Bedi, Y.S., Wang, H., Thomas, K.N. et al. Alcohol induced increases in sperm Histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation correlate with increased placental CTCF occupancy and altered developmental programming. Sci Rep 12, 8839 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12188-3
Using a mouse model, studies by our group reveal that paternal preconception alcohol intake affects offspring fetal-placental growth, with long-lasting consequences on adult metabolism. Here, we tested the hypothesis that chronic preconception male alcohol exposure impacts histone enrichment in sperm and that these changes are associated with altered developmental programming in the placenta. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we find alcohol-induced increases in sperm histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) that map to promoters and presumptive enhancer regions enriched in genes driving neurogenesis and craniofacial development. Given the colocalization of H3K4me3 with the chromatin binding factor CTCF across both sperm and embryos, we next examined CTCF localization in the placenta.
We find global changes in CTCF binding within placentae derived from the male offspring of alcohol-exposed sires. Furthermore, altered CTCF localization correlates with dysregulated gene expression across multiple gene clusters; however, these transcriptional changes only occur in male offspring. Finally, we identified a correlation between genomic regions exhibiting alcohol-induced increases in sperm H3K4me3 and increased CTCF binding in male placentae. Collectively, our analysis demonstrates that the chromatin landscape of sperm is sensitive to chronic alcohol exposure and that a subset of these affected regions exhibits increased placental CTCF enrichment.