Department of Molecular and Cell Genetics; Tottori University
Human chromosome 11p15.5 harbors an intriguing imprinted gene cluster of 1 Mb. This imprinted domain is implicated in a wide variety of malignancies and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS). Recently, several lines of evidence have suggested that the BWS-associated imprinting cluster consists of separate chromosomal domains. We have previously identified LIT1, a paternally expressed antisense RNA within the KvLQT1 locus through a positional screening approach using human monochromosomal. hybrids. KvLQT1 encompasses the translocation breakpoint cluster in BWS and patients exhibit frequent loss of maternal methylation at the LIT1 CpG island, implying a regulatory role for the LIT1 locus in coordinate control of the imprinting cluster. Here we generated modified human chromosomes carrying a targeted deletion of the LIT1 CpG island using recombination-proficient chicken DT40 cells. Consistent with the prediction, this mutation abolished LIT1 expression on the paternal chromosome, accompanied by activation of the normally silent paternal alleles of multiple imprinted loci at the centromeric domain including KvLQT1 and p57KIP2. The deletion had no effect on imprinting of H19 located at the telomeric end of the cluster. Our findings demonstrate that the LIT1 CpG island can act as a negative regulator in cis for coordinate imprinting at the centromeric domain, thereby suggesting a role for the LIT1 locus in a BWS pathway leading to functional inactivation of p57KIP2. Thus, the targeting and precise modification of human chromosomal alleles using the DT40 cell shuttle system can be used to define regulatory elements that confer long-range control of gene activity within chromosomal domains.