Novel sex-dependent differentially methylated regions are demethylated in adult male mouse livers

Shuhei Ito, Keiji Hirabayashi, Kohji Moriishi, Yasuhisa Matsui, Kyoji Moriya, Kazuhiko Koike, Yoshiharu Matsuura, Kunio Shiota*, Shintaro Yagi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract In mammalian livers, sexual dimorphisms are observed in tissue-specific functions and diseases such as hepatocellular carcinoma. We identified sex-dependent differentially methylated regions (S-DMRs) which had been previously been characterized as growth hormone- STAT5 dependent. In this study, we performed genome-wide screening and identified ten additional hypomethylated S-DMR gene regions in male livers. Of these S-DMRs, Uggt2 and Sarnp were hypomethylated in both male and female livers compared to brain and embryonic stem (ES) cells. Similarly, Adam2, Uggt2, and Scp2 were hypomethylated in female embryonic germ (EG) cells and not in male EG cells, indicating that these S-DMRs are liver-specific male hypo-S-DMRs. Interestingly, the five S-DMRs were free from STAT5 chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) signals, suggesting that S-DMRs are independent of the growth hormone-STAT5-pathway. Instead, the DNA methylation statuses of the S-DMRs of Adam2, Snx29, Uggt2, Sarnp, and Rnpc3 genes were under the control of testosterone. Importantly, the hypomethylated S-DMRs of the Adam2 and Snx29 regions showed chromatin decondensation. Epigenetic factors could be responsible for the sexual dimorphisms in DNA methylation status and chromatin structure, as the expression of Dnmt1, Dnmt3b, and Tet2 genes was lower in male mice compared to female mice and TET2 expression recovered following orchidectomy by testosterone treatment. In conclusion, we identified novel male-specific hypomethylated S-DMRs that contribute to chromatin decondensation in the liver. S-DMRs were tissue-specific and the hypomethylation is testosterone-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33883
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 23
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • S-DMRs
  • STAT5
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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