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A lncRNA/Lin28/Let7 Axis Coupled To DNA Methylation Fine Tunes The Dynamics Of A Cell State Transition

By Meng Amy Li, Paulo P. Amaral, Priscilla Cheung, Jan H. Bergmann, Masaki Kinoshita, Tüzer Kalkan, Meryem Ralser, Sam Robson, Ferdinand von Meyenn, Maike Paramor, Fengtang Yang, Caifu Chen, Jennifer Nichols, David L. Spector, Tony Kouzarides, Lin He, Austin Smith

Posted 26 Apr 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/131110 (published DOI: 10.7554/elife.23468)

Execution of pluripotency requires progression from the naive status represented by mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to a condition poised for lineage specification. This process is controlled at transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic levels and non-coding RNAs are contributors to this regulation complexity. Here we identify a molecular cascade initiated by a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), Ephemeron (Epn), that modulates the dynamics of exit from naive pluripotency. Epn deletion delays the extinction of ESC identity, an effect mediated by perduring expression of the pivotal transcription factor Nanog. In the absence of Epn, Lin28a expression is reduced, resulting in an elevated level of Mirlet7g that suppresses de novo methyltransferases Dnmt3a/b. Dnmt3a/b deletion also retards exit from the ESC state, and is associated with delayed promoter methylation and slower down-regulation of Nanog. Altogether, our findings reveal a lncRNA/miRNA/DNA methylation axis that facilitates a timely stem cell state transition.

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