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Epigenetic reprogramming of the zygote in mice and men: on your marks, get set, go!

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)REP-16-0376
JournalReproduction
Early online date6 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sep 2016

Abstract

Gametogenesis (spermatogenesis and oogenesis) is accompanied by the acquisition of gender-specific epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and regulation by small RNAs, to form highly differentiated, but transcriptionally silent cell-types in preparation for fertilisation. Upon fertilisation, extensive global epigenetic reprogramming takes place in order to remove the previously acquired epigenetic marks and produce totipotent zygotic states. It is the aim of this review to delineate the cellular and molecular events involved in maternal, paternal and zygotic epigenetic reprogramming from the time of gametogenesis, through fertilisation, to the initiation of zygotic genome activation for preimplantation embryonic development. Recent studies have begun to uncover the indispensable functions of epigenetic players during gametogenesis, fertilisation and preimplantation embryo development, and a more comprehensive understanding of these early events will be informative in increasing pregnancy success rates, adding particular value to assisted fertility programmes.

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