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Covalent modification of DNA distinguishes cellular identities and is crucial for regulating the pluripotency and differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells. The recent demonstration that 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) may be further modified to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) in ES cells has revealed a novel regulatory paradigm to modulate the epigenetic landscape of pluripotency. To understand the role of 5-hmC in the epigenomic landscape of pluripotent cells, here we profile the genome-wide 5-hmC distribution and correlate it with the genomic profiles of 11 diverse histone modifications and six transcription factors in human ES cells. By integrating genomic 5-hmC signals with maps of histone enrichment, we link particular pluripotency-associated chromatin contexts with 5-hmC. Intriguingly, through additional correlations with defined chromatin signatures at promoter and enhancer subtypes, we show distinct enrichment of 5-hmC at enhancers marked with H3K4me1 and H3K27ac. These results suggest potential role(s) for 5-hmC in the regulation of specific promoters and enhancers. In addition, our results provide a detailed epigenomic map of 5-hmC from which to pursue future functional studies on the diverse regulatory roles associated with 5-hmC.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pgen.1002154

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS Genet

Publication Date

06/2011

Volume

7

Keywords

5-Methylcytosine, Binding Sites, Cell Line, Chromosome Mapping, Cytosine, DNA Methylation, Embryonic Stem Cells, Epigenomics, Gene Expression Regulation, Gene Library, Genome, Human, Heterochromatin, Histones, Humans, Immunoblotting, Metaphase, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Sequence Alignment, Transcription Factors