Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

TET function in development

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1135-1136
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1135-d

In development, cell fate commitment enables the generation of the body's specialized cells. When one fate is targeted, other paths must be prevented. DNA methylation of CpG dinucleotides is key for such molecular repression. However, the erasure of DNA methylation is also critical in development and occurs at specific times, such as during embryonic postimplantation. The ten-eleven translocation (TET) genes perform this role. Khoueiry et al. now identify a methylation-independent role for TET1 to repress genes involved in the differentiation of epiblast and extraembryonic ectoderm through regulation of the transcriptional repressor JMJD8. Embryonic defects result if TET1 is removed. Hence, the well-known demethylase has critical functions in normal development through both catalytic and noncatalytic activities.

Nat. Gen. 10.1038/ng.3868 (2017).

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