WN Cooper, M Constância
Journal name: 
Brief Funct Genomics
Citation info: 
Genomic imprinting is the differential expression of genes according to their transmitting parent and is achieved by labelling of the two alleles with different epigenetic marks. The majority of described imprinted genes are present in clusters with coordinate regulation. Multiple mechanisms are known to regulate this differential expression, including repression of one allele by the action of cis-acting macro non-coding RNAs, insulator elements, allele specific histone modifications and DNA methylation. A hallmark of all imprinted regions described so far is the presence of one or more differentially methylated regions (DMRs). A DMR is a nucleotide sequence rich in CpG dinucleotides that is specifically methylated on one parental chromosome and unmethylated on the allele derived from the other parent. This parent-specific differential methylation may be imparted during spermatogenesis or oogenesis (as is the case for gametic DMRs) or may be acquired during embryogenesis (somatic DMRs). This review will describe the advantages and disadvantages of some of the techniques that can be used to compare epigenetic marks between parental chromosomes and to understand how these marks affect the 3D interactions and monoallelic expression at imprinted loci. Recent advances in sequencing technologies, in particular, provide exciting new opportunities to study imprinting. These analyses are likely to lead to the full characterization of the 'imprintome', which includes uncovering the totality of imprinted genes within a genome, their epigenetic landscape and unique features that render them resistant to epigenetic reprogramming in the early embryo.
E-pub date: 
31 Jul 2010