Molecular targets of chromatin marks H3K4ME3, H3K9ME3 and H3K27ME3 in an adult germinal niche
Neural stem cells (NSCs) participate in a delicate balance between maintaining cellular identity through self-renewal and differentiating into myriad neural cell types. Understanding exactly how epigenetic mechanisms regulate this balance and the subsequent differentiation process in adult mammalian brain is an ongoing effort. We conducted a genome wide association study to elucidate the roles of genes in neural progenitors regulated by chromatin modifications. Neural progenitors of baboon SVZ were examined using ChIP-Seq (chromatin immuneprecipitation followed by deep sequencing) to determine genome wide gene targets of three histone modifications: H3K4me3, H3K9me3 and H3K27me3. Our data suggest these chromatin marks are associated with genes responsible for cellular organization and morphology, proliferation and survival, neuron development. Taken together these processes suggest histone modifications, predominantly H3K27me3, are responsible for maintenance of NSC identity. Our findings also highlight the importance of using in vivo models to study the SVZ neurogenic niche and compel examination of the H3K27me3 catalyzing enzyme EZH2. In the future, the role of EZH2 will be determined by EZH2 conditional knockout and overexpression models, using stereotaxic injections of novel Cre protein and lentiviral delivery of EZH2, respectively.