Role of Ucp1 enhancer methylation and chromatin remodelling in the control of Ucp1 expression in murine adipose tissue

A. Shore, A. Karamitri, P. Kemp, J. R. Speakman, M. A. Lomax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/hypothesis: Increasing the expression of the brown adipose tissue-specific gene uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1) is a potential target for treating obesity. We investigated the role of DNA methylation and histone modification in Ucp1 expression in adipose cell lines and ex vivo murine adipose tissues. Methods: Methylation state of the Ucp1 enhancer was studied using bisulphite mapping in murine adipose cell lines, and tissue taken from cold-stressed mice, coupled with functional assays of the effects of methylation and demethylation of the Ucp1 promoter on gene expression and nuclear protein binding. Results: We show that demethylation of the Ucp1 promoter by 5-aza-deoxycytidine increases Ucp1 expression while methylation of Ucp1 promoter-reporter constructs decreases expression. Brown adipose tissue-specific Ucp1 expression is associated with decreased CpG dinucleotide methylation of the Ucp1 enhancer. The lowest CpG dinucleotide methylation state was found in two cyclic AMP response elements (CRE3, CRE2) in the Ucp1 promoter and methylation of the CpG in CRE2, but not CRE3 decreased nuclear protein binding. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed the presence of the silencing DiMethH3K9 modification on the Ucp1 enhancer in white adipose tissue and the appearance of the active TriMethH3K4 mark at the Ucp1 promoter in brown adipose tissue in response to a cold environment. Conclusions/interpretation: The results demonstrate that CpG dinucleotide methylation of the Ucp1 enhancer exhibits tissue-specific patterns in murine tissue and cell lines and suggest that adipose tissue-specific Ucp1 expression involves demethylation of CpG dinucleotides found in regulatory CREs in the Ucp1 enhancer, as well as modification of histone tails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1173
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Adipose tissue
  • CpG dinucleotide
  • Cyclic AMP response element
  • Methylation
  • Uncoupling protein-1


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