Germ cell-specific genes such as Ddx4, Dnd1, and Dazl play critical roles in the proliferation and survival of germ cells. However, the methylation state of the promoter in mature germ cells is still unknown. Here, we investigated the methylation levels of these genes and the pluripotency marker gene Nanog in chicken sperm as compared with the Alb gene in the liver. CpG islands and/or promoter motifs such as TATA box, GC box and CAAT box were found within the putative promoter regions that we identified. By using the bisulfite reaction, CpG sites in the putative promoters were converted, and they were analyzed by sequencing. The putative promoters of Ddx4, Dnd1, Dazl and Nanog showed very low methylation levels in sperm, but they were highly methylated in the liver. Conversely, the Alb gene promoter was highly methylated in sperm and hypomethylated in the liver. However, no transcripts of Ddx4, Dnd1, Dazl and Nanog were detected in sperm or the liver. Also, no transcripts of Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a were detected in sperm. Our present results may indicate that these germ cell-specific genes and the pluripotency marker gene are ready to express any time after fertilization. Our findings showing that low methylation and selective DNA methylation of specific genes are present in chicken sperm contribute to our understanding of fertilization and embryogenesis of birds.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology