Epigenetic modulation ofNrf2andOgg1gene expression in testicular germ cells by methyl parathion exposure

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Methyl parathion (Me-Pa) is an oxidizing organophosphate (OP) pesticide that generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) through its biotransformation. Some studies have also suggested that OP pesticides have the capacity to alkylate biomolecules, including DNA. In general, DNA methylation in gene promoters represses transcription. NRF2 is a key transcription factor that regulates the expression of antioxidant, metabolic and detoxifying genes through the antioxidant response element (ARE) situated in promoters of regulated genes. Furthermore, DNA repair genes, including 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosidase (OGG1), have been proposed as NRF2 target genes. Me-Pa exposure produces poor semen quality, genetic and oxidative damage in sperm cells, and reduced fertility. However, the Me-Pa effects on the methylation status and the expression of antioxidant (Nrf2) or DNA repair (Ogg1) genes in male germ cells have not been investigated. Therefore, mice were exposed to Me-Pa to evaluate the global (%5-mC) and specific methylation of Nrf2 and Ogg1 genes using pyrosequencing, gene expression, and total protein carbonylation in male germ cells. The results showed that Me-Pa significantly decreased the global DNA methylation pattern and significantly increased the methylation of two CpG sites within Ogg1 promoter and one CpG site within Nrf2 promoter. In addition, Ogg1 or Nrf2 expression did not change after Me-Pa exposure despite the oxidative damage produced. Altogether, our data suggest that Me-Pa toxicity alters Ogg1 and Nrf2 promoter methylation in male germ cells that may be modulating their gene expression.

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