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Cell. 2015 Jun 4;161(6):1437-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.015.

The Transcriptome and DNA Methylome Landscapes of Human Primordial Germ Cells.

Author information

1
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC.
2
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Key Laboratory of Assisted Reproduction, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100191, PRC.
3
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC.
4
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC.
5
Institute of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC.
6
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Differentiation, Beijing 100871, PRC.
7
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Differentiation, Beijing 100871, PRC; Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, PRC. Electronic address: tangfuchou@pku.edu.cn.
8
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Life Sciences, Third Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Key Laboratory of Assisted Reproduction, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100191, PRC; Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC; Beijing Key Laboratory of Reproductive Endocrinology and Assisted Reproduction, Beijing 100191, PRC. Electronic address: jie.qiao@263.net.

Abstract

Germ cells are vital for transmitting genetic information from one generation to the next and for maintaining the continuation of species. Here, we analyze the transcriptome of human primordial germ cells (PGCs) from the migrating stage to the gonadal stage at single-cell and single-base resolutions. Human PGCs show unique transcription patterns involving the simultaneous expression of both pluripotency genes and germline-specific genes, with a subset of them displaying developmental-stage-specific features. Furthermore, we analyze the DNA methylome of human PGCs and find global demethylation of their genomes. Approximately 10 to 11 weeks after gestation, the PGCs are nearly devoid of any DNA methylation, with only 7.8% and 6.0% of the median methylation levels in male and female PGCs, respectively. Our work paves the way toward deciphering the complex epigenetic reprogramming of the germline with the aim of restoring totipotency in fertilized oocytes.

PMID:
26046443
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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