Imprinting control regions (ICRs) are marked by mono-allelic bivalent chromatin when transcriptionally inactive

Maupetit-Mehouas, S.; Montibus, B.; Nury, D.; Tayama, C.; Wassef, M.; Kota, S. K.; Fogli, A.; Cerqueira Campos, F.; Hata, K.; Feil, R.; Margueron, R.; Nakabayashi, K.; Court, F.; Arnaud, P.

Nucleic Acids Res

2016-01-29 / vol 44 / pages 621-35


Parental allele-specific expression of imprinted genes is mediated by imprinting control regions (ICRs) that are constitutively marked by DNA methylation imprints on the maternal or paternal allele. Mono-allelic DNA methylation is strictly required for the process of imprinting and has to be faithfully maintained during the entire life-span. While the regulation of DNA methylation itself is well understood, the mechanisms whereby the opposite allele remains unmethylated are unclear. Here, we show that in the mouse, at maternally methylated ICRs, the paternal allele, which is constitutively associated with H3K4me2/3, is marked by default by H3K27me3 when these ICRs are transcriptionally inactive, leading to the formation of a bivalent chromatin signature. Our data suggest that at ICRs, chromatin bivalency has a protective role by ensuring that DNA on the paternal allele remains unmethylated and protected against spurious and unscheduled gene expression. Moreover, they provide the proof of concept that, beside pluripotent cells, chromatin bivalency is the default state of transcriptionally inactive CpG island promoters, regardless of the developmental stage, thereby contributing to protect cell identity.

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10.1093/nar/gkv960 gkv960 [pii]

1362-4962 (Electronic) 0305-1048 (Linking)

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