DNA hypermethylation enhanced telomerase reverse transcriptase expression in human-induced pluripotent stem cells.

Research paper by Ken K Takasawa, Yoshikazu Y Arai, Mayu M Yamazaki-Inoue, Masashi M Toyoda, Hidenori H Akutsu, Akihiro A Umezawa, Koichiro K Nishino

Indexed on: 06 Nov '17Published on: 06 Nov '17Published in: Human Cell


During reprogramming into human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), several stem cell marker genes are induced, such as OCT-4, NANOG, SALL4, and TERT. OCT-4, NANOG, and SALL4 gene expression can be regulated by DNA methylation. Their promoters become hypomethylated in iPSCs during reprogramming, leading to their induced expression. However, epigenetic regulation of the TERT gene remains unclear. In this study, we focused on epigenetic regulation of the human TERT gene and identified a differentially methylated region (DMR) at a distal region in the TERT promoter between human iPSCs and their parental somatic cells. Interestingly, the TERT-DMR was highly methylated in iPSCs, but low-level methylation was observed in their parental somatic cells. Region-specific, methylated-promoter assays showed that the methylated TERT-DMR up-regulated the promoter activity in iPSCs. In addition, Lamin B1 accumulated at the TERT-DMR in iPSCs, but not in their parent somatic cells. These results suggested that the TERT transcription was enhanced by DNA methylation at the TERT-DMR via binding to nuclear lamina during reprogramming. Our findings shed light on a new functional aspect of DNA methylation in gene expression.