Extensive tissue-specific variation of allelic methylation in the Igf2 gene during mouse fetal development: relation to expression and imprinting

Weber, M.; Milligan, L.; Delalbre, A.; Antoine, E.; Brunel, C.; Cathala, G.; Forne, T.

Mech Dev

2001-03 / vol 101 / pages 133-41


The imprinted Igf2 gene is active only on the paternal allele in most tissues. Its imprinting involves a cis-acting imprinting-control region (ICR) located upstream of the neighboring and maternally expressed H19 gene. It is thought that differential methylation of the parental alleles at the ICR is crucial for parental imprinting of both genes. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) have also been identified within the Igf2 gene and their differential methylation is thought to be established during early development. To gain further insight into the function of these DMRs, we performed a quantitative analysis of their allelic methylation levels in different tissues during fetal development and the postnatal period in the mouse. Surprisingly, we found that the methylation levels of Igf2 DMRs vary extensively during fetal development, mostly on the expressed paternal allele. In particular, in skeletal muscle, differential allelic methylation in both DMR 1 and DMR 2 occurs only after birth, whereas correct paternal monoallelic expression is always observed, including in the embryonic stages. This suggests that differential methylation in the DMR 1 and DMR 2 of the Igf2 gene is dispensable for its imprinting in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, progressive methylation of the Igf2 paternal allele appears to be correlated with concomitant postnatal down-regulation and silencing of the gene. We discuss possible relations between Igf2 allelic methylation and expression during fetal development.

Read on PubMed


Female; Animals; Mice; Male; Alleles; *Genomic Imprinting; Models, Genetic; Blotting, Southern; Methylation; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; Mice, Inbred C57BL; *DNA Methylation; Insulin-Like Growth Factor II/*genetics; Blotting, Northern; Time Factors; Tissue Distribution; RNA, Untranslated/genetics; Crosses, Genetic; Age Factors; Fathers; Mice, Inbred CBA; Mothers; Muscle, Skeletal/metabolism

Back to all publications