Utf1 contributes to intergenerational epigenetic inheritance of pluripotency
Date of Issue2018
School of Biological Sciences
NTU Institute of Structural Biology
Undifferentiated embryonic cell transcription factor 1 (Utf1) is expressed in pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and primordial germ cells (PGCs). Utf1 expression is directly controlled by pluripotency factors Oct4 and Sox2, which form a ternary complex with the Utf1 enhancer. The Utf1 protein plays a role in chromatin organization and epigenetic control of bivalent gene expression in ESCs in vitro, where it promotes effective cell differentiation during exit from pluripotency. The function of Utf1 in PGCs in vivo, however, is not known. Here, we report that proper development of Utf1 null embryos almost entirely depends on the presence of functional Utf1 alleles in the parental germline. This indicates that Utf1’s proposed epigenetic role in ESC pluripotency in vitro may be linked to intergenerational epigenetic inheritance in vivo. One component - or at least facilitator - of the relevant epigenetic mark appears to be Utf1 itself, since Utf1-driven tomato reporter and Utf1 are detected in mature germ cells. We also provide initial evidence for a reduced adult testis size in Utf1 null mice. Our findings thus point at unexpected functional links between the core ESC pluripotency factor network and epigenetic inheritance of pluripotency.
Primordial Germ Cells (PGCs)
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