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Metabolic control of DNA methylation in naive pluripotent cells.

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Perrera, Valentina 
Audano, Matteo 
Rapelli, Stefania 


Naive epiblast and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) give rise to all cells of adults. Such developmental plasticity is associated with genome hypomethylation. Here, we show that LIF-Stat3 signaling induces genomic hypomethylation via metabolic reconfiguration. Stat3-/- ESCs show decreased α-ketoglutarate production from glutamine, leading to increased Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b expression and DNA methylation. Notably, genome methylation is dynamically controlled through modulation of α-ketoglutarate availability or Stat3 activation in mitochondria. Alpha-ketoglutarate links metabolism to the epigenome by reducing the expression of Otx2 and its targets Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. Genetic inactivation of Otx2 or Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b results in genomic hypomethylation even in the absence of active LIF-Stat3. Stat3-/- ESCs show increased methylation at imprinting control regions and altered expression of cognate transcripts. Single-cell analyses of Stat3-/- embryos confirmed the dysregulated expression of Otx2, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b as well as imprinted genes. Several cancers display Stat3 overactivation and abnormal DNA methylation; therefore, the molecular module that we describe might be exploited under pathological conditions.



Animals, Blastocyst, Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases, DNA Methylation, DNA Methyltransferase 3A, Embryonic Stem Cells, Gene Expression Regulation, Histones, Ketoglutaric Acids, Leukemia Inhibitory Factor, Mice, Knockout, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Otx Transcription Factors, Pluripotent Stem Cells, Promoter Regions, Genetic, STAT3 Transcription Factor, DNA Methyltransferase 3B, Mice

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Nat Genet

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17230)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/P003575/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/T007044/2)