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Nature. 1984 Jan 19-25;307(5948):284-6.

Cell lineage-specific undermethylation of mouse repetitive DNA.


Several distinct cell lineages are established during mouse embryogenesis. The trophectoderm and primitive endoderm give rise to extraembryonic structures alone, while the primitive ectoderm becomes the fetus proper. Recent studies suggest that the levels of DNA modification are lower in inactive X chromosomes from extraembryonic tissues than in embryonic and adult somatic tissues. Using HpaII/MspI isoschizomers, Southern blots and cloned probes, we show here that repetitive DNA sequences from all derivatives of the two extraembryonic lineages, trophectoderm and primitive endoderm, are substantially undermethylated compared with primitive ectoderm derivatives. This contrasts with the highly methylated state of these repetitive elements observed in adult somatic tissues. Specific demethylation or inhibition of de novo methylation, or a combination of both mechanisms, may be involved. These findings suggest that elements of gene regulation dependent on DNA modification may be different in extraembryonic cell lineages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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