The de novo DNA methyltransferases, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b, are responsible for the creation of DNA methylation patterns in mouse development. Dnmt3b is more highly expressed in early developmental stages than Dnmt3a, and is thought to have an important role in the epigenetic gene regulation during early embryogenesis. Previous reports suggest that Dnmt3b is expressed preferentially in the embryonic lineage, but less in the extra-embryonic lineage, in early post-implantation embryos. However, it is unclear when this lineage-specific differential expression is established. Here we demonstrate that Dnmt3b shows a dynamic expression change during pre- and early post-implantation development. Contrary to the expectation, Dnmt3b is preferentially expressed in the trophectoderm rather than the inner cell mass at the mid blastocyst stage. Subsequently, the spatial Dnmt3b expression gradually changes during pre- and early post-implantation development, and finally Dnmt3b expression is settled in the embryonic lineage at the epiblast stage. The findings are consistent with the role for Dnmt3b in cell-lineage specification and the creation of lineage-specific DNA methylation patterns.
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