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Effects of ten–eleven translocation 1 (Tet1) on DNA methylation and gene expression in chicken primordial germ cells

Yu, Minli, Li, Dongfeng, Cao, Wanyan, Chen, Xiaolu, Du, Wenxing
Reproduction, fertility, and development 2019 v.31 no.3 pp. 509-520
DNA, DNA demethylation, DNA methylation, chickens, epigenetics, gene expression, gene silencing, genes, germ cells, methyltransferases
Ten–eleven translocation 1 (Tet1) is involved in DNA demethylation in primordial germ cells (PGCs); however, the precise regulatory mechanism remains unclear. In the present study the dynamics of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in developing PGCs and the role of Tet1 in PGC demethylation were analysed. Results show that 5mC levels dropped significantly after embryonic Day 4 (E4) and 5hmC levels increased reaching a peak at E5–E5.5. Interestingly, TET1 protein was highly expressed during E5 to E5.5, which showed a consistent trend with 5hmC. The expression of pluripotency-associated genes (Nanog, PouV and SRY-box 2 (Sox2)) and germ cell-specific genes (caveolin 1 (Cav1), piwi-like RNA-mediated gene silencing 1 (Piwi1) and deleted in azoospermia-like (Dazl)) was upregulated after E5, whereas the expression of genes from the DNA methyltransferase family was decreased. Moreover, the Dazl gene was highly methylated in early PGCs and then gradually hypomethylated. Knockdown of Tet1 showed impaired survival and proliferation of PGCs, as well as increased 5mC levels and reduced 5hmC levels. Further analysis showed that knockdown of Tet1 led to elevated DNA methylation levels of Dazl and downregulated gene expression including Dazl. Thus, this study reveals the dynamic epigenetic reprogramming of chicken PGCs invivo and the molecular mechanism of Tet1 in regulating genomic DNA demethylation and hypomethylation of Dazl during PGC development.