CpG-island margins and non-island-CpG sites round the transcription start sites of CpG-island-positive and -negative genes are methylated to various degrees in a tissue-specific manner. These methylation-variable CpG sites were analyzed to delineate a relationship between the methylation and transcription of the tissue-specific genes. The level of tissue-specific transcription was estimated by counting the number of the total transcripts in the SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) database. The methylation status of 12 CpG-island margins and 21 non-island CpG sites near the key tissue-specific genes was examined in pluripotent stromal cells obtained from fat and bone marrow samples as well as in lineage-committed cells from marrow bulk, stomach, colon, breast, and thyroid samples. Of the 33 CpG sites examined, 10 non-island-CpG sites, but none of the CpG-island margins were undermethylated concurrent with tissue-specific expression of their nearby genes. The net methylation of the 33 CpG sites and the net amount of non-island-CpG gene transcripts were high in stomach tissues and low in stromal cells. The present findings suggest that the methylation of the non-island-CpG sites is inversely associated with the expression of the nearby genes, and the concert effect of transitional-CpG methylation is linearly associated with the stomach-specific genes lacking CpG-islands.
Keywords: CpG Islands; DNA Methylation; Stem Cells; Stomach; Tissue-Specific Gene.