The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 295 - 300 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 4

Comparative expression analysis of the H3K27 demethylases, JMJD3 and UTX, with the H3K27 methylase, EZH2, in Xenopus

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 30 March 2012

Akane Kawaguchi1, Haruki Ochi1,2, Norihiro Sudou1,2 and Hajime Ogino*,1,2

1Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) and 2JST, CREST, Nara, Japan.


The regulated removal of the gene-silencing epigenetic mark, trimethylation of lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3), has been shown to be critical for tissue-specific activation of developmental genes; however, the extent of embryonic expression of its demethylases, JMJD3 and UTX, has remained unclear. In this study, we investigated the expression of jmjd3 and utx genes in Xenopus embryos in parallel with that of the H3K27 methylase gene, ezh2. At the blastula stage, jmjd3, utx and ezh2 showed similar expression patterns in the animal cap and marginal zone that give rise to the ectoderm and mesoderm, respectively. The three genes maintained similar expression patterns in the neural plate, preplacodal ectoderm and axial mesoderm during the gastrula and neurula stages. Later, expression was maintained in the developing brain and cranial sensory tissues, such as the eye and ear, of tailbud embryos. These findings suggest that the H3K27 demethylases and methylase may function continuously for progressive switching of genetic programs during neural development, a model involving the simultaneous action of both of the demethylases for the de-repression of silent genes and the methylase for the silencing of active genes.


H3K27, demethylase, methylase, Xenopus

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