Human Oocyte-Derived Methylation Differences Persist in the Placenta Revealing Widespread Transient Imprinting

Sanchez-Delgado, M, Court, F, Vidal, E, Medrano, J, Monteagudo-Sanchez, A, Martin-Trujillo, A, Tayama, C, Iglesias-Platas, I, Kondova, I, Bontrop, R, Poo-Llanillo, M E, Marques-Bonet, T, Nakabayashi, K, Simon, C, Monk, D,
PLoS Genet. Nov. 2016 doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006427


Thousands of regions in gametes have opposing methylation profiles that are largely resolved during the post-fertilization epigenetic reprogramming. However some specific sequences associated with imprinted loci survive this demethylation process. Here we present the data describing the fate of germline-derived methylation in humans. With the exception of a few known paternally methylated germline differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated with known imprinted domains, we demonstrate that sperm-derived methylation is reprogrammed by the blastocyst stage of development. In contrast a large number of oocyte-derived methylation differences survive to the blastocyst stage and uniquely persist as transiently methylated DMRs only in the placenta. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this phenomenon is exclusive to primates, since no placenta-specific maternal methylation was observed in mouse. Utilizing single cell RNA-seq datasets from human preimplantation embryos we show that following embryonic genome activation the maternally methylated transient DMRs can orchestrate imprinted expression. However despite showing widespread imprinted expression of genes in placenta, allele-specific transcriptional profiling revealed that not all placenta-specific DMRs coordinate imprinted expression and that this maternal methylation may be absent in a minority of samples, suggestive of polymorphic imprinted methylation.