Role of DNA methylation in altered gene expression patterns in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to 3, 3’, 4, 4’, 5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126)
Karchner, Sibel I.
Krick, Keegan S.
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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.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Environmental Epigenetics 4 (2018): dvy005, doi:10.1093/eep/dvy005.
Suggested CitationEnvironmental Epigenetics 4 (2018): dvy005
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