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Mol Reprod Dev. 2006 Jan;73(1):116-22.

Meiotic and epigenetic aberrations in Dnmt3L-deficient male germ cells.

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Department of Integrated Genetics, Division of Human Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Research Organization of Information and Systems (ROIS), Mishima, Japan.


The DNA methyltransferase-like protein Dnmt3L is necessary for the establishment of genomic imprints in oogenesis and for normal spermatogenesis (Bourc'his et al., 2001; Hata et al., 2002). Also, a paternally imprinted gene, H19, loses DNA methylation in Dnmt3L-/- spermatogonia (Bourc'his and Bestor, 2004; Kaneda et al., 2004). To determine the reason for the impaired spermatogenesis in the Dnmt3L-/- testes, we have carried out a series of histological and molecular studies. We show here that Dnmt3L-/- germ cells were arrested and died around the early meiotic stage. A microarray-based gene expression-profiling analysis revealed that various gonad-specific and/or sex-chromosome-linked genes were downregulated in the Dnmt3L-/- testes. In contrast, expression of retrovirus-like intracisternal A-particle (IAP) sequences was upregulated; consistent with this observation, a specific IAP copy showed complete loss of DNA methylation. These findings indicate that Dnmt3L regulates germ cell-specific gene expression and IAP suppression, which are critical for male germ cell proliferation and meiosis.

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