CpG sites with continuously increasing or decreasing methylation from early to late human fetal brain development

Eberhard Schneider, Marcus Dittrich, Julia Böck, Indrajit Nanda, Tobias Müller, Larissa Seidmann, Tim Tralau, Danuta Galetzka, Nady El Hajj, Thomas Haaf
2016 Gene  
Normal human brain development is dependent on highly dynamic epigenetic processes for spatial and temporal gene regulation. Recent work identified wide-spread changes in DNA methylation during fetal brain development. We profiled CpG methylation in frontal cortex of 27 fetuses from gestational weeks 12-42, using Illumina 450K methylation arrays. Sites showing genome-wide significant correlation with gestational age were compared to a publicly available data set from gestational weeks 3-26.
more » ... gether, we identified 2016 matching developmentally regulated differentially methylated positions (m-dDMPs): 1767 m-dDMPs were hypermethylated and 1149 hypomethylated during fetal development. M-dDMPs are underrepresented in CpG islands and gene promoters, and enriched in gene bodies. They appear to cluster in certain chromosome regions. M-dDMPs are significantly enriched in autism-associated genes and CpGs. Our results promote the idea that reduced methylation dynamics during fetal brain development may predispose to autism. In addition, m-dDMPs are enriched in genes with human-specific brain expression patterns and/or histone modifications. Collectively, we defined a subset of dDMPs exhibiting constant methylation changes from early to late pregnancy. The same epigenetic mechanisms involving methylation changes in cis-regulatory regions may have been adopted for human brain evolution and ontogeny.
doi:10.1016/j.gene.2016.07.058 pmid:27468947 fatcat:5zkk6mmk35arblp4tgoht2t3oi