Promoter-restricted histone code, not the differentially methylated DNA regions or antisense transcripts, marks the imprinting status of IGF2R in human and mouse

Hum Mol Genet. 2004 Oct 1;13(19):2233-45. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddh244. Epub 2004 Aug 4.


Imprinting of the mouse Igf2r depends upon an intronic differentially methylated DNA region (DMR) and the presence of the Air antisense transcript. However, biallelic expression of mouse Igf2r in brain occurs despite the presence of Air, and biallelic expression of human IGF2R in peripheral tissues occurs despite the presence of an intronic DMR. We examined histone modifications throughout the mouse and human Igf2r/IGF2R using chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP) assays in combination with quantitative real time PCR. Methylation of Lys4 and Lys9 of histone H3 in the promoter regions marks the active and silenced alleles, respectively. We measured di- and tri-methyl Lys4 and Lys9 across the Igf2r and Air promoters. While both di- and tri-methyl Lys4 marked the active Igf2r and the active Air allele, tri-methyl Lys9, but not di-methyl Lys9, marked the suppressed Air allele. We show here that enrichment of parental allele-specific histone modifications in the promoter region, rather than the presence of DNA methylation or antisense transcription, correctly identifies the tissue- and species- specific imprinting status of Igf2r/IGF2R. We discuss these findings in light of recent progress in identifying specific components of the epigenetic marks in imprinted genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Genomic Imprinting / physiology*
  • Histone Code*
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 2 / genetics*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA, Antisense
  • Histones
  • Receptor, IGF Type 2