WGBS combined with RNA-seq analysis revealed that Dnmt1 affects the methylation modification and gene expression changes during mouse oocyte vitrification

Theriogenology. 2022 Jan 1;177:11-21. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.09.032. Epub 2021 Oct 1.


Understanding the molecular level changes of oocyte cryopreservation and the subsequent warming process is essential for improving the oocyte cryopreservation technologies. Here, we collected the mature metaphase II (MII) oocytes from mice and vitrified. After thawing, single-cell whole-genome bisulphite sequencing (scWGBS) and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) were used to investigate the molecular attributes of this process. Compared to the fresh oocytes, the vitrified oocytes had lower global methylation and gene expression levels, and 1426 genes up-regulated and 3321 genes down-regulated. The 1426 up-regulated differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the vitrified oocytes were mainly associated with the histone ubiquitination, while the 3321 down-regulated genes were mainly enriched in the mitochondrion organisation and ATP metabolism processes. The differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were mainly located in promoter, intron and exon region of genes, and the length of DMRs in the vitrified oocytes were also significantly lower than that of the fresh oocytes. Notably, there were no significant difference in the expression levels of DNA demethylases (Tet1, Tet2 and Tet3) and methyltransferases (Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b) between two treatments of oocytes. However, Dnmt1 and kcnq1ot1, which are responsible for maintaining DNA methylation, were significantly down regulated in the vitrified oocytes. Gene regulatory network (GRN) analysis showed the Dnmt1 and kcnq1ot1 play a core role in regulating methylation and expression levels of downstream genes. Moreover, some genes associated with oocyte quality were significantly down-regulated in the vitrified oocytes. The present data provides a new perspective for understanding the impact of vitrification on oocytes.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Developmental ability; Fertilization potential; Gene expression; Gene regulatory network; Oocyte cryopreservation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation / veterinary
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene Expression
  • Mice
  • Oocytes* / metabolism
  • RNA-Seq / veterinary
  • Vitrification*