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Constitutional trisomy 8 mosaicism as a model for epigenetic studies of aneuploidy

Josef Davidsson1*, Srinivas Veerla2 and Bertil Johansson13

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Clinical Genetics, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, SE 221 85, Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Oncology/SCIBLU DNA Microarray Resource Centre, Lund University, SE 221 85, Lund, Sweden

3 Department of Clinical Genetics, University and Regional Laboratories, Region Skåne SE 221 85, Lund, Sweden

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Epigenetics & Chromatin 2013, 6:18  doi:10.1186/1756-8935-6-18

Published: 1 July 2013



To investigate epigenetic patterns associated with aneuploidy we used constitutional trisomy 8 mosaicism (CT8M) as a model, enabling analyses of single cell clones, harboring either trisomy or disomy 8, from the same patient; this circumvents any bias introduced by using cells from unrelated, healthy individuals as controls. We profiled gene and miRNA expression as well as genome-wide and promoter specific DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation patterns in trisomic and disomic fibroblasts, using microarrays and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation.


Trisomy 8-positive fibroblasts displayed a characteristic expression and methylation phenotype distinct from disomic fibroblasts, with the majority (65%) of chromosome 8 genes in the trisomic cells being overexpressed. However, 69% of all deregulated genes and non-coding RNAs were not located on this chromosome. Pathway analysis of the deregulated genes revealed that cancer, genetic disorder, and hematopoiesis were top ranked. The trisomy 8-positive cells displayed depletion of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine and global hypomethylation of gene-poor regions on chromosome 8, thus partly mimicking the inactivated X chromosome in females.


Trisomy 8 affects genes situated also on other chromosomes which, in cooperation with the observed chromosome 8 gene dosage effect, has an impact on the clinical features of CT8M, as demonstrated by the pathway analysis revealing key features that might explain the increased incidence of hematologic malignancies in CT8M patients. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the general depletion of hydroxymethylation and global hypomethylation of chromosome 8 may be unrelated to gene expression regulation, instead being associated with a general mechanism of chromatin processing and compartmentalization of additional chromosomes.

Trisomy; Methylation; Gene Expression