Rare variants enriched for functions in chromatin regulation and neuronal synapses have been linked to autism. How chromatin and DNA methylation interact with environmental exposures at synaptic genes in autism etiologies is currently unclear. Using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing in brain tissue and a neuronal cell culture model carrying a 15q11.2-q13.3 maternal duplication, we find that significant global DNA hypomethylation is enriched over autism candidate genes and affects gene expression. The cumulative effect of multiple chromosomal duplications and exposure to the pervasive persistent organic pollutant PCB 95 altered methylation of more than 1,000 genes. Hypomethylated genes were enriched for H2A.Z, increased maternal UBE3A in Dup15q corresponded to reduced levels of RING1B, and bivalently modified H2A.Z was altered by PCB 95 and duplication. These results demonstrate the compounding effects of genetic and environmental insults on the neuronal methylome that converge upon dysregulation of chromatin and synaptic genes.
- copy number variants
- DNA methylation
- gene x environment interaction
- persistent organic pollutants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)