The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 42: 687 - 693 (1998)

Vol 42, Issue 5

Developmental-dependent DNA methylation of the IGF2 and H19 promoters is correlated to the promoter activities in human liver development

Published: 1 July 1998

X Li, S G Gray, F Flam, T Pietsch and T J Ekström

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


We have previously shown that the four promoters of the IGF2 gene are under a tight but dynamic control during human liver development, whereby P3 and P1 are reciprocally active before and after birth respectively while the P2 and P4 promoters are constitutively active at a relatively lower level. In this study, we investigated the methylation status of the promoters P1 and P3 of IGF2 and the promoter region of the H19 gene in developing human livers ranging from fetal to late adult. A region of about 300 bp immediately upstream of the IGF2 exon 5 was found to be subjected to a developmental-specific methylation and this may correlate to the P3 promoter activity. The P1 domain of IGF2 was also found to be methylated in a developmentally-specific pattern. The promoter region of the H19 gene displayed different methylation patterns in different development stages showing decreased general methylation with increase of age. Therefore, regional- and developmental-specific DNA methylation is displayed in the promoter regions of the IGF2 and H19 genes. This may be an important factor involved in gene regulation in the developing human liver.

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