Variability in Global DNA Methylation Rate Across Tissues and Over Time in Sheep.

TitleVariability in Global DNA Methylation Rate Across Tissues and Over Time in Sheep.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsDrouilhet, L, Moreno, C, Plisson-Petit, F, Marcon, D, Fabre, S, Hazard, D
JournalFront Genet
Date Published2022

Recent studies highlighted the influence of epigenetic marks in the variability of many complex traits, both in plants and animals. These studied focused only on specific sites of the genome having differentially methylated profiles among individuals and/or tissues. In contrast, we recently used the methylation rate of the entire genome as a unique measure considered as a novel quantitative phenotype in sheep. This phenotype named global DNA methylation rate (GDMR), measured by luminometric assay, integrates the methylation level of each CpG dinucleotide within the 6 million of CCGG sites along the ovine genome. GDMR measured in blood previously showed moderate heritability of 0.20 and provided evidence for a genetic determinism. The main objective of the present study was to better characterize the GDMR phenotype in various tissues and investigate its variability in several breeds of sheep reared in the same environment. GDMR was measured on blood samples collected monthly from 59 growing male and female lambs (24 Romane, 23 Blackbelly and 12 Charollais), between birth and 4 months of age. Blood GDMR was on average around 80% and was influenced by the sampling date ( < 0.001), the breed ( = 0.002) and the sex ( = 0.002). In addition, GDMR was determined in 12 somatic (frontal lobe, pituitary gland, heart, lung, sub cutaneous and perirenal adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, liver, spleen, adrenal gland, medulla and cortical kidney) and 6 reproductive tissues (ovary, oviduct, uterus, testis, epididymis and seminal vesicle). GDMR was on average 70% in somatic tissues but marked variation was observed depending on the tissue. The GDMR measured in blood was higher than that measured in other somatic tissues, and is not a good proxy of less accessible tissues. Female reproductive tissues had a 10% higher GDMR than male reproductive tissues. We demonstrated a significant influence of the breed on blood GDMR, certainly reflecting the influence of different genetic backgrounds. The effect of the breed on GDMR may be related to their specific abilities to adapt to and live in different conditions.

Alternate JournalFront Genet
PubMed ID35360841
PubMed Central IDPMC8961874