Conservation of aging and cancer epigenetic signatures across human and mouse



Aging and cancer are two interrelated biological processes, with aging being one of the most important risk factors for the development of cancer. Parallel epigenetic alterations have been described for both, although differences, especially within the DNA hypomethylation scenario, have also been identified in recent literature. While many of these observations arise from the use of mouse models, there is a lack of systematic and single-base resolution comparisons of human and mouse epigenetic patterns in the context of disease. However, such comparisons are especially significant with respect to the DNA methylation alterations found independently in the two species as they allow to establish the extent to which some of the observed similarities or differences arise from pre-existing species-specific epigenetic traits. Here, we have used reduced representation bisulfite sequencing to profile the brain methylomes of young and old, tumoral and non-tumoral brain samples from human and mouse. We first characterized the baseline epigenomic patterns of the species and subsequently focused on the DNA methylation alterations associated with cancer and aging. Next, we described the functional genomic and epigenomic context associated with the alterations, and finally we integrated our data in order to study interspecies DNA methylation levels at specific CpG sites. Globally, we found robust evidence for the conservation of cancer and aging-associated epigenomic patterns in both species, and our observations point towards the preservation of the functional consequences of these alterations at multiple levels of genomic regulation. This dataset contains information related to dataframes, databases, scripts and supplementary material mentioned in the original manuscript.
Date made available17 Mar 2021

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