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J Histochem Cytochem. 2013 Jan;61(1):75-89. doi: 10.1369/0022155412463923. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

H3K9 trimethylation precedes DNA methylation during sheep oogenesis: HDAC1, SUV39H1, G9a, HP1, and Dnmts are involved in these epigenetic events.

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  • 1Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.


The oocyte, to become a fully mature gamete, has to acquire a correct pattern of DNA methylation on its genome; this epigenetic event represents the major point of the molecular mechanisms that occur during postnatal oogenesis. It is known that an intimate link exists between DNA methylation and histone posttranslational modifications, such as trimethylation of lysine 9 on histone 3 (H3K9me3), that is essential in the silencing of gene transcription. What remains unclear is the precise sequence of these two epigenetic events and the protein expression of the enzymes that catalyze this epigenetic maturation during oogenesis. To identify the key molecules involved in global DNA methylation and H3K9me3, a biological network-based computational model was realized. Then, the spatiotemporal distribution of the proteins, identified from the biological network, was assessed during postnatal oogenesis. The results obtained suggest the existence of a sequential cascade of events in which H3K9me3 is the primary step followed by DNA methylation. These two epigenetic marks are realized due to the recruitment of the HDAC1, SUV39H1, G9a, HP1, and Dnmt3a, which were always localized in the nuclei of the oocytes and were dependent on chromatin configuration. These results involving DNA methylation and H3K9me3 are crucial in defining the oocyte developmental competence.

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