Chen Zhiyuan, Yin Qiangzong, Inoue Azusa, Zhang Chunxia, Zhang Yi
Faithful maintenance of genomic imprinting is essential for mammalian development. While germline DNA methylation–dependent (canonical) imprinting is relatively stable during development, the recently found oocyte-derived H3K27me3-mediated noncanonical imprinting is mostly transient in early embryos, with some genes important for placental development maintaining imprinted expression in the extraembryonic lineage. How these noncanonical imprinted genes maintain their extraembryonic-specific imprinting is unknown. Here, we report that maintenance of noncanonical imprinting requires maternal allele–specific de novo DNA methylation [i.e., somatic differentially methylated regions (DMRs)] at implantation. The somatic DMRs are located at the gene promoters, with paternal allele–specific H3K4me3 established during preimplantation development. Genetic manipulation revealed that both maternal EED and zygotic DNMT3A/3B are required for establishing somatic DMRs and maintaining noncanonical imprinting. Thus, our study not only reveals the mechanism underlying noncanonical imprinting maintenance but also sheds light on how histone modifications in oocytes may shape somatic DMRs in postimplantation embryos.