Interplay between DNA methylation and transcription factor availability: Implications for developmental activation of the mouse Myogenin gene

Daniela Palacios, Dennis Summerbell, P. W J Rigby, Joan Boyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

During development, gene activation is stringently regulated to restrict expression only to the correct cell type and correct developmental stage. Here, we present mechanistic evidence that suggests DNA methylation contributes to this regulation by suppressing premature gene activation. Using the mouse Myogenin promoter as an example of the weak CpG island class of promoters, we find that it is initially methylated but becomes demethylated as development proceeds. Full hypersensitive site formation of the Myogenin promoter requires both the MEF2 and SIX binding sites, but binding to only one site can trigger the partial chromatin opening of the nonmethylated promoter. DNA methylation markedly decreases hypersensitive site formation that now occurs at a detectable level only when binding to both MEF2 and SIX binding sites is possible. This suggests that the probability of activating the methylated promoter is low until two of the factors are coexpressed within the same cell. Consistent with this, the single-cell analysis of developing somites shows that the coexpression of MEF2A and SIX1, which bind the MEF2 and SIX sites, correlates with the fraction of cells that demethylate the Myogenin promoter. Taken together, these studies imply that DNA methylation helps to prevent inappropriate gene activation until sufficient activating factors are coexpressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3805-3815
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume30
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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