Sequential changes in genome-wide DNA methylation status during adipocyte differentiation

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Feb 8;366(2):360-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.11.137. Epub 2007 Dec 4.


DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark on the mammalian genome. There are numerous tissue-dependent and differentially methylated regions (T-DMRs) in the unique sequences distributed throughout the genome. To determine the epigenetic changes during adipocyte differentiation, we investigated the sequential changes in DNA methylation status of 3T3-L1 cells at the growing, confluent, postconfluent and mature adipocyte cell stages. Treatment of 3T3-L1 cells with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine inhibited differentiation in a stage-dependent manner, supporting the idea that formation of accurate DNA methylation profile, consisting of methylated and unmethylated T-DMRs, may be involved in differentiation. Analysis by methylation-sensitive quantitative real-time PCR of the 65 known T-DMRs which contain NotI sites detected 8 methylations that changed during differentiation, and the changes in the patterns of these methylations were diverse, confirming that the differentiation process involves epigenetic alteration at the T-DMRs. Intriguingly, the dynamics of the methylation change vary depending on the T-DMRs and differentiation stages. Restriction landmark genomic scanning detected 32 novel T-DMRs, demonstrating that differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells involves genome-wide epigenetic changes by temporal methylation/demethylation, in addition to maintenance of a static methylated/demethylated state, and both depend on differentiation stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipocytes / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Mice
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA