Publications by authors named "Roberta Andronikos"

5 Publications

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Association of maternal and nutrient supply line factors with DNA methylation at the imprinted IGF2/H19 locus in multiple tissues of newborn twins.

Epigenetics 2013 Oct 5;8(10):1069-79. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Department of Paediatrics; University of Melbourne; Parkville, VIC Australia; Early Life Epigenetics Group; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI); Royal Children's Hospital; Parkville, VIC Australia.

Epigenetic events are crucial for early development, but can be influenced by environmental factors, potentially programming the genome for later adverse health outcomes. The insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2)/H19 locus is crucial for prenatal growth and the epigenetic state at this locus is environmentally labile. Recent studies have implicated maternal factors, including folate intake and smoking, in the regulation of DNA methylation at this locus, although data are often conflicting in the direction and magnitude of effect. Most studies have focused on single tissues and on one or two differentially-methylated regions (DMRs) regulating IGF2/H19 expression. In this study, we investigated the relationship between multiple shared and non-shared gestational/maternal factors and DNA methylation at four IGF2/H19 DMRs in five newborn cell types from 67 pairs of monozygotic and 49 pairs of dizygotic twins. Data on maternal and non-shared supply line factors were collected during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and DNA methylation was measured via mass spectrometry using Sequenom MassArray EpiTyper analysis. Our exploratory approach showed that the site of umbilical cord insertion into the placenta in monochorionic twins has the strongest positive association with methylation in all IGF2/H19 DMRs (p<0.05). Further, evidence for tissue- and locus-specific effects were observed, emphasizing that responsiveness to environmental exposures in utero cannot be generalized across genes and tissues, potentially accounting for the lack of consistency in previous findings. Such complexity in responsiveness to environmental exposures in utero has implications for all epigenetic studies investigating the developmental origins of health and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/epi.25908DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3891688PMC
October 2013

Neonatal DNA methylation profile in human twins is specified by a complex interplay between intrauterine environmental and genetic factors, subject to tissue-specific influence.

Genome Res 2012 Aug 16;22(8):1395-406. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Bioinformatics Unit, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.

Comparison between groups of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins enables an estimation of the relative contribution of genetic and shared and nonshared environmental factors to phenotypic variability. Using DNA methylation profiling of ∼20,000 CpG sites as a phenotype, we have examined discordance levels in three neonatal tissues from 22 MZ and 12 DZ twin pairs. MZ twins exhibit a wide range of within-pair differences at birth, but show discordance levels generally lower than DZ pairs. Within-pair methylation discordance was lowest in CpG islands in all twins and increased as a function of distance from islands. Variance component decomposition analysis of DNA methylation in MZ and DZ pairs revealed a low mean heritability across all tissues, although a wide range of heritabilities was detected for specific genomic CpG sites. The largest component of variation was attributed to the combined effects of nonshared intrauterine environment and stochastic factors. Regression analysis of methylation on birth weight revealed a general association between methylation of genes involved in metabolism and biosynthesis, providing further support for epigenetic change in the previously described link between low birth weight and increasing risk for cardiovascular, metabolic, and other complex diseases. Finally, comparison of our data with that of several older twins revealed little evidence for genome-wide epigenetic drift with increasing age. This is the first study to analyze DNA methylation on a genome scale in twins at birth, further highlighting the importance of the intrauterine environment on shaping the neonatal epigenome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.136598.111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409253PMC
August 2012

Cohort profile: The peri/post-natal epigenetic twins study.

Int J Epidemiol 2012 Feb 3;41(1):55-61. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

Cancer and Disease Epigenetics Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyr140DOI Listing
February 2012

Expression discordance of monozygotic twins at birth: effect of intrauterine environment and a possible mechanism for fetal programming.

Epigenetics 2011 May 1;6(5):579-92. Epub 2011 May 1.

Bioinformatics Unit, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Within-pair comparison of monozygotic (MZ) twins provides an ideal model for studying factors that regulate epigenetic profile, by controlling for genetic variation. Previous reports have demonstrated epigenetic variability within MZ pairs, but the contribution of early life exposures to this variation remains unclear. As epigenetic marks govern gene expression, we have used gene expression discordance as a proxy measure of epigenetic discordance in MZ twins at birth in two cell types. We found strong evidence of expression discordance at birth in both cell types and some evidence for higher discordance in twin pairs with separate placentas. Genes previously defined as being involved in response to the external environment showed the most variable expression within pairs, independent of cell type, supporting the idea that even slight differences in intrauterine environment can influence expression profile. Focusing on birthweight, previously identified as a predisposing factor for cardiovascular, metabolic and other complex diseases, and using a statistical model that estimated association based on within-pair variation of expression and birthweight, we found some association between birthweight and expression of genes involved in metabolism and cardiovascular function. This study is the first to examine expression discordance in newborn twins. It provides evidence of a link between birthweight and activity of specific cellular pathways and, as evidence points to gene expression profiles being maintained through cell division by epigenetic factors, provides a plausible biological mechanism for the previously described link between low birthweight and increased risk of later complex disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/epi.6.5.15072DOI Listing
May 2011

DNA methylation analysis of multiple tissues from newborn twins reveals both genetic and intrauterine components to variation in the human neonatal epigenome.

Hum Mol Genet 2010 Nov 10;19(21):4176-88. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Developmental Epigenetics, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.

Mounting evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that the epigenome is in constant drift over the life course in response to stochastic and environmental factors. In humans, this has been highlighted by a small number of studies that have demonstrated discordant DNA methylation patterns in adolescent or adult monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs. However, to date, it remains unclear when such differences emerge, and how prevalent they are across different tissues. To address this, we examined the methylation of four differentially methylated regions associated with the IGF2/H19 locus in multiple birth tissues derived from 91 twin pairs: 56 MZ and 35 dizygotic (DZ). Tissues included cord blood-derived mononuclear cells and granulocytes, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, buccal epithelial cells and placental tissue. Considerable variation in DNA methylation was observed between tissues and between unrelated individuals. Most interestingly, methylation discordance was also present within twin pairs, with DZ pairs showing greater discordance than MZ pairs. These data highlight the variable contribution of both intrauterine environmental exposures and underlying genetic factors to the establishment of the neonatal epigenome of different tissues and confirm the intrauterine period as a sensitive time for the establishment of epigenetic variability in humans. This has implications for the effects of maternal environment on the development of the newborn epigenome and supports an epigenetic mechanism for the previously described phenomenon of 'fetal programming' of disease risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq336DOI Listing
November 2010