Abstract: The correct establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns are critical for mammalian development and the control of normal cell growth and differentiation. DNA methylation has profound effects on the mammalian genome, including transcriptional repression, modulation of chromatin structure, X chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, and the suppression of the detrimental effects of repetitive and parasitic DNA sequences on genome integrity. Consistent with its essential role in normal cells and predominance at repetitive genomic regions, aberrant changes of DNA methylation patterns are a common feature of diseases with chromosomal and genomic instabilities. In this context, the functions of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) can be affected by mutations or alterations of their expression. DNMT3B, which is involved in de novo methylation, is of particular interest not only because of its important role in development, but also because of its dysfunction in human diseases. Expression of catalytically inactive isoforms has been associated with cancer risk and germ line hypomorphic mutations with the ICF syndrome (Immunodeficiency Centromeric instability Facial anomalies). In these diseases, global genomic hypomethylation affects repeated sequences around centromeric regions, which make up large blocks of heterochromatin, and is associated with chromosome instability, impaired chromosome segregation and perturbed nuclear architecture. The review will focus on recent data about the function of DNMT3B, and the consequences of its deregulated activity on pathological DNA hypomethylation, including the illicit activation of germ line-specific genes and accumulation of transcripts originating from repeated satellite sequences, which may represent novel physiopathological biomarkers for human diseases. Notably, we focus on cancer and the ICF syndrome, pathological contexts in which hypomethylation has been extensively characterized. We also discuss the potential contribution of these deregulated protein-coding and non-coding transcription programs to the perturbation of cellular phenotypes.
Abstract: Since the cloning and discovery of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT), there has been a growing interest in DNA methylation, its role as an epigenetic modification, how it is established and removed, along with the implications in development and disease. In recent years, it has become evident that dynamic DNA methylation accompanies the circadian clock and is found at clock genes in Neurospora, mice and cancer cells. The relationship among the circadian clock, cancer and DNA methylation at clock genes suggests a correlative indication that improper DNA methylation may influence clock gene expression, contributing to the etiology of cancer. The molecular mechanism underlying DNA methylation at clock loci is best studied in the filamentous fungi, Neurospora crassa, and recent data indicate a mechanism analogous to the RNA-dependent DNA methylation (RdDM) or RNAi-mediated facultative heterochromatin. Although it is still unclear, DNA methylation at clock genes may function as a terminal modification that serves to prevent the regulated removal of histone modifications. In this capacity, aberrant DNA methylation may serve as a readout of misregulated clock genes and not as the causative agent. This review explores the implications of DNA methylation at clock loci and describes what is currently known regarding the molecular mechanism underlying DNA methylation at circadian clock genes.
Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if differences in inflammatory cytokines exist between fat-free mass responders versus non-responders following a combined resistance/aerobic training program in older women. Fifty women over 60 years old, mean BMI 27 ± 4 (kg/m2) and physically untrained, participated in a combined training program for 16-weeks. Body composition, muscle strength, and serum inflammatory markers (TNF-α, CRP, and IL-6) were assessed at baseline and 16-weeks post-training.A significant time effect was observed for weight, %fat, fat mass, and all strength measures (p < 0.05). A group interaction was observed for TNF-α (p < 0.05), which revealed higher concentrations of circulating TNF-α at baseline (18%) and post-exercise training (24%) in non-responders compared to responders (p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study revealed a significantly greater concentration of circulating TNF-α in older women that do not increase fat-free mass following training.
Abstract: Lipoprotein subclass concentrations are modifiable markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Fenofibrate is known to show beneficial effects on lipoprotein subclasses, but little is known about the role of genetics in mediating the responses of lipoprotein subclasses to fenofibrate. A recent genomewide association study (GWAS) associated several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with lipoprotein measures, and validated these associations in two independent populations. We used this information to construct genetic risk scores (GRSs) for fasting lipoprotein measures at baseline (pre-fenofibrate), and aimed to examine whether these GRSs also associated with the responses of lipoproteins to fenofibrate. Fourteen lipoprotein subclass measures were assayed in 817 men and women before and after a three week fenofibrate trial. We set significance at a Bonferroni corrected alpha <0.05 (p < 0.004). Twelve subclass measures changed with fenofibrate administration (each p = 0.003 to <0.0001). Mixed linear models which controlled for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, pedigree and study-center, revealed that GRSs were associated with eight baseline lipoprotein measures (p < 0.004), however no GRS was associated with fenofibrate response. These results suggest that the mechanisms for changes in lipoprotein subclass concentrations with fenofibrate treatment are not mediated by the genetic risk for fasting levels.
Abstract: Small molecular weight GTPase Rab2 has been shown to be a resident of pre-Golgi intermediates and required for protein transport from the ER to the Golgi complex, however, the function of Rab2 in Dictyostelium has yet to be fully characterized. Using cell lines that over-express DdRab2, as well as cell lines over-expressing constitutively active (CA), and dominant negative (DN) forms of the GTPase, we report a functional role in vesicular transport specifically phagocytosis, and endocytosis. Furthermore, Rab2 like other GTPases cycles between an active GTP-bound and an inactive GDP-bound state. We found that this GTP/GDP cycle for DdRab2 is crucial for normal Dictyostelium development and cell–cell adhesion. Similar to Rab5 and Rab7 in C. elegans, we found that DdRab2 plays a role in programmed cell death, possibly in the phagocytic removal of apoptotic corpses.
Abstract: The epigenetic patterns established during development may influence gene expression over a lifetime and increase susceptibility to chronic disease. Being born preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) is associated with increased risk mortality and morbidity from birth until adulthood. This brief review explores the potential role of DNA methylation in preterm birth (PTB) and its possible long-term consequences and provides an overview of the physiological processes central to PTB and recent DNA methylation studies of PTB.