Lsh Participates in DNA Methylation and Silencing of Stem Cell Genes§


  • Author contributions: S.X., T.M.G., V.B., and Y.G.T.: conception and design, collection of data, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript writing, final approval of manuscript; H.X.: collection of data, final approval of manuscript; K.M.: conception and design, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript writing, final approval of manuscript.

  • Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

  • §

    First published online in STEM CELLS EXPRESS 2009.


Transcriptional control of stem cell genes is a critical step in differentiation of embryonic stem cells and in reprogramming of somatic cells into stem cells. Here we report that Lsh, a regulator of repressive chromatin at retrotransposons, also plays an important role in silencing of stem cell-specific genes such as Oct4. We found that CpG methylation is gained during in vitro differentiation of several stem cell-specific genes (in 11 of 12 promoter regions) and thus appears to be a common epigenetic mark. Lsh depletion prevents complete silencing of stem cell gene expression and moreover promotes the maintenance of stem cell characteristics in culture. Lsh is required for establishment of DNA methylation patterns at stem cell genes during differentiation, in part by regulating access of Dnmt3b to its genomic targets. Our results indicate that Lsh is involved in the control of stem cell genes and suggest that Lsh is an important epigenetic modulator during early stem cell differentiation. STEM CELLS 2009;27:2691–2702