Article open access publication

Maternal expression of the JMJD2A/KDM4A histone demethylase is critical for pre-implantation development

Development, The Company of Biologists, ISSN 0950-1991

Volume 144, 18, 2017

DOI:10.1242/dev.155473, Dimensions: pub.1091289589, PMID: 28827393,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) University of Turku, grid.1374.1
  3. (3) University of Gothenburg, grid.8761.8








Regulation of chromatin composition through post-translational modifications of histones contributes to transcriptional regulation and is essential for many cellular processes, including differentiation and development. KDM4A (JMJD2A) is a lysine demethylase with specificity towards di- and tri-methylated lysine 9 and lysine 36 of histone H3 (H3K9me2/me3 and H3K36me2/me3). Here, we report that Kdm4a as a maternal factor plays a key role in embryo survival and is vital for female fertility. Kdm4a-/- female mice ovulate normally with comparable fertilization but poor implantation rates, and cannot support healthy transplanted embryos to term. This is due to a role for Kdm4a in uterine function, where its loss causes reduced expression of key genes involved in ion transport, nutrient supply and cytokine signalling, which impact embryo survival. In addition, a significant proportion of Kdm4a-deficient oocytes displays a poor intrinsic ability to develop into blastocysts. These embryos cannot compete with healthy embryos for implantation in vivo, highlighting Kdm4a as a maternal effect gene. Thus, our study dissects an important dual role for maternal Kdm4a in determining faithful early embryonic development and the implantation process.


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Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 4.13

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 0.98

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