Whole-genome fingerprint of the DNA methylome during human B cell differentiation

Marta Kulis, Angelika Merkel, Simon Heath, Ana C. Queirós, Ronald P. Schuyler, Giancarlo Castellano, Renée Beekman, Emanuele Raineri, Anna Esteve, Guillem Clot, Néria Verdaguer-Dot, Martí Duran-Ferrer, Nuria Russiñol, Roser Vilarrasa-Blasi, Simone Ecker, Vera Pancaldi, Daniel Rico, Lidia Agueda, Julie Blanc, David RichardsonLaura Clarke, Avik Datta, Marien Pascual, Xabier Agirre, Felipe Prosper, Diego Alignani, Bruno Paiva, Gersende Caron, Thierry Fest, Marcus O. Muench, Marina E. Fomin, Seung Tae Lee, Joseph L. Wiemels, Alfonso Valencia, Marta Gut, Paul Flicek, Hendrik G. Stunnenberg, Reiner Siebert, Ralf Küppers, Ivo G. Gut, Elías Campo, José I. Martín-Subero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Citations (Scopus)


We analyzed the DNA methylome of ten subpopulations spanning the entire B cell differentiation program by whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and high-density microarrays. We observed that non-CpG methylation disappeared upon B cell commitment, whereas CpG methylation changed extensively during B cell maturation, showing an accumulative pattern and affecting around 30% of all measured CpG sites. Early differentiation stages mainly displayed enhancer demethylation, which was associated with upregulation of key B cell transcription factors and affected multiple genes involved in B cell biology. Late differentiation stages, in contrast, showed extensive demethylation of heterochromatin and methylation gain at Polycomb-repressed areas, and genes with apparent functional impact in B cells were not affected. This signature, which has previously been linked to aging and cancer, was particularly widespread in mature cells with an extended lifespan. Comparing B cell neoplasms with their normal counterparts, we determined that they frequently acquire methylation changes in regions already undergoing dynamic methylation during normal B cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-756
Number of pages11
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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