Astrocytes are generated from neuroepithelial cells after neurons during brain development. However, the mechanism of this sequential generation is not fully understood. Here, we show that a particular cytosine residue in the promoter of the gene encoding the immature astrocyte marker, S100β, becomes demethylated, correlating with the time when the S100β expression commences at embryonic day (E) 14. In addition, astrocyte-inducing cytokine, BMP2, increased histone acetylation around the CpG site in neuroepithelial cells at E14 but not E11 when S100β expressing astrocytes are absent. Furthermore, binding of a methyl DNA binding protein, MeCP2, to the S100β gene promoter in neuroepithelial cells was reduced at E14 compared to E11. Thus, demethylation of specific CpG site is suggested to be a critical determinant in regulating astrocyte differentiation in the developing brain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology