Journal Article

Allele-specific DNA methylation: beyond imprinting

Benjamin Tycko

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 19, issue R2, pages R210-R220
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq376
Allele-specific DNA methylation: beyond imprinting

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Allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) and allele-specific gene expression (ASE) have long been studied in genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. But these types of allelic asymmetries, along with allele-specific transcription factor binding (ASTF), have turned out to be far more pervasive—affecting many non-imprinted autosomal genes in normal human tissues. ASM, ASE and ASTF have now been mapped genome-wide by microarray-based methods and NextGen sequencing. Multiple studies agree that all three types of allelic asymmetries, as well as the related phenomena of expression and methylation quantitative trait loci, are mostly accounted for by cis-acting regulatory polymorphisms. The precise mechanisms by which this occurs are not yet understood, but there are some testable hypotheses and already a few direct clues. Future challenges include achieving higher resolution maps to locate the epicenters of cis-regulated ASM, using this information to test mechanistic models, and applying genome-wide maps of ASE/ASM/ASTF to pinpoint functional regulatory polymorphisms influencing disease susceptibility.

Journal Article.  7522 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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