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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of in vitro manipulation on the stability of methylation patterns in the Snurf/ Snrpn-imprinting region in mouse embryonic stem cells.

Recent work on embryonic stem (ES) cells showed that stem cell-derived tissues and embryos, cloned from ES cell nuclei, often fail to maintain epigenetic states of imprinted genes. This deregulation is frequently associated with in vitro manipulations and culture conditions which might affect the cells potential to develop into normal fetuses. Usually, epigenetic instability is reported in differentially methylated regions of mostly growth-related imprinted genes. However, little is known about the epigenetic stability of genes that function late in organogenesis. Hence, we set out to investigate the epigenetic stability of neuronal genes and analyzed DNA methylation patterns in the Snurf/ Snrpn imprinted cluster in several cultured mouse ES cell lines. We also determined the effects of in vitro stress factors such as consecutive passaging, trypsination, mechanical handling, single cell cloning, centrifugation, staurosporine-induced neurogenesis and the insertion of viral (foreign) DNA into the host genome. Intriguingly, none of these in vitro manipulations interfered with the stability of the methylation patterns in the analyzed neuronal genes. These data imply that, in contrast to growth-related genes like Igf2, H19, Igf2r or Grb10, the methylation imprints of the analyzed neuronal genes in the Snurf/ Snrpn cluster may be particularly stable in manipulated ES cells.[1]


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