Role of Tet1 in erasure of genomic imprinting

Nature. 2013 Dec 19;504(7480):460-4. doi: 10.1038/nature12805. Epub 2013 Dec 1.


Genomic imprinting is an allele-specific gene expression system that is important for mammalian development and function. The molecular basis of genomic imprinting is allele-specific DNA methylation. Although it is well known that the de novo DNA methyltransferases Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b are responsible for the establishment of genomic imprinting, how the methylation mark is erased during primordial germ cell (PGC) reprogramming remains unclear. Tet1 is one of the ten-eleven translocation family proteins, which have the capacity to oxidize 5-methylcytosine (5mC), specifically expressed in reprogramming PGCs. Here we report that Tet1 has a critical role in the erasure of genomic imprinting. We show that despite their identical genotype, progenies derived from mating between Tet1 knockout males and wild-Peg10 and Peg3, which exhibit aberrant hypermethylation in the paternal allele of differential methylated regions (DMRs). RNA-seq reveals extensive dysregulation of imprinted genes in the next generation due to paternal loss of Tet1 function. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of embryonic day 13.5 PGCs and sperm of Tet1 knockout mice revealed hypermethylation of DMRs of imprinted genes in sperm, which can be traced back to PGCs. Analysis of the DNA methylation dynamics in reprogramming PGCs indicates that Tet1 functions to wipe out remaining methylation, including imprinted genes, at the late reprogramming stage. Furthermore, we provide evidence supporting the role of Tet1 in the erasure of paternal imprints in the female germ line. Thus, our study establishes a critical function of Tet1 in the erasure of genomic imprinting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / deficiency
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dioxygenases / deficiency
  • Dioxygenases / genetics
  • Dioxygenases / metabolism
  • Embryo Loss / enzymology
  • Embryo Loss / genetics
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / enzymology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genomic Imprinting* / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / deficiency
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • TET1 protein, mouse
  • Dioxygenases

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE49764