Epigenetic modifications of stem cell genome including DNA methylation and histone modifications are critical for the regulation of stem cell gene expression and maintenance of stem cell pool and their differentiation. Although the importance of epigenetic modifications specifically DNA methylation to adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) has been established, the identity of specific modulators and precise mechanism of integration of methylation events remain to be uncovered. In this issue, Shuai and colleagues identify the SUMO E3 ligase PIAS1 (protein inhibitor of activated STAT1) as a key regulator of DNA methylation of HSC required for their maintenance and lineage commitment (Liu et al, 2014).