Defining differentially methylated regions specific for the acquisition of pluripotency and maintenance in human pluripotent stem cells via microarray

WenYin He, XiangJin Kang, HongZi Du, Bing Song, ZhenYu Lu, Yuling Huang, Ding Wang, Xiaofang Sun, Yang Yu, Yong Fan
PloS One 2014, 9 (9): e108350

BACKGROUND: Epigenetic regulation is critical for the maintenance of human pluripotent stem cells. It has been shown that pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, appear to have a hypermethylated status compared with differentiated cells. However, the epigenetic differences in genes that maintain stemness and regulate reprogramming between embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells remain unclear. Additionally, differential methylation patterns of induced pluripotent stem cells generated using diverse methods require further study.

METHODOLOGY: Here, we determined the DNA methylation profiles of 10 human cell lines, including 2 ESC lines, 4 virally derived iPSC lines, 2 episomally derived iPSC lines, and the 2 parental cell lines from which the iPSCs were derived using Illumina's Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. The iPSCs exhibited a hypermethylation status similar to that of ESCs but with distinct differences from the parental cells. Genes with a common methylation pattern between iPSCs and ESCs were classified as critical factors for stemness, whereas differences between iPSCs and ESCs suggested that iPSCs partly retained the parental characteristics and gained de novo methylation aberrances during cellular reprogramming. No significant differences were identified between virally and episomally derived iPSCs. This study determined in detail the de novo differential methylation signatures of particular stem cell lines.

CONCLUSIONS: This study describes the DNA methylation profiles of human iPSCs generated using both viral and episomal methods, the corresponding somatic cells, and hESCs. Series of ss-DMRs and ES-iPS-DMRs were defined with high resolution. Knowledge of this type of epigenetic information could be used as a signature for stemness and self-renewal and provides a potential method for selecting optimal pluripotent stem cells for human regenerative medicine.

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