DNA methylation in transcriptional repression of two differentially expressed X-linked genes, GPC3 and SYBL1

Reid Huber, R. Scott Hansen, Maria Strazzullo, Gina Pengue, Richard Mazzarella, Michele D'Urso, David Schlessinger, Giuseppe Pilia, Stanley M. Gartler, Maurizio D'Esposito

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Methylation of CpG islands is an established transcriptional repressive mechanism and is a feature of silencing in X chromosome inactivation. Housekeeping genes that are subject to X inactivation exhibit differential methylation of their CpG islands such that the inactive alleles are hypermethylated. In this report, we examine two contrasting X-linked genes with CpG islands for regulation by DNA methylation: SYBL1, a housekeeping gene in the Xq pseudoautosomal region, and GPC3, a tissue-specific gene in Xq26 that is implicated in the etiology of the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel overgrowth syndrome. We observed that in vitro methylation of either the SYBL1 or the GPC3 promoter resulted in repression of reporter constructs. In normal contexts, we found that both the Y and inactive X alleles of SYBL1 are repressed and hypermethylated, whereas the active X allele is expressed and unmethylated. Furthermore, the Y and inactive X alleles of SYBL1 were derepressed by treatment with the demethylating agent azadeoxycytidine. GPC3 is also subject to X inactivation, and the active X allele is unmethylated in nonexpressing leukocytes as well as in an expressing cell line, suggesting that methylation is not involved in the tissue-specific repression of this allele. The inactive X allele, however, is hypermethylated in leukocytes, presumably reflecting early X inactivation events that become important for gene dosage in expressing lineages. These and other data suggest that all CpG islands on Xq, including the pseudoautosomal region, are subject to X inactivation-induced methylation. Additionally, methylation of SYBL1 on Yq may derive from a process related to X inactivation that targets large chromatin domains for transcriptional repression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-621
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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