Telomeres cooperate in zygotic genome activation by affecting DUX4/Dux transcription


Zygotic genome activation (ZGA) is initiated once the genome chromatin state is organized in the newly formed zygote. Telomeres are specialized chromatin structures at the ends of chromosomes and are reset during early embryogenesis, while the details and significance of telomere changes in preimplantation embryos remain unclear. We demonstrated that the telomere length was shortened in the minor ZGA stage and significantly elongated in the major ZGA stage of human and mouse embryos. Expression of the ZGA pioneer factor DUX4/Dux was negatively correlated with the telomere length. ATAC sequencing data revealed that the chromatin accessibility peaks on the DUX4 promoter region (i.e., the subtelomere of chromosome 4q) were transiently augmented in human minor ZGA. Reduction of telomeric heterochromatin H3K9me3 in the telomeric region also synergistically activated DUX4 expression with p53 in human embryonic stem cells. We propose herein that telomeres regulate the expression of DUX4/Dux through chromatin remodeling and are thereby involved in ZGA. © 2023 The Author(s).

Authors Zhang X, Zhang C, Zhou D, Zhang T, Chen X, Ren J, He C, Meng F, Zhou Q, Yang Q, Dai C, Lin G, Zeng S, Leng L
Journal iScience
Publication Date 2023 Mar 17;26(3):106158
PubMed 36843839
PubMed Central PMC9950522
DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106158

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