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Title: Variably methylated retrotransposons are refractory to a range of environmental perturbations.

Authors: Bertozzi, Tessa M; Becker, Jessica L; Blake, Georgina E T; Bansal, Amita; Nguyen, Duy K; Fernandez-Twinn, Denise S; Ozanne, Susan E; Bartolomei, Marisa S; Simmons, Rebecca A; Watson, Erica D; Ferguson-Smith, Anne C

Published In Nat Genet, (2021 Aug)

Abstract: The agouti viable yellow (Avy) allele is an insertional mutation in the mouse genome caused by a variably methylated intracisternal A particle (VM-IAP) retrotransposon. Avy expressivity is sensitive to a range of early-life chemical exposures and nutritional interventions, suggesting that environmental perturbations can have long-lasting effects on the methylome. However, the extent to which VM-IAP elements are environmentally labile with phenotypic implications is unknown. Using a recently identified repertoire of VM-IAPs, we assessed the epigenetic effects of different environmental contexts. A longitudinal aging analysis indicated that VM-IAPs are stable across the murine lifespan, with only small increases in DNA methylation detected for a subset of loci. No significant effects were observed after maternal exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A, an obesogenic diet or methyl donor supplementation. A genetic mouse model of abnormal folate metabolism exhibited shifted VM-IAP methylation levels and altered VM-IAP-associated gene expression, yet these effects are likely largely driven by differential targeting by polymorphic KRAB zinc finger proteins. We conclude that epigenetic variability at retrotransposons is not predictive of environmental susceptibility.

PubMed ID: 34326545 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Animals; Benzhydryl Compounds/toxicity; DNA Methylation*/drug effects; Diet/adverse effects; Endocrine Disruptors/toxicity*; Epigenesis, Genetic; Female; Ferredoxin-NADP Reductase/genetics; Folic Acid Deficiency/genetics; Folic Acid/genetics; Folic Acid/metabolism; Gene Expression Regulation; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, Mutant Strains; Mutation; Obesity/etiology; Obesity/genetics*; Phenols/toxicity; Pregnancy; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects; Retroelements*

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