Dynamic antagonism between key repressive pathways maintains the placental epigenome.

Weigert R, Hetzel S, Bailly N, Haggerty C, Ilik IA, Yung PYK, Navarro C, Bolondi A, Kumar AS, Anania C, Brändl B, Meierhofer D, Lupiáñez DG, Müller FJ, Aktas T, Elsässer SJ, Kretzmer H, Smith ZD, Meissner A

Nat. Cell Biol. 25 (4) 579-591 [2023-04-00; online 2023-04-06]

DNA and Histone 3 Lysine 27 methylation typically function as repressive modifications and operate within distinct genomic compartments. In mammals, the majority of the genome is kept in a DNA methylated state, whereas the Polycomb repressive complexes regulate the unmethylated CpG-rich promoters of developmental genes. In contrast to this general framework, the extra-embryonic lineages display non-canonical, globally intermediate DNA methylation levels, including disruption of local Polycomb domains. Here, to better understand this unusual landscape's molecular properties, we genetically and chemically perturbed major epigenetic pathways in mouse trophoblast stem cells. We find that the extra-embryonic epigenome reflects ongoing and dynamic de novo methyltransferase recruitment, which is continuously antagonized by Polycomb to maintain intermediate, locally disordered methylation. Despite its disorganized molecular appearance, our data point to a highly controlled equilibrium between counteracting repressors within extra-embryonic cells, one that can seemingly persist indefinitely without bistable features typically seen for embryonic forms of epigenetic regulation.

SciLifeLab Fellow

Simon Elsässer

PubMed 37024684

DOI 10.1038/s41556-023-01114-y

Crossref 10.1038/s41556-023-01114-y

pmc: PMC10104784
pii: 10.1038/s41556-023-01114-y

Publications 9.5.0