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Global and gene specific DNA methylation changes during zebrafish development

Fang, Xiefan, Corrales, Jone, Thornton, Cammi, Scheffler, Brian E., Willett, Kristine L.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 2013 v.166 pp. 99
DNA, DNA methylation, Danio rerio, adults, correlation, embryogenesis, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, glycine N-methyltransferase, larvae, liver, messenger RNA, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, telomerase
DNA methylation is dynamic through the life of an organism. Previous studies have primarily focused on DNA methylation changes during very early embryogenesis. In this study, global and gene specific DNA methylation in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos, larvae and adult livers were compared. The percent methylation of cytosines was low in 2 to 4.3h post fertilization (hpf) zebrafish embryos and was consistently higher in zebrafish older than 6 hpf. Furthermore, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) results showed relatively high DNA methyltransferase 1 (dnmt1) and low glycine N-methyltransferase (gnmt) mRNA expression in early embryogenesis. By studying methylation patterns and gene expression of five developmentally important genes, namely vasa, Ras-association domain family member 1 (rassf1), telomerase reverse transcriptase (tert), c-jun and c-myca, we found that the timing of changes in DNA methylation patterns was gene specific, and changes in gene expression were not necessarily correlated with the DNA methylation patterns.