Sex-Based Mhrt Methylation Chromatinizes MeCP2 in the Heart

K. N. Harikrishnan, Jun Okabe, Prabhu Mathiyalagan, Abdul Waheed Khan, Sameer A. Jadaan, Gulcan Sarila, Mark Ziemann, Ishant Khurana, Scott S. Maxwell, Xiao Jun Du, Assam El-Osta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the heart, primary microRNA-208b (pri-miR-208b) and Myheart (Mhrt) are long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) encoded by the cardiac myosin heavy chain genes. Although preclinical studies have shown that lncRNAs regulate gene expression and are protective for pathological hypertrophy, the mechanism underlying sex-based differences remains poorly understood. In this study, we examined DNA- and RNA-methylation-dependent regulation of pri-miR-208b and Mhrt. Expression of pri-miR-208b is elevated in the left ventricle of the female heart. Despite indistinguishable DNA methylation between sexes, the interaction of MeCP2 on chromatin is subject to RNase digestion, highlighting that affinity of the methyl-CG reader is broader than previously thought. A specialized procedure to isolate RNA from soluble cardiac chromatin emphasizes sex-based affinity of an MeCP2 co-repressor complex with Rest and Hdac2. Sex-specific Mhrt methylation chromatinizes MeCP2 at the pri-miR-208b promoter and extends the functional relevance of default transcriptional suppression in the heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-301
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019


  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Mechanism of Gene Regulation
  • Molecular Physiology

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