Polycomb protein SCML2 facilitates H3K27me3 to establish bivalent domains in the male germline

So Maezawa, Kazuteru Hasegawa, Masashi Yukawa, Naoki Kubo, Akihiko Sakashita, Kris G. Alavattam, Ho Su Sin, Andrey V. Kartashov, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Artem Barski, Satoshi H. Namekawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Repressive H3K27me3 and active H3K4me2/3 together form bivalent chromatin domains, molecular hallmarks of developmental potential. In the male germline, these domains are thought to persist into sperm to establish totipotency in the next generation. However, it remains unknown how H3K27me3 is established on specific targets in the male germline. Here, we demonstrate that a germline-specific Polycomb protein, SCML2, binds to H3K4me2/3-rich hypomethylated promoters in undifferentiated spermatogonia to facilitate H3K27me3. Thus, SCML2 establishes bivalent domains in the male germline of mice. SCML2 regulates two major classes of bivalent domains: Class I domains are established on developmental regulator genes that are silent throughout spermatogenesis, while class II domains are established on somatic genes silenced during late spermatogenesis. We propose that SCML2-dependent H3K27me3 in the male germline prepares the expression of developmental regulator and somatic genes in embryonic development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4957-4962
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 8
Externally publishedYes


  • Bivalent domains
  • Germline
  • Meiosis
  • Polycomb
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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