Extracellular cues play critical roles in the establishment of the epigenome during development and may also contribute to epigenetic perturbations found in disease states. The direct role of the local tissue environment on the post-development human epigenome, however, remains unclear due to limitations in studies of human subjects. Here, we use an isogenic human ileal neobladder surgical model and compare global DNA methylation levels of intestinal epithelial cells pre- and post-neobladder construction using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Our study is the first to quantify the effect of environmental cues on the human epigenome and show that the local tissue environment directly modulates DNA methylation patterns in normal differentiated cells in vivo. In the neobladder, the intestinal epithelial cells lose their tissue-specific epigenetic landscape in a time-dependent manner following the tissue's exposure to a bladder environment. We find that de novo methylation of many intestine-specific enhancers occurs at the rate of 0.41% per month (P < 0.01, Pearson = 0.71), while demethylation of primarily non-intestine-specific transcribed regions occurs at the rate of -0.37% per month (P < 0.01, Pearson = -0.57). The dynamic resetting of the DNA methylome in the neobladder not only implicates local environmental cues in the shaping and maintenance of the epigenome but also illustrates an unexpected cross-talk between the epigenome and the cellular environment.
View details for DOI 10.1101/gr.166439.113
View details for Web of Science ID 000334055600002
View details for PubMedID 24515120
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3975055