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  • Author: Alexander M Gzgzyan x
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Olga A Efimova, Anna A Pendina, Andrei V Tikhonov, Irina D Fedorova, Mikhail I Krapivin, Olga G Chiryaeva, Evgeniia M Shilnikova, Mariia A Bogdanova, Igor Yu Kogan, Tatyana V Kuznetzova, Alexander M Gzgzyan, Edward K Ailamazyan and Vladislav S Baranov

We report the sequential changes in 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) patterns in the genome of human preimplantation embryos during DNA methylation reprogramming. We have studied chromosome hydroxymethylation and methylation patterns in triploid zygotes and blastomeres of cleavage-stage embryos. Using indirect immunofluorescence, we have analyzed the localization of 5hmC and its co-distribution with 5-methylcytosine (5mC) on the QFH-banded metaphase chromosomes. In zygotes, 5hmC accumulates in both parental chromosome sets, but hydroxymethylation is more intensive in the poorly methylated paternal set. In the maternal set, chromosomes are highly methylated, but contain little 5hmC. Hydroxymethylation is highly region specific in both parental chromosome sets: hydroxymethylated loci correspond to R-bands, but not G-bands, and have well-defined borders, which coincide with the R/G-band boundaries. The centromeric regions and heterochromatin at 1q12, 9q12, 16q11.2, and Yq12 contain little 5mC and no 5hmC. We hypothesize that 5hmC may mark structural/functional genome ‘units’ corresponding to chromosome bands in the newly formed zygotic genome. In addition, we suggest that the hydroxymethylation of R-bands in zygotes can be treated as a new characteristic distinguishing them from G-bands. At cleavages, chromosomes with asymmetrical hydroxymethylation of sister chromatids appear. They decrease in number during cleavages, whereas totally non-hydroxymethylated chromosomes become numerous. Taken together, our findings suggest that, in the zygotic genome, 5hmC is distributed selectively and its pattern is determined by both parental origin of chromosomes and type of chromosome bands – R, G, or C. At cleavages, chromosome hydroxymethylation pattern is dynamically changed due to passive and non-selective overall loss of 5hmC, which coincides with that of 5mC.