Choline deficiency alters global histone methylation and epigenetic marking at the Re1 site of the calbindin 1 gene

FASEB J. 2010 Jan;24(1):184-95. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-140145. Epub 2009 Sep 14.


Maternal choline availability is essential for fetal neurogenesis. Choline deprivation (CD) causes hypomethylation of specific CpG islands in genes controlling cell cycling in fetal hippocampus. We now report that, in C57BL/6 mice, CD during gestational days 12-17 also altered methylation of the histone H3 in E17 fetal hippocampi. In the ventricular and subventricular zones, monomethyl-lysine 9 of H3 (H3K9me1) was decreased by 25% (P<0.01), and in the pyramidal layer, dimethyl-lysine 9 of H3 (H3K9me2) was decreased by 37% (P<0.05). These changes were region specific and were not observed in whole-brain preparations. Also, the same effects of CD on H3 methylation were observed in E14 neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in culture. Changes in G9a histone methyltransferase might mediate altered H3K9me2,1. Gene expression of G9a was decreased by 80% in CD NPCs (P<0.001). In CD, H3 was hypomethylated upstream of the RE1 binding site in the calbindin 1 promoter, and 1 CpG site within the calbindin1 promoter was hypermethylated. REST binding to RE1 (recruits G9a) was decreased by 45% (P<0.01) in CD. These changes resulted in increased expression of calbindin 1 in CD (260%; P<0.05). Thus, CD modulates histone methylation in NPCs, and this could underlie the observed changes in neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindins
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Choline Deficiency / genetics*
  • Choline Deficiency / metabolism*
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / embryology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological
  • Pregnancy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / genetics*
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism


  • Calb1 protein, mouse
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindins
  • Histones
  • RE1-silencing transcription factor
  • Repressor Proteins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • DNA
  • G9a protein, mouse
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase