Tissue-specific DNA methylation of the human prodynorphin gene in post-mortem brain tissues and PBMCs

TitleTissue-specific DNA methylation of the human prodynorphin gene in post-mortem brain tissues and PBMCs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsYuferov, V, Nielsen, DA, Levran, O, Randesi, M, Hamon, S, Ho, A, Morgello, S, Kreek, MJ
JournalPharmacogenetics and Genomics
Date Published2010

OBJECTIVE: Dynorphins, the endogenous ligands for the kappa opioid receptor, are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders through modulation of basal and stimuli-induced dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and serotonergic tones. Expression of the prodynorphin gene (PDYN) is critical for rewarding properties of drugs of abuse and stress-induced responses. Epigenetic factors, such as DNA methylation, play an important role in modulation of gene expression. METHODS: We analyzed DNA methylation patterns of three CpG-rich regions of PDYN, a CpG island, and cluster A in the proximal promoter, and cluster B in coding exon 4, by bisulfite sequencing of DNA from the caudate and anterior cingulate cortex from post-mortem brain of 35 individuals (22 HIV seropositive), and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 21 of these individuals. RESULTS: We found remarkably similar patterns of methylation across CpG sites in these tissues. However, there were tissue-specific differences in methylation levels (P=0.000001) of the CpG island: higher levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (82%) than in the brain tissues, the caudate (62%), and the anterior cingulate cortex (44%). But there was higher PDYN expression in the caudate than in the anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, cluster A near the transcription start site is hypomethylated. CONCLUSION: This DNA methylation profile of the PDYN gene is typical for primary responsive genes with regulatory elements for both basal and tissue-specific transcription. Our findings provide a rationale for further studies of the role of other epigenetic factors in the regulation of PDYN expression in individuals with psychiatric and neurological disorders.