DNA Methylation and Regulatory Elements during Chicken Germline Stem Cell Differentiation

Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Jun 5;10(6):1793-1806. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.03.018. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Chickens
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Epigenomics / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nucleotide Motifs
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta