Title: Protection from DNA re-methylation by transcription factors in primordial germ cells and pre-implantation embryos can explain trans-generational epigenetic inheritance.
Authors: Kremsky, Isaac; Corces, Victor G
Published In Genome Biol, (2020 05 18)
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A growing body of evidence suggests that certain epiphenotypes can be passed across generations via both the male and female germlines of mammals. These observations have been difficult to explain owing to a global loss of the majority of known epigenetic marks present in parental chromosomes during primordial germ cell development and after fertilization. RESULTS: By integrating previously published BS-seq, DNase-seq, ATAC-seq, and RNA-seq data collected during multiple stages of primordial germ cell and pre-implantation development, we find that the methylation status of the majority of CpGs genome-wide is restored after global de-methylation, despite the fact that global CpG methylation drops to 10% in primordial germ cells and 20% in the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. We estimate the proportion of such CpGs with preserved methylation status to be 78%. Further, we find that CpGs at sites bound by transcription factors during the global re-methylation phases of germline and embryonic development remain hypomethylated across all developmental stages observed. On the other hand, CpGs at sites not bound by transcription factors during the global re-methylation phase have high methylation levels prior to global de-methylation, become de-methylated during global de-methylation, and then become re-methylated. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that transcription factors can act as carriers of epigenetic information during germ cell and pre-implantation development by ensuring that the methylation status of CpGs is maintained. These findings provide the basis for a mechanistic description of trans-generational inheritance of epigenetic information in mammals.
PubMed ID: 32423419
MeSH Terms: Animals; DNA Methylation*; Embryo, Mammalian/metabolism*; Epigenesis, Genetic*; Female; Germ Cells/metabolism*; Humans; Inheritance Patterns*; Male; Mice; Transcription Factors/metabolism*