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Essays Biochem. 2019 Nov 29. pii: EBC20190043. doi: 10.1042/EBC20190043. [Epub ahead of print]

The role and mechanisms of DNA methylation in the oocyte.

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Epigenetics Programme, Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB22 3AT, U.K.
Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EG, U.K.


Epigenetic information in the mammalian oocyte has the potential to be transmitted to the next generation and influence gene expression; this occurs naturally in the case of imprinted genes. Therefore, it is important to understand how epigenetic information is patterned during oocyte development and growth. Here, we review the current state of knowledge of de novo DNA methylation mechanisms in the oocyte: how a distinctive gene-body methylation pattern is created, and the extent to which the DNA methylation machinery reads chromatin states. Recent epigenomic studies building on advances in ultra-low input chromatin profiling methods, coupled with genetic studies, have started to allow a detailed interrogation of the interplay between DNA methylation establishment and chromatin states; however, a full mechanistic description awaits.


chromatin; imprinting; methylation; oocytes


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