Co-first author publication of Siwat Ruangroengkulrith
Gassler, J.#, Kobayashi, W.#, Gáspár, I.#, Ruangroengkulrith, S.#, Mohanan, A., Gómez Hernández, L., Kravchenko, P., Kümmecke, M., Lalic, A., Rifel, N., Ashburn, R.J., Zaczek, M., Vallot, A., Cuenca Rico, L., Ladstätter, S., and Tachibana, K.
(#equal contribution) (IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
Science, 2022, 378, 1305-1315.
Life begins with a switch in genetic control from the maternal to the embryonic genome during zygotic genome activation (ZGA). Despite its importance, the essential regulators of ZGA remain largely unknown in mammals. On the basis of de novo motif searches, we identified the orphan nuclear receptor Nr5a2 as a key activator of major ZGA in mouse two-cell embryos. Nr5a2 is required for progression beyond the two-cell stage. It binds to its motif within SINE B1/Alu retrotransposable elements found in cis-regulatory regions of ZGA genes. Chemical inhibition suggests that 72% of ZGA genes are regulated by Nr5a2 and potentially other orphan nuclear receptors. Nr5a2 promotes chromatin accessibility during ZGA and binds nucleosomal DNA in vitro. We conclude that Nr5a2 is an essential pioneer factor that regulates ZGA.