Gavin Kelsey

Research Summary

As well as genetic information, the egg and sperm also contribute epigenetic annotations that may influence gene activity after fertilisation. These annotations may be direct modifications of the DNA bases or of the proteins around which the DNA is wrapped into chromatin. Our goal is to understand whether, through epigenetics, factors such as a mother’s age or diet have consequences on the health of a child.
 
We examine how epigenetic states are set up in oocytes – or egg cells – and influence gene expression in the embryo. For example, repressive chromatin marks in oocytes lead to long-term silencing of genes inherited from the mother, particularly in cells that will form the placenta. We are also interested in how variations in DNA methylation come about in oocytes and whether we can use this variation as a marker for oocyte quality and embryo potential. To investigate these questions, we develop methods to profile epigenetic information in very small numbers of cells or even in single cells.

Latest Publications

Revisiting the Impact of Local Leptin Signaling in Folliculogenesis and Oocyte Maturation in Obese Mothers.
Wołodko K, Castillo-Fernandez J, Kelsey G, Galvão A

The complex nature of folliculogenesis regulation accounts for its susceptibility to maternal physiological fitness. In obese mothers, progressive expansion of adipose tissue culminates with severe hyperestrogenism and hyperleptinemia with detrimental effects for ovarian performance. Indeed, maternal obesity is associated with the establishment of ovarian leptin resistance. This review summarizes current knowledge on potential effects of impaired leptin signaling throughout folliculogenesis and oocyte developmental competence in mice and women.

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International journal of molecular sciences, 22, 8, 20 Apr 2021

PMID: 33924072

Genome-wide DNA methylation dynamics during epigenetic reprogramming in the porcine germline.
Gómez-Redondo I, Planells B, Cánovas S, Ivanova E, Kelsey G, Gutiérrez-Adán A

Prior work in mice has shown that some retrotransposed elements remain substantially methylated during DNA methylation reprogramming of germ cells. In the pig, however, information about this process is scarce. The present study was designed to examine the methylation profiles of porcine germ cells during the time course of epigenetic reprogramming.

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Clinical epigenetics, 13, 1, 03 Feb 2021

PMID: 33536045

Cell-cell coupling and DNA methylation abnormal phenotypes in the after-hours mice.
Tinarelli F, Ivanova E, Colombi I, Barini E, Balzani E, Garcia CG, Gasparini L, Chiappalone M, Kelsey G, Tucci V

DNA methylation has emerged as an important epigenetic regulator of brain processes, including circadian rhythms. However, how DNA methylation intervenes between environmental signals, such as light entrainment, and the transcriptional and translational molecular mechanisms of the cellular clock is currently unknown. Here, we studied the after-hours mice, which have a point mutation in the Fbxl3 gene and a lengthened circadian period.

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Epigenetics & chromatin, 14, 1, 06 Jan 2021

PMID: 33407878