Zhu Wei

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Zhu
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Wei
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  • Article
    Role of DNA methylation in altered gene expression patterns in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to 3, 3’, 4, 4’, 5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126)
    (Oxford University Press, 2018-04-13) Aluru, Neelakanteswar ; Karchner, Sibel I. ; Krick, Keegan S. ; Zhu, Wei ; Liu, Jiang
    There is growing evidence that environmental toxicants can affect various physiological processes by altering DNA methylation patterns. However, very little is known about the impact of toxicant-induced DNA methylation changes on gene expression patterns. The objective of this study was to determine the genome-wide changes in DNA methylation concomitant with altered gene expression patterns in response to 3, 3’, 4, 4’, 5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB126) exposure. We used PCB126 as a model environmental chemical because the mechanism of action is well-characterized, involving activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a ligand-activated transcription factor. Adult zebrafish were exposed to 10 nM PCB126 for 24 h (water-borne exposure) and brain and liver tissues were sampled at 7 days post-exposure in order to capture both primary and secondary changes in DNA methylation and gene expression. We used enhanced Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing and RNAseq to quantify DNA methylation and gene expression, respectively. Enhanced reduced representation bisulfite sequencing analysis revealed 573 and 481 differentially methylated regions in the liver and brain, respectively. Most of the differentially methylated regions are located more than 10 kilobases upstream of transcriptional start sites of the nearest neighboring genes. Gene Ontology analysis of these genes showed that they belong to diverse physiological pathways including development, metabolic processes and regeneration. RNAseq results revealed differential expression of genes related to xenobiotic metabolism, oxidative stress and energy metabolism in response to polychlorinated biphenyl exposure. There was very little correlation between differentially methylated regions and differentially expressed genes suggesting that the relationship between methylation and gene expression is dynamic and complex, involving multiple layers of regulation.
  • Article
    Evolutionary transition between invertebrates and vertebrates via methylation reprogramming in embryogenesis
    (Oxford University Press, 2019-03-25) Xu, Xiaocui ; Li, Guoqiang ; Li, Congru ; Zhang, Jing ; Wang, Qiang ; Simmons, David K. ; Chen, Xuepeng ; Wijesena, Naveen ; Zhu, Wei ; Wang, Zhanyang ; Wang, Zhenhua ; Ju, Bao ; Ci, Weimin ; Lu, Xuemei ; Yu, Daqi ; Wang, Qian-fei ; Aluru, Neelakanteswar ; Oliveri, Paola ; Zhang, Yong E. ; Martindale, Mark Q. ; Liu, Jiang
    Major evolutionary transitions are enigmas, and the most notable enigma is between invertebrates and vertebrates, with numerous spectacular innovations. To search for the molecular connections involved, we asked whether global epigenetic changes may offer a clue by surveying the inheritance and reprogramming of parental DNA methylation across metazoans. We focused on gametes and early embryos, where the methylomes are known to evolve divergently between fish and mammals. Here, we find that methylome reprogramming during embryogenesis occurs neither in pre-bilaterians such as cnidarians nor in protostomes such as insects, but clearly presents in deuterostomes such as echinoderms and invertebrate chordates, and then becomes more evident in vertebrates. Functional association analysis suggests that DNA methylation reprogramming is associated with development, reproduction and adaptive immunity for vertebrates, but not for invertebrates. Interestingly, the single HOX cluster of invertebrates maintains unmethylated status in all stages examined. In contrast, the multiple HOX clusters show dramatic dynamics of DNA methylation during vertebrate embryogenesis. Notably, the methylation dynamics of HOX clusters are associated with their spatiotemporal expression in mammals. Our study reveals that DNA methylation reprogramming has evolved dramatically during animal evolution, especially after the evolutionary transitions from invertebrates to vertebrates, and then to mammals.