Differential DNA methylation in iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons: a step forward on the role of SNORD116 microdeletion in the pathophysiology of addictive behavior in Prader-Willi syndrome

Salles J. et al.


A microdeletion including the SNORD116 gene (SNORD116 MD) has been shown to drive the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) features. PWS is a neurodevelopmental disorder clinically characterized by endocrine impairment, intellectual disability and psychiatric symptoms such as a lack of emotional regulation, impulsivity, and intense temper tantrums with outbursts. In addition, this syndrome is associated with a nutritional trajectory characterized by addiction-like behavior around food in adulthood. PWS is related to the genetic loss of expression of a minimal region that plays a potential role in epigenetic regulation. Nevertheless, the role of the SNORD116 MD in DNA methylation, as well as the impact of the oxytocin (OXT) on it, have never been investigated in human neurons.


We studied the methylation marks in induced pluripotent stem-derived dopaminergic neurons carrying a SNORD116 MD in comparison with those from an age-matched adult healthy control. We also performed identical neuron differentiation in the presence of OXT. We performed a genome-wide DNA methylation analysis from the iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons by reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing. In addition, we performed RNA sequencing analysis in these iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons differentiated with or without OXT.


The analysis revealed that 153,826 cytosines were differentially methylated between SNORD116 MD neurons and control neurons. Among the differentially methylated genes, we determined a list of genes also differentially expressed. Enrichment analysis of this list encompassed the dopaminergic system with COMT and SLC6A3. COMT displayed hypermethylation and under-expression in SNORD116 MD, and SLC6A3 displayed hypomethylation and over-expression in SNORD116 MD. RT-qPCR confirmed significant over-expression of SLC6A3 in SNORD116 MD neurons. Moreover, the expression of this gene was significantly decreased in the case of OXT adjunction during the differentiation.


SNORD116 MD dopaminergic neurons displayed differential methylation and expression in the COMT and SLC6A3 genes, which are related to dopaminergic clearance.

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April, 2024


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