Hypermethylation of Sp1 binding site suppresses hypothalamic POMC in neonates and may contribute to metabolic disorders in adults: impact of maternal dietary CLA

  1. Guoqing Yang1,2,*
  1. 1Laboratory of Animal Gene Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan Province, 450002, People’s Republic of China
  2. 2Key Laboratory of Animal Biochemistry and Nutrition, Ministry of Agriculture, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan Province, 450002, People’s Republic of China
  1. *Corresponding Author: Guoqing Yang, Email: gqyang{at}


Epigenetic regulation of neuropeptide genes associated with central appetite control plays an important part in the development of nutritional programming. While POMC is critical in appetite control, the molecular mechanism of methylation-related regulation of POMC remains unclear. Based on the report that the proximal Sp1 binding site in POMC promoter is crucial for the leptin-mediated activation of POMC, the methylation of this site was investigated here in both cultured cells and postnatal mice reared by the dams with dietary supplementation of CLA. The change of milk composition made the offspring undergo the increase of food intake, the suppression of POMC, the attenuation of Sp1-promoter interaction and the hypermethylation of CpG dinucleotides at -100 and -103 within Sp1 binding site of POMC promoter, which may be associated with the decrease of hypothalamic Sp1 and/or plasma S-adenosylhomocystein. In cultured cells the methylation of the -100 CpG dinucleotides of POMC promoter blocked both the formation of Sp1-promoter complex and the leptin-induced activation of POMC. In addition, a catch-up growth and adult metabolic changes like adult hyperglycemia and insulin resistance were observed in these postnatal pups, suggesting that this CLA-mediated hypermethylation may contribute, at least in part, to the metabolic disorders.

  • Received August 9, 2013.
  • Accepted December 22, 2013.

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