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Nature. 2016 Jun 16;534(7607):387-90. doi: 10.1038/nature18004. Epub 2016 Jun 8.

Co-repressor CBFA2T2 regulates pluripotency and germline development.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.
2
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.
3
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory for RNA Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10065, USA.
4
Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.
5
Epigenetics Program, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
6
Rodent Genetic Engineering Core, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.

Abstract

Developmental specification of germ cells lies at the heart of inheritance, as germ cells contain all of the genetic and epigenetic information transmitted between generations. The critical developmental event distinguishing germline from somatic lineages is the differentiation of primordial germ cells (PGCs), precursors of sex-specific gametes that produce an entire organism upon fertilization. Germ cells toggle between uni- and pluripotent states as they exhibit their own 'latent' form of pluripotency. For example, PGCs express a number of transcription factors in common with embryonic stem (ES) cells, including OCT4 (encoded by Pou5f1), SOX2, NANOG and PRDM14 (refs 2, 3, 4). A biochemical mechanism by which these transcription factors converge on chromatin to produce the dramatic rearrangements underlying ES-cell- and PGC-specific transcriptional programs remains poorly understood. Here we identify a novel co-repressor protein, CBFA2T2, that regulates pluripotency and germline specification in mice. Cbfa2t2(-/-) mice display severe defects in PGC maturation and epigenetic reprogramming. CBFA2T2 forms a biochemical complex with PRDM14, a germline-specific transcription factor. Mechanistically, CBFA2T2 oligomerizes to form a scaffold upon which PRDM14 and OCT4 are stabilized on chromatin. Thus, in contrast to the traditional 'passenger' role of a co-repressor, CBFA2T2 functions synergistically with transcription factors at the crossroads of the fundamental developmental plasticity between uni- and pluripotency.

Comment in

PMID:
27281218
PMCID:
PMC4911307
DOI:
10.1038/nature18004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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