Cyclical DNA methyltransferase 3a expression is a seasonal and estrus timer in reproductive tissues

Lynch, E. W.J., Coyle, C. S., Lorgen, M., Campbell, E. M., Bowman, A. S. and Stevenson, T. J. (2016) Cyclical DNA methyltransferase 3a expression is a seasonal and estrus timer in reproductive tissues. Endocrinology, 157(6), pp. 2469-2478. (doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1988) (PMID:27105384)

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Abstract

It is becoming clear that epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation can be dynamic and, in many cases, reversible. Here we investigated the photoperiod and hormone regulation of DNA methylation in testes, ovaries, and uterine tissue across multiple time scales. We hypothesized that DNA methyltransferase 3a (dnmt3a) is driven by photoperiodic treatment and exhibits natural variation across the female reproductive cycle and that melatonin increases whereas estrogen reduces DNA methylation. We used Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) due to their robust changes in reproductive physiology across seasonal and estrus time scales. Our findings indicate that short-day (SD) winter-like conditions significantly increased global DNA methylation and dnmt3a expression in the testes. Using immunohistochemistry, we confirm that increased dnmt3a expression was primarily localized to spermatogonium. Conversely, the ovaries did not exhibit variation in DNA methylation or dnmt3a/3b expression. However, exposure to SD significantly increased uterine dnmt3a expression. We then determined that dnmt3a was significantly decreased during the estrus stage. Next, we ovariectomized females and subsequently identified that a single estrogen+progesterone injection was sufficient to rapidly inhibit dnmt3a and dnmt3b expression. Finally, we demonstrate that treatment of human embryonic kidney-293 cells with melatonin significantly increased both dnmt3a and dnmt3b expression, suggesting that long-duration nocturnal signaling in SD may be involved in the regulation of DNA methylation in both sexes. Overall, our data indicate that dnmt3a shows marked photoperiod and estrus plasticity that likely has broad downstream effects on the timing of the genomic control of reproductive function.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the University of Aberdeen College of Life Sciences and Medicine grant (to T.J.S.). E.W.J.L. was supported by a Society for Reproduction and Fertility undergraduate scholarship.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stevenson, Dr Tyler
Authors: Lynch, E. W.J., Coyle, C. S., Lorgen, M., Campbell, E. M., Bowman, A. S., and Stevenson, T. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Endocrinology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0013-7227
ISSN (Online):1945-7170
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 the Endocrine Society
First Published:First published in Endocrinology 157(6): 2469-2478
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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