The production of germ cells in vitro would open important new avenues for stem biology and human medicine, but the mechanisms of germ cell differentiation are not well understood. The chicken, as a great model for embryology and development, was used in this study to help us explore its regulatory mechanisms. In this study, we reported a comprehensive genome-wide DNA methylation landscape in chicken germ cells, and transcriptomic dynamics was also presented. By uncovering DNA methylation patterns on individual genes, some genes accurately modulated by DNA methylation were found to be associated with cancers and virus infection, e.g., AKT1 and CTNNB1. Chicken-unique markers were also discovered for identifying male germ cells. Importantly, integrated epigenetic mechanisms were explored during male germ cell differentiation, which provides deep insight into the epigenetic processes associated with male germ cell differentiation and possibly improves treatment options to male infertility in animals and humans.
Keywords: DNA methylation; ESCs; PGCs; SSCs; chicken; epigenetics; gene expression; germline stem cell differentiation; non-coding RNAs; transcription factor motifs.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.