Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling identifies a folate-sensitive region of differential methylation upstream of ZFP57-imprinting regulator in humans

Manori Amarasekera, David Martino, Sarah Elizabeth Ashley, Hani Harb, Dorthe Kesper, Deborah H Strickland, Richard Saffery, Susan L Prescott

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Folate intake during pregnancy may affect the regulation of DNA methylation during fetal development. The genomic regions in the offspring that may be sensitive to folate exposure during in utero development have not been characterized. Using genome-scale profiling, we investigated DNA methylation in 2 immune cell types (CD4+and antigen-presenting cells) isolated from neonatal cord blood, selected on the basis of in utero folate exposure. High-folate (HF; n=11) and low-folate (LF; n=12) groups were selected from opposite extremes of maternal serum folate levels measured in the last trimester of pregnancy. A comparison of these groups revealed differential methylation at 7 regions across the genome. By far, the biggest effect observed was hypomethylation of a 923 bp region 3 kb upstream of the ZFP57 transcript, a regulator of DNA methylation during development, observed in both cell types. Levels of H3/H4 acetylation at ZFP57 promoter and ZFP57 mRNA expression were higher in CD4+cells in the HF group relative to the LF group. Hypomethylation at this region was replicated in an independent sample set. These data suggest that exposure to folate has effects on the regulation of DNA methylation during fetal development, and this may be important for health and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4068 - 4076
Number of pages9
JournalThe FASEB Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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