Liver and brain differential expression of one-carbon metabolism genes during ontogenesis

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 26;11(1):21132. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-00311-9.


One-carbon metabolism (1C metabolism) is of paramount importance for cell metabolism and mammalian development. It is involved in the synthesis or modification of a wide variety of compounds such as proteins, lipids, purines, nucleic acids and neurotransmitters. We describe here the evolution of expression of genes related to 1C metabolism during liver and brain ontogeny in mouse. The level of expression of 30 genes involved in 1C metabolism was quantified by RT-qPCR in liver and brain tissues of OF1 mice at E9, E11, E13, E15, E17, P0, P3, P5, P10, P15 developmental stages and in adults. In the liver, hierarchical clustering of the gene expression patterns revealed five distinct clades of genes with a first bifurcating hierarchy distinguishing two main developmental stages before and after E15. In the brain most of the 1C metabolism genes are expressed but at a lower levels. The gene expression of enzymes involved in 1C metabolism show dramatic changes during development that are tissue specific. mRNA expression patterns of all major genes involved in 1C metabolism in liver and brain provide clues about the methylation demand and methylation pathways during embryonic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy


  • Carbon