University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; Program in Molecular Medicine; Diabetes Center of Excellence; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Article Preprint


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Developmental Biology | Embryonic Structures | Genetic Phenomena | Genetics and Genomics


Animal embryogenesis is initiated by maternal factors, but zygotic genome activation (ZGA) shifts control to the embryo at early blastula stages. ZGA is thought to be mediated by specialized maternally deposited transcription factors (TFs), but here we demonstrate that NF-Y and TALE – TFs with known later roles in embryogenesis – co-occupy unique genomic elements at zebrafish ZGA. We show that these elements are selectively associated with early-expressed genes involved in transcriptional regulation and possess enhancer activity in vivo. In contrast, we find that elements individually occupied by either NF-Y or TALE are associated with genes acting later in development – such that NF-Y controls a cilia gene expression program while TALE TFs control expression of hox genes. We conclude that NF-Y and TALE have a shared role at ZGA, but separate roles later during development, demonstrating that combinations of known TFs can regulate subsets of key developmental genes at vertebrate ZGA.


transcription, embryogenesis, maternal, zygotic, enhancer, nucleosome, pioneer factor, epigenetics, Developmental Biology

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The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not peer-reviewed) is the author/funder. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.

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bioRxiv 720102; doi: Link to preprint on bioRxiv service.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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