Nature Communications, 17 May, 2019， DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10202-3
6mA-DNA-binding factor Jumu controls maternal-to-zygotic transition upstream of Zelda
Shunmin He, Guoqiang Zhang, Jiajia Wang, Yajie Gao, Ruidi Sun, Zhijie Cao, Zhenping Chen, Xiudeng Zheng, Jiao Yuan, Yuewan Luo, Xiaona Wang, Wenxin Zhang, Peng Zhang, Yi Zhao, Chuan He, Yi Tao, Qinmiao Sun & Dahua Chen
A long-standing question in the field of embryogenesis is how the zygotic genome is precisely activated by maternal factors, allowing normal early embryonic development. We have previously shown that N6-methyladenine (6mA) DNA modification is highly dynamic in early Drosophila embryos and forms an epigenetic mark. However, little is known about how 6mA-formed epigenetic information is decoded. Here we report that the Fox-family protein Jumu binds 6mA-marked DNA and acts as a maternal factor to regulate the maternal-to-zygotic transition. We find that zelda encoding the pioneer factor Zelda is marked by 6mA. Our genetic assays suggest that Jumu controls the proper zygotic genome activation (ZGA) in early embryos, at least in part, by regulating zelda expression. Thus, our findings not only support that the 6mA-formed epigenetic marks can be read by specific transcription factors, but also uncover a mechanism by which the Jumu regulates ZGA partially through Zelda in early embryos.