Determinants of orofacial clefting II: Effects of 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine on gene methylation during development of the first branchial arch

Seelan R.S. et al.

Defects in development of the secondary palate, which arise from the embryonic first branchial arch (1-BA), can cause cleft palate (CP). Administration of 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine (AzaD), a demethylating agent, to pregnant mice on gestational day 9.5 resulted in complete penetrance of CP in fetuses. Several genes critical for normal palatogenesis were found to be upregulated in 1-BA, 12 h after AzaD exposure. MethylCap-Seq (MCS) analysis identified several differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in DNA extracted from AzaD-exposed 1-BAs. Hypomethylated DMRs did not correlate with the upregulation of genes in AzaD-exposed 1-BAs. However, most DMRs were associated with endogenous retroviral elements. Expression analyses suggested that interferon signaling was activated in AzaD-exposed 1-BAs. Our data, thus, suggest that a 12-h in utero AzaD exposure demethylates and activates endogenous retroviral elements in the 1-BA, thereby triggering an interferon-mediated response. This may result in the dysregulation of key signaling pathways during palatogenesis, causing CP.


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January, 2017


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