Loss of maternal Trim28 causes male-predominant early embryonic lethality

Genes Dev. 2017 Jan 1;31(1):12-17. doi: 10.1101/gad.291195.116. Epub 2017 Jan 23.


Global DNA demethylation is a hallmark of embryonic epigenetic reprogramming. However, embryos engage noncanonical DNA methylation maintenance mechanisms to ensure inheritance of exceptional epigenetic germline features to the soma. Besides the paradigmatic genomic imprints, these exceptions remain ill-defined, and the mechanisms ensuring demethylation resistance in the light of global reprogramming remain poorly understood. Here we show that the Y-linked gene Rbmy1a1 is highly methylated in mature sperm and resists DNA demethylation post-fertilization. Aberrant hypomethylation of the Rbmy1a1 promoter results in its ectopic activation, causing male-specific peri-implantation lethality. Rbmy1a1 is a novel target of the TRIM28 complex, which is required to protect its repressive epigenetic state during embryonic epigenetic reprogramming.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Rbmy; Trim28; epigenetics; reprogramming; splicing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Embryo Implantation / genetics
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Rbmy protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trim28 protein, mouse
  • Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28