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      Gestational Hypoxia and Developmental Plasticity

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="d8997341e160">Hypoxia is one of the most common and severe challenges to the maintenance of homeostasis. Oxygen sensing is a property of all tissues, and the response to hypoxia is multidimensional involving complicated intracellular networks concerned with the transduction of hypoxia-induced responses. Of all the stresses to which the fetus and newborn infant are subjected, perhaps the most important and clinically relevant is that of hypoxia. Hypoxia during gestation impacts both the mother and fetal development through interactions with an individual’s genetic traits acquired over multiple generations by natural selection and changes in gene expression patterns by altering the epigenetic code. Changes in the epigenome determine “genomic plasticity,” i.e., the ability of genes to be differentially expressed according to environmental cues. The genomic plasticity defined by epigenomic mechanisms including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNAs during development is the mechanistic substrate for phenotypic programming that determines physiological response and risk for healthy or deleterious outcomes. This review explores the impact of gestational hypoxia on maternal health and fetal development, and epigenetic mechanisms of developmental plasticity with emphasis on the uteroplacental circulation, heart development, cerebral circulation, pulmonary development, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and adipose tissue. The complex molecular and epigenetic interactions that may impact an individual’s physiology and developmental programming of health and disease later in life are discussed. </p>

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          Most cited references 971

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          Rett syndrome is caused by mutations in X-linked MECP2, encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2.

          Rett syndrome (RTT, MIM 312750) is a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder and one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females, with an incidence of 1 in 10,000-15,000 (ref. 2). Patients with classic RTT appear to develop normally until 6-18 months of age, then gradually lose speech and purposeful hand use, and develop microcephaly, seizures, autism, ataxia, intermittent hyperventilation and stereotypic hand movements. After initial regression, the condition stabilizes and patients usually survive into adulthood. As RTT occurs almost exclusively in females, it has been proposed that RTT is caused by an X-linked dominant mutation with lethality in hemizygous males. Previous exclusion mapping studies using RTT families mapped the locus to Xq28 (refs 6,9,10,11). Using a systematic gene screening approach, we have identified mutations in the gene (MECP2 ) encoding X-linked methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) as the cause of some cases of RTT. MeCP2 selectively binds CpG dinucleotides in the mammalian genome and mediates transcriptional repression through interaction with histone deacetylase and the corepressor SIN3A (refs 12,13). In 5 of 21 sporadic patients, we found 3 de novo missense mutations in the region encoding the highly conserved methyl-binding domain (MBD) as well as a de novo frameshift and a de novo nonsense mutation, both of which disrupt the transcription repression domain (TRD). In two affected half-sisters of a RTT family, we found segregation of an additional missense mutation not detected in their obligate carrier mother. This suggests that the mother is a germline mosaic for this mutation. Our study reports the first disease-causing mutations in RTT and points to abnormal epigenetic regulation as the mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of RTT.
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            Roles for microRNAs in conferring robustness to biological processes.

            Biological systems use a variety of mechanisms to maintain their functions in the face of environmental and genetic perturbations. Increasing evidence suggests that, among their roles as posttranscriptional repressors of gene expression, microRNAs (miRNAs) help to confer robustness to biological processes by reinforcing transcriptional programs and attenuating aberrant transcripts, and they may in some network contexts help suppress random fluctuations in transcript copy number. These activities have important consequences for normal development and physiology, disease, and evolution. Here, we will discuss examples and principles of miRNAs that contribute to robustness in animal systems. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              A nuclear factor induced by hypoxia via de novo protein synthesis binds to the human erythropoietin gene enhancer at a site required for transcriptional activation.

              We have identified a 50-nucleotide enhancer from the human erythropoietin gene 3'-flanking sequence which can mediate a sevenfold transcriptional induction in response to hypoxia when cloned 3' to a simian virus 40 promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene and transiently expressed in Hep3B cells. Nucleotides (nt) 1 to 33 of this sequence mediate sevenfold induction of reporter gene expression when present in two tandem copies compared with threefold induction when present in a single copy, suggesting that nt 34 to 50 bind a factor which amplifies the induction signal. DNase I footprinting demonstrated binding of a constitutive nuclear factor to nt 26 to 48. Mutagenesis studies revealed that nt 4 to 12 and 19 to 23 are essential for induction, as substitutions at either site eliminated hypoxia-induced expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays identified a nuclear factor which bound to a probe spanning nt 1 to 18 but not to a probe containing a mutation which eliminated enhancer function. Factor binding was induced by hypoxia, and its induction was sensitive to cycloheximide treatment. We have thus defined a functionally tripartite, 50-nt hypoxia-inducible enhancer which binds several nuclear factors, one of which is induced by hypoxia via de novo protein synthesis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Physiological Reviews
                Physiological Reviews
                American Physiological Society
                0031-9333
                1522-1210
                July 2018
                July 2018
                : 98
                : 3
                : 1241-1334
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The Lawrence D. Longo, MD Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California
                Article
                10.1152/physrev.00043.2017
                6088145
                29717932
                © 2018

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