Distribution and dynamics of mitochondrial DNA methylation in oocytes, embryos and granulosa cells.

  • Publication date : 2019-08-15


Sirard MA. Distribution and dynamics of mitochondrial DNA methylation in oocytes, embryos and granulosa cells. Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 15;9(1):11937. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48422-8.

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Comparison of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) methylation patterns in oocytes, blastocysts and ovarian granulosa cells indicates hitherto unsuspected dynamics. Oocytes and blastocysts recovered from cows subjected to ovarian stimulation and from non-stimulated abattoir ovaries were analyzed using bisulphite transformation of DNA followed by whole genome sequencing. The cow is a recognized as a good model for human oocyte and pre-implantation development. The number of mtDNA copies is high in oocytes (200,000-400,000) and early embryos, resulting in very high coverage (>3000x) and very low p values for each of 716 cytosine-based nucleosides. Methylation ratio was lowest in oocytes, following by blastocysts then granulosa cells and was not restricted to CG sites but was found also at CHG and CHH sites. The initial methylation pattern is conserved during the first week of life but not in somatic cells. RNA analysis of mitochondria encoded genes showed a significant inverse correlation between methylation and expression for almost all sequences. Methylation was more extensive in somatic tissues from mature animals than in immature pre-pubertal animals. Our findings suggest that mtDNA methylation might play a programming role during gametogenesis and would be subject to epigenetic regulation according to environment and/or maternal maturity.