Kudo M, Ikeda S, Sugimoto M, Kume S
The involvement of specific nutrients in epigenetic gene regulation is a possible mechanism underlying nutrition-directed phenotypic alteration. However, the involvement of nutrients in gene-specific epigenetic regulation remains poorly understood. Methionine has been received attention as a possible nutrient involved in epigenetic modifications, as it is a precursor of the universal methyl donor for epigenetic methylation of DNA and histones. In the present study, the disruption of methionine metabolism by ethionine, an antimetabolite of methionine, induced abnormally higher expression of genes related to cell lineage differentiation and resulted in impaired blastocyst development of mouse preimplantation embryos in vitro. These effects were mitigated by the presence of methionine. Importantly, ethionine treatment induced lower trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 but did not affect methylation of DNA in the promoter regions of the examined genes. These results demonstrated that intact methionine metabolism is required for proper epigenetic histone modifications and normal expression of developmentally important genes during preimplantation development.