Is imprinting the result of “friendly fire” by the host defense system?

Autoři: Miroslava Ondičová aff001;  Rebecca J. Oakey aff002;  Colum P. Walsh aff001
Působiště autorů: School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom aff001;  Department of Medical & Molecular Genetics, King’s College London, Guy’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: Is imprinting the result of “friendly fire” by the host defense system?. PLoS Genet 16(4): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008599
Kategorie: Review
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008599


In 1993, Denise Barlow proposed that genomic imprinting might have arisen from a host defense mechanism designed to inactivate retrotransposons. Although there were few examples at hand, she suggested that there should be maternal-specific and paternal-specific factors involved, with cognate imprinting boxes that they recognized; furthermore, the system should build on conserved biochemical factors, including DNA methylation, and maternal control should predominate for imprints. Here, we revisit this hypothesis in the light of recent advances in our understanding of host defense and DNA methylation and in particular, the link with Krüppel-associated box–zinc finger (KRAB-ZF) proteins.

Klíčová slova:

DNA methylation – DNA transcription – DNA-binding proteins – Genetic loci – Genomic imprinting – Mammalian genomics – Oocytes – Retrotransposons


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