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Reproduction. 2010 Sep;140(3):411-23. doi: 10.1530/REP-10-0173. Epub 2010 May 25.

Genomic imprinting in germ cells: imprints are under control.

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Institut de Génétique Moléculaire, CNRS UMR-5535 and Universités de Montpellier, 1919, route de Mende, 34090 Montpellier, France.


The cis-acting regulatory sequences of imprinted gene loci, called imprinting control regions (ICRs), acquire specific imprint marks in germ cells, including DNA methylation. These epigenetic imprints ensure that imprinted genes are expressed exclusively from either the paternal or the maternal allele in offspring. The last few years have witnessed a rapid increase in studies on how and when ICRs become marked by and subsequently maintain such epigenetic modifications. These novel findings are summarised in this review, which focuses on the germline acquisition of DNA methylation imprints and particularly on the combined role of primary sequence specificity, chromatin configuration, non-histone proteins and transcriptional events.

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