Aberrant expression of TIMP-2 and PBEF genes in the placentae of cloned mice due to epigenetic reprogramming error

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Abstract

Cloned mice derived from somatic or ES cells show placental overgrowth (placentomegaly) at term. We had previously analyzed cloned and normal mouse placentae by using twodimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to identify differential protein expression patterns. Cloned placentae showed upregulation of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase- 2 (TIMP-2), which is involved in extracellular matrix degradation and tissue remodeling, and downregulation of pre-B cell colony enhancing factor 1 (PBEF), which inhibits apoptosis and induces spontaneous labor. Here, we used Western blotting to further analyze the protein expression levels of TIMP-2 and PBEF in cloned placentae derived from cumulus cells, TSA-treated cumulus cells, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and natural mating (NM control). Cloned and TSA-treated cloned placentae had higher expression levels of TIMP-2 compared with NM control and ICSI-derived placentae, and there was a positive association between TIMP-2 expression and the placental weight of cloned mouse concepti. Conversely, PBEF protein expression was significantly lower in cloned and ICSI placentae compared to NM controls. To examine whether the observed differences were due to abnormal gene expression caused by faulty epigenetic reprogramming in clones, we investigated DNA methylation and histone modification in the promoter regions of the genes encoding TIMP-2 and PBEF. Sodium bisulfite sequencing did not reveal any difference in DNA methylation between cloned and NM control placentae. However, ChIP assays revealed that the level of H3-K9/K14 acetylation at the TIMP-2 locus was higher in cloned placentae than in NM controls, whereas acetylation of the PBEF promoter was lower in cloned and ICSI placenta versus NM controls. These results suggest that cloned placentae appear to suffer from failure of histone modification-based reprogramming in these (and potentially other) developmentally important genes, leading to aberrant expression of their protein products. These changes are likely to be involved in generating the abnormalities seen in cloned mouse placentae, including enlargement and/or a lack of proper placental function.

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Kim, H. R., Lee, J. E., Oqani, R. K., Kim, S. Y., Wakayama, T., Li, C., … Jin, D. I. (2016). Aberrant expression of TIMP-2 and PBEF genes in the placentae of cloned mice due to epigenetic reprogramming error. PLoS ONE, 11(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166241

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