Gene Regulation, Stems Cells and Cancer


Epigenetic Reprogramming in Embryogenesis and the Germline

Bernhard Payer
Maria Guirola Tsibulova
Serena Francesca Generoso, Antonio Tarruell


Figure 1: The X-chromosome state in female mice is linked to cell differentiation.

Epigenetic mechanisms control cell type-specific interpretation of the genome sequence, which is largely identical between cells of different type and developmental potential. The inactivation of one of the two X-chromosomes in female mammals is a prominent example of such epigenetic regulation, in which gene expression from an entire X-chromosome is suppressed to avoid gene dosage imbalance with males, which only have a single X.

In our group (established in October 2014) we study the mechanisms of X-chromosome reactivation, which reverses X-inactivation and occurs in mouse pluripotent stem cells, early embryos and the germ cell lineage. We make use of complementary in vivo and in vitro approaches to identify and test the function of new regulators of this epigenetic reprogramming process. Our goal is to establish how the different steps (e.g. erasure of epigenetic marks, X-linked gene reactivation) are achieved and how they are linked to their biological context within pluripotent cells and in the germ line.

Research Projects

  • The role of PRDM14 in epigenetic reprogramming and mouse development
  • X-chromosome reactivation during stem cell reprogramming
  • Epigenetic reprogramming in the germ cell lineage

Selected Publications

Payer B and Lee JT
“Coupling of X-Chromosome reactivation with the pluripotent stem cell state.”
RNA Biology, 11 (7):798–807 (2014). (*)

(*) External origin