Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of a cohort of 41 patients affected by oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum (OAVS)

Valentina Guida, Luciano Calzari, Maria Teresa Fadda, Francesca Piceci-Sparascio, Maria Cristina Digilio, Laura Bernardini, Francesco Brancati, Teresa Mattina, Daniela Melis, Francesca Forzano, Silvana Briuglia, Tommaso Mazza, Sebastiano Bianca, Enza Maria Valente, Leila Bagherjad Salehi, Paolo Prontera, Mario Pagnoni, Romano Tenconi, Bruno Dallapiccola, Giorgio IannettiLuigi Corsaro, Alessandro De Luca, Davide Gentilini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oculo-auriculo-vertebral-spectrum (OAVS; OMIM 164210) is a rare disorder originating from abnormal development of the first and second branchial arch. The clinical phenotype is extremely heterogeneous with ear anomalies, hemifacial microsomia, ocular defects, and vertebral malformations being the main features. MYT1, AMIGO2, and ZYG11B gene variants were reported in a few OAVS patients, but the etiology remains largely unknown. A multifactorial origin has been proposed, including the involvement of environmental and epigenetic mechanisms. To identify the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to OAVS, we evaluated the DNA-methylation profiles of 41 OAVS unrelated affected individuals by using a genome-wide microarray-based methylation approach. The analysis was first carried out comparing OAVS patients with controls at the group level. It revealed a moderate epigenetic variation in a large number of genes implicated in basic chromatin dynamics such as DNA packaging and protein-DNA organization. The alternative analysis in individual profiles based on the searching for Stochastic Epigenetic Variants (SEV) identified an increased number of SEVs in OAVS patients compared to controls. Although no recurrent deregulated enriched regions were found, isolated patients harboring suggestive epigenetic deregulations were identified. The recognition of a different DNA methylation pattern in the OAVS cohort and the identification of isolated patients with suggestive epigenetic variations provide consistent evidence for the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to the etiology of this complex and heterogeneous disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1190
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2021


  • DNA-methylation
  • Genome-wide
  • Infinium human methylation 450K beadChip
  • OAVS
  • Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum
  • Retinoic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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