ATRX partners with cohesin and MeCP2 and contributes to developmental silencing of imprinted genes in the brain.

Research paper by Kristin D KD Kernohan, Yan Y Jiang, Deanna C DC Tremblay, Anne C AC Bonvissuto, James H JH Eubanks, Mellissa R W MR Mann, Nathalie G NG Bérubé

Indexed on: 18 Feb '10Published on: 18 Feb '10Published in: Developmental Cell


Human developmental disorders caused by chromatin dysfunction often display overlapping clinical manifestations, such as cognitive deficits, but the underlying molecular links are poorly defined. Here, we show that ATRX, MeCP2, and cohesin, chromatin regulators implicated in ATR-X, RTT, and CdLS syndromes, respectively, interact in the brain and colocalize at the H19 imprinting control region (ICR) with preferential binding on the maternal allele. Importantly, we show that ATRX loss of function alters enrichment of cohesin, CTCF, and histone modifications at the H19 ICR, without affecting DNA methylation on the paternal allele. ATRX also affects cohesin, CTCF, and MeCP2 occupancy within the Gtl2/Dlk1 imprinted domain. Finally, we show that loss of ATRX interferes with the postnatal silencing of the maternal H19 gene along with a larger network of imprinted genes. We propose that ATRX, cohesin, and MeCP2 cooperate to silence a subset of imprinted genes in the postnatal mouse brain.