric and neurodegenerative traits. Heritability for all seven brain traits was significantly enriched in these H3K27ac peaks (enrichment ranging from 1.09–2.13) compared to regions of the genome containing other active regulatory and functional elements across multiple cell types and tissues. The strongest enrichments were for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (enrichment = 2.19; 95% CI = 2.12–2.27), autism (enrichment = 2.11; 95% CI = 2.05–2.16) and major depressive disorder (enrichment = 2.04; 95% CI = 1.92–2.16). Much lower enrichments were observed for 14 non-brain disorders, although we identified enrichment in cortical H3K27ac domains for body mass index (enrichment = 1.16; 95% CI = 1.13–1.19), ever smoked (enrichment = 2.07; 95% CI = 2.04–2.10), HDL (enrich
Hannon E, Marzi S, Schalkwyk L, et al., 2019, GENETIC RISK VARIANTS FOR BRAIN DISORDERS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY ENRICHED IN ACTIVE ENHANCERS IN THE CORTEX, 26th World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics (WCPG), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: 1142-1143, ISSN: 0924-977X
Marzi SJ, Leung SK, Ribarska T, et al., 2018, A histone acetylome-wide association study of Alzheimer's disease identifies disease-associated H3K27ac differences in the entorhinal cortex, Nature Neuroscience, Vol: 21, Pages: 1618-1627, ISSN: 1097-6256
We quantified genome-wide patterns of lysine H3K27 acetylation (H3K27ac) in entorhinal cortex samples from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases and matched controls using chromatin immunoprecipitation and highly parallel sequencing. We observed widespread acetylomic variation associated with AD neuropathology, identifying 4,162 differential peaks (false discovery rate < 0.05) between AD cases and controls. Differentially acetylated peaks were enriched in disease-related biological pathways and included regions annotated to genes involved in the progression of amyloid-β and tau pathology (for example, APP, PSEN1, PSEN2, and MAPT), as well as regions containing variants associated with sporadic late-onset AD. Partitioned heritability analysis highlighted a highly significant enrichment of AD risk variants in entorhinal cortex H3K27ac peak regions. AD-associated variable H3K27ac was associated with transcriptional variation at proximal genes including CR1, GPR22, KMO, PIM3, PSEN1, and RGCC. In addition to identifying molecular pathways associated with AD neuropathology, we present a framework for genome-wide studies of histone modifications in complex disease.
Marzi SJ, Sugden K, Arseneault L, et al., 2018, Analysis of DNA methylation in young people: limited evidence for an association between victimization stress and epigenetic variation in blood, American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol: 175, Pages: 517-529, ISSN: 0002-953X
Objective:DNA methylation has been proposed as an epigenetic mechanism by which early-life experiences become “embedded” in the genome and alter transcriptional processes to compromise health. The authors sought to investigate whether early-life victimization stress is associated with genome-wide DNA methylation.Method:The authors tested the hypothesis that victimization is associated with DNA methylation in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative 1994–1995 birth cohort of 2,232 twins born in England and Wales and assessed at ages 5, 7, 10, 12, and 18 years. Multiple forms of victimization were ascertained in childhood and adolescence (including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; neglect; exposure to intimate-partner violence; bullying; cyber-victimization; and crime).Results:Epigenome-wide analyses of polyvictimization across childhood and adolescence revealed few significant associations with DNA methylation in peripheral blood at age 18, but these analyses were confounded by tobacco smoking and/or did not survive co-twin control tests. Secondary analyses of specific forms of victimization revealed sparse associations with DNA methylation that did not replicate across different operationalizations of the same putative victimization experience. Hypothesis-driven analyses of six candidate genes in the stress response (NR3C1, FKBP5, BDNF, AVP, CRHR1, SLC6A4) did not reveal predicted associations with DNA methylation in probes annotated to these genes.Conclusions:Findings from this epidemiological analysis of the epigenetic effects of early-life stress do not support the hypothesis of robust changes in DNA methylation in victimized young people. We need to come to terms with the possibility that epigenetic epidemiology is not yet well matched to experimental, nonhuman models in uncovering the biological embedding of stress.
Danson AF, Marzi SJ, Lowe R, et al., 2018, Early life diet conditions the molecular response to post-weaning protein restriction in the mouse, BMC Biology, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1741-7007
BackgroundEnvironmental influences fluctuate throughout the life course of an organism. It is therefore important to understand how the timing of exposure impacts molecular responses. Herein, we examine the responses of two key molecular markers of dietary stress, namely variant-specific methylation at ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and small RNA distribution, including tRNA fragments, in a mouse model of protein restriction (PR) with exposure at pre- and/or post-weaning.ResultsWe first confirm that pre-weaning PR exposure modulates the methylation state of rDNA in a genotype-dependent manner, whereas post-weaning PR exposure has no such effect. Conversely, post-weaning PR induces a shift in small RNA distribution, but there is no effect in the pre-weaning PR model. Intriguingly, mice exposed to PR throughout their lives show neither of these two dietary stress markers, similar to controls.ConclusionsThe results show that the timing of the insult affects the nature of the molecular response but also, critically, that ‘matching’ diet exposure either side of weaning eliminates the stress response at the level of rDNA methylation and small RNA in sperm.
Fisher H, Marzi S, Arseneault L, et al., 2018, EPIGENETIC SIGNATURES OF CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENT VICTIMISATION USING A GENETICALLY SENSITIVE LONGITUDINAL COHORT STUDY, 6th Biennial Conference of the Schizophrenia-International-Research-Society (SIRS), Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS, Pages: S25-S25, ISSN: 0586-7614
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Marzi S, Kumsta R, Viana J, et al., 2017, SEVERE PSYCHOSOCIAL DEPRIVATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD IS ASSOCIATED WITH HYPERMETHYLATION ACROSS A REGION OF THE CYP2E1 GENE, 23rd Annual World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics (WCPG), Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, Pages: S232-S233, ISSN: 0924-977X
Marzi S, Ribarska T, Smith A, et al., 2017, A histone acetylome-wide association study of Alzheimer’s disease: neuropathology-associated regulatory variation in the human entorhinal cortex, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Abstract Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the neocortex. Recent studies have implicated a role for regulatory genomic variation in AD progression, finding widespread evidence for altered DNA methylation associated with neuropathology. To date, however, no study has systematically examined other types of regulatory genomic modifications in AD. In this study, we quantified genome-wide patterns of lysine H3K27 acetylation (H3K27ac) - a robust mark of active enhancers and promoters that is strongly correlated with gene expression and transcription factor binding - in entorhinal cortex samples from AD cases and matched controls (n = 47) using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by highly parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq). Across ~182,000 robustly detected H3K27ac peak regions, we found widespread acetylomic variation associated with AD neuropathology, identifying 4,162 differential peaks (FDR < 0.05) between AD cases and controls. These differentially acetylated peaks are enriched in disease-specific biological pathways and include regions annotated to multiple genes directly involved in the progression of Aβ and tau pathology (e.g. APP , PSEN1 , PSEN2 , MAPT ), as well as genomic regions containing variants associated with sporadic late-onset AD. This is the first study of variable H3K27ac yet undertaken in AD and the largest study investigating this modification in the entorhinal cortex. In addition to identifying molecular pathways associated with AD neuropathology, we present a framework for genome-wide studies of histone modifications in complex disease, integrating our data with results obtained from genome-wide association studies as well as other epigenetic marks profiled on the same samples.
Janecka M, Marzi SJ, Parsons MJ, et al., 2017, Genetic polymorphisms and their association with brain and behavioural measures in heterogeneous stock mice, Scientific Reports, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2045-2322
Although the search for quantitative trait loci for behaviour remains a considerable challenge, the complicated genetic architecture of quantitative traits is beginning to be understood. The current project utilised heterogeneous stock (HS) male mice (n = 580) to investigate the genetic basis for brain weights, activity, anxiety and cognitive phenotypes. We identified 126 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in regulation of neurotransmitter systems, nerve growth/death and gene expression, and subsequently investigated their associations with changes in behaviour and/or brain weights in our sample. We found significant associations between four SNP-phenotype pairs, after controlling for multiple testing. Specificity protein 2 (Sp2, rs3708840), tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1, rs262731280) and serotonin receptor 3A (Htr3a, rs50670893) were associated with activity/anxiety behaviours, and microtubule-associated protein 2 (Map2, rs13475902) was associated with cognitive performance. All these genes except for Tph1 were expressed in the brain above the array median, and remained significantly associated with relevant behaviours after controlling for the family structure. Additionally, we found evidence for a correlation between Htr3a expression and activity. We discuss our findings in the light of the advantages and limitations of currently available mouse genetic tools, suggesting further directions for association studies in rodents.
Laczik M, Hendrickx J, Veillard A-C, et al., 2016, Iterative fragmentation improves the detection of ChIP-seq peaks for inactive histone marks, Bioinformatics and Biology Insights, Vol: 10, Pages: 209-224, ISSN: 1177-9322
As chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing is becoming the dominant technique for studying chromatin modifications, new protocols surface to improve the method. Bioinformatics is also essential to analyze and understand the results, and precise analysis helps us to identify the effects of protocol optimizations. We applied iterative sonication –- sending the fragmented DNA after ChIP through additional round(s) of shearing –- to a number of samples, testing the effects on different histone marks, aiming to uncover potential benefits of inactive histone marks specifically. We developed an analysis pipeline that utilizes our unique, enrichment-type specific approach to peak calling. With the help of this pipeline, we managed to accurately describe the advantages and disadvantages of the iterative refragmentation technique, and we successfully identified possible fields for its applications, where it enhances the results greatly. In addition to the resonication protocol description, we provide guidelines for peak calling optimization and a freely implementable pipeline for data analysis.
Kumsta R, Marzi SJ, Viana J, et al., 2016, Severe psychosocial deprivation in early childhood is associated with increased DNA methylation across a region spanning the transcription start site of CYP2E1, Translational Psychiatry, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2158-3188
Exposure to adverse rearing environments including institutional deprivation and severe childhood abuse is associated with an increased risk for mental and physical health problems across the lifespan. Although the mechanisms mediating these effects are not known, recent work in rodent models suggests that epigenetic processes may be involved. We studied the impact of severe early-life adversity on epigenetic variation in a sample of adolescents adopted from the severely depriving orphanages of the Romanian communist era in the 1980s. We quantified buccal cell DNA methylation at ~400 000 sites across the genome in Romanian adoptees exposed to either extended (6–43 months; n=16) or limited duration (<6 months; n=17) of severe early-life deprivation, in addition to a matched sample of UK adoptees (n=16) not exposed to severe deprivation. Although no probe-wise differences remained significant after controlling for the number of probes tested, we identified an exposure-associated differentially methylated region (DMR) spanning nine sequential CpG sites in the promoter-regulatory region of the cytochrome P450 2E1 gene (CYP2E1) on chromosome 10 (corrected P=2.98 × 10−5). Elevated DNA methylation across this region was also associated with deprivation-related clinical markers of impaired social cognition. Our data suggest that environmental insults of sufficient biological impact during early development are associated with long-lasting epigenetic changes, potentially reflecting a biological mechanism linking the effects of early-life adversity to cognitive and neurobiological phenotypes.
Marzi SJ, Meaburn EL, Dempster EL, et al., 2016, Tissue-specific patterns of allelically-skewed DNA methylation, Epigenetics, Vol: 11, Pages: 24-35, ISSN: 1559-2294
While DNA methylation is usually thought to be symmetrical across both alleles, there are some notable exceptions. Genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation are two well-studied sources of allele-specific methylation (ASM), but recent research has indicated a more complex pattern in which genotypic variation can be associated with allelically-skewed DNA methylation in cis. Given the known heterogeneity of DNA methylation across tissues and cell types we explored inter- and intra-individual variation in ASM across several regions of the human brain and whole blood from multiple individuals. Consistent with previous studies, we find widespread ASM with > 4% of the ∼220,000 loci interrogated showing evidence of allelically-skewed DNA methylation. We identify ASM flanking known imprinted regions, and show that ASM sites are enriched in DNase I hypersensitivity sites and often located in an extended genomic context of intermediate DNA methylation. We also detect examples of genotype-driven ASM, some of which are tissue-specific. These findings contribute to our understanding of the nature of differential DNA methylation across tissues and have important implications for genetic studies of complex disease. As a resource to the community, ASM patterns across each of the tissues studied are available in a searchable online database: http://epigenetics.essex.ac.uk/ASMBrainBlood.
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