Background: Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a progeroid disease characterized by the early onset of age-related phenotypes including arthritis, loss of body fat and hair, and atherosclerosis. Cells from affected individuals express a mutant version of the nuclear envelope protein lamin A (termed progerin) and have previously been shown to exhibit prominent histone modification changes.
Methods: Here, we analyze the possibility that epigenetic deregulation of lamina-associated domains (LADs) is involved in the molecular pathology of HGPS. To do so, we studied chromatin accessibility (Assay for Transposase-accessible Chromatin (ATAC)-see/-seq), DNA methylation profiles (Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChips), and transcriptomes (RNA-seq) of nine primary HGPS fibroblast cell lines and six additional controls, two parental and four age-matched healthy fibroblast cell lines.
Results: Our ATAC-see/-seq data demonstrate that primary dermal fibroblasts from HGPS patients exhibit chromatin accessibility changes that are enriched in LADs. Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip profiling further reveals that DNA methylation alterations observed in HGPS fibroblasts are similarly enriched in LADs and different from those occurring during healthy aging and Werner syndrome (WS), another premature aging disease. Moreover, HGPS patients can be stratified into two different subgroups according to their DNA methylation profiles. Finally, we show that the epigenetic deregulation of LADs is associated with HGPS-specific gene expression changes.
Conclusions: Taken together, our results strongly implicate epigenetic deregulation of LADs as an important and previously unrecognized feature of HGPS, which contributes to disease-specific gene expression. Therefore, they not only add a new layer to the study of epigenetic changes in the progeroid syndrome, but also advance our understanding of the disease's pathology at the cellular level.
Keywords: Aging; Chromatin accessibility; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome; Lamina-associated domains (LADs).