Zhang XL et al.
Germline stem cells play an essential role in establishing the fertility of an organism. Although extensively characterized, the regulatory mechanisms that govern the fundamental properties of mammalian female germline stem cells remain poorly understood.
We generate genome-wide profiles of the histone modifications H3K4me1, H3K27ac, H3K4me3, and H3K27me3, DNA methylation, and RNA polymerase II occupancy and perform transcriptome analysis in mouse female germline stem cells. Comparison of enhancer regions between embryonic stem cells and female germline stem cells identifies the lineage-specific enhancers involved in germline stem cell features. Additionally, our results indicate that DNA methylation primarily contributes to female germline stem cell unipotency by suppressing the somatic program and is potentially involved in maintenance of sexual identity when compared with male germline stem cells. Moreover, we demonstrate down-regulation of Prmt5 triggers differentiation and thus uncover a role for Prmt5 in maintaining the undifferentiated status of female germline stem cells.
The genome-wide epigenetic signatures and the transcription regulators identified here provide an invaluable resource for understanding the fundamental features of mouse female germline stem cells.