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10.07.18 Chromatin accessibility is a central factor in successful reprogramming in oocytes

last modified Jul 18, 2018 11:10 PM
In this Cell Reports article the Gurdon and Livesey labs show an association between the local chromatin state and whether genes are activated by or resistant to reprogramming
10.07.18 Chromatin accessibility is a central factor in successful reprogramming in oocytes

Fig.2F extract: Signal associated with open chromatin at TSSs of reprogrammed genes.

Chromatin Accessibility Impacts Transcriptional Reprogramming in Oocytes

Miyamoto K et al. (2018) Cell Reports 24: 304-311. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.030


Highlights from the paper

  • ATAC-seq reveals chromatin accessibility changes during reprogramming in oocytes
  • Genes with open promoters are preferentially activated during reprogramming
  • Transcription factors play a role in transcriptional reprogramming in oocytes
  • Closed chromatin is associated with reprogramming-resistant genes


Summary from the paper

Oocytes have a remarkable ability to reactivate silenced genes in somatic cells. However, it is not clear how the chromatin architecture of somatic cells affects this transcriptional reprogramming. Here, we investigated the relationship between the chromatin opening and transcriptional activation.

We reveal changes in chromatin accessibility and their relevance to transcriptional reprogramming after transplantation of somatic nuclei into Xenopus oocytes. Genes that are silenced, but have pre-existing open transcription start sites in donor cells, are prone to be activated after nuclear transfer, suggesting that the chromatin signature of somatic nuclei influences transcriptional reprogramming. There are also activated genes associated with new open chromatin sites, and transcription factors in oocytes play an important role in transcriptional reprogramming from such genes.

Finally, we show that genes resistant to reprogramming are associated with closed chromatin configurations. We conclude that chromatin accessibility is a central factor for successful transcriptional reprogramming in oocytes.



Watch John Gurdon describe his research in this short video.

Read more about research in the Gurdon lab and the Livesey lab.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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