The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 1565 - 1574 (2010)

Vol 54, Issue 11-12

Special Issue: Animal Cloning & Cell Reprogramming

DNA methylation reprogramming and DNA repair in the mouse zygote

Review | Published: 18 February 2011

Konstantin Lepikhov*, Mark Wossidlo, Julia Arand and Jörn Walter

University of Saarland, Institute for Genetics/Epigenetics, Saarbrücken, Germany


Here, we summarize current knowledge about epigenetic reprogramming during mammalian preimplantation development, as well as the potential mechanisms driving these processes. We will particularly focus on changes taking place in the zygote, where the paternally derived DNA and chromatin undergo the most striking alterations, such as replacement of protamines by histones, histone modifications and active DNA demethylation. The putative mechanisms of active paternal DNA demethylation have been studied for over a decade, accumulating a lot of circumstantial evidence for enzymatic activities provided by the oocyte, protection of the maternal genome against such activities and possible involvement of DNA repair. We will discuss the various facets of dynamic epigenetic changes related to DNA methylation with an emphasis on the putative involvement of DNA repair in DNA demethylation.


DNA repair, zygote, DNA demethylation, epigenetic reprogramming

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