Dev Cell. 2020;[Epub ahead of print] doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2020.04.018
Embryonic genome activation (EGA) is orchestrated by an intrinsic developmental program initiated during oocyte maturation with translation of stored maternal mRNAs. Here, we show that tankyrase, a poly(ADP-ribosyl) polymerase that regulates β-catenin levels, undergoes programmed translation during oocyte maturation and serves an essential role in mouse EGA. Newly translated TNKS triggers proteasomal degradation of axin, reducing targeted destruction of β-catenin and promoting β-catenin-mediated transcription of target genes, including Myc. MYC mediates ribosomal RNA transcription in 2-cell embryos, supporting global protein synthesis. Suppression of tankyrase activity using knockdown or chemical inhibition causes loss of nuclear β-catenin and global reductions in transcription and histone H3 acetylation. Chromatin and transcriptional profiling indicate that development arrests prior to the mid-2-cell stage, mediated in part by reductions in β-catenin and MYC. These findings indicate that post-transcriptional regulation of tankyrase serves as a ligand-independent developmental mechanism for post-translational β-catenin activation and is required to complete EGA.
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