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Thyroid hormone induces DNA demethylation in Xenopus tadpole brain


Denver, Robert et al. (2021), Thyroid hormone induces DNA demethylation in Xenopus tadpole brain, Dryad, Dataset,


Thyroid hormone (T3) plays pivotal roles in vertebrate development, acting via nuclear receptors (TRs) that regulate gene transcription by promoting posttranslational modifications to histones. Methylation of cytosine residues in DNA also modulates gene transcription, and our recent finding of predominant DNA demethylation in the brain of Xenopus tadpoles at metamorphosis, a T3-dependent developmental process, caused us to hypothesize that T3 induces these changes in vivo. Treatment of pre-metamorphic tadpoles with T3 for 24 or 48 hr increased immunoreactivity in several brain regions for the DNA demethylation intermediates 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) and 5-carboxylcytosine, and the methylcytosine dioxygenase ten-eleven translocation 3 (TET3). Thyroid hormone treatment induced locus-specific DNA demethylation in proximity to known T3 response elements within the DNA methyltransferase 3a and Krüppel-like factor 9 genes, analyzed by 5-hmC immunoprecipitation and methylation sensitive restriction enzyme digest. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that T3 induced TET3 recruitment to these loci. Furthermore, the mRNAs for several genes encoding DNA demethylation enzymes were induced by T3 in a time-dependent manner in tadpole brain. A TR ChIP-sequencing experiment identified putative TR binding sites at several of these genes, and we provide multiple lines of evidence to support that tet2 contains a bona fide T3 response element. Our findings show that T3 can promote DNA demethylation in developing tadpole brain, in part by promoting TET3 recruitment to discrete genomic regions, and by inducing genes that encode DNA demethylation enzymes.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS 1456115

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Award: NS07329401