Genomic imprinting results in the monoallelic expression of genes that encode important regulators of growth and proliferation. Dysregulation of imprinted genes, such as those within the Dlk1-Dio3 locus, is associated with developmental syndromes and specific diseases. Our ability to interrogate causes of imprinting instability has been hindered by the absence of suitable model systems. Here, we describe a Dlk1 knockin reporter mouse that enables single-cell visualization of allele-specific expression and prospective isolation of cells, simultaneously. We show that this “imprinting reporter mouse” can be used to detect tissue-specific Dlk1 expression patterns in developing embryos. We also apply this system to pluripotent cell culture and demonstrate that it faithfully indicates DNA methylation changes induced upon cellular reprogramming. Finally, the reporter system reveals a role of elevated oxygen levels in eroding imprinted Dlk1 expression during prolonged culture and in vitro differentiation. The possibility to study allele-specific expression in different contexts makes our reporter system a useful tool to dissect the regulation of genomic imprinting in normal development and disease.
- Received April 5, 2016.
- Accepted September 29, 2016.
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