Int. J. Dev. Biol. 57: 357 - 364 (2013)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.130051ji
© UPV/EHU Press

SMYD2 is induced during cell differentiation and participates in early development

Borja Sesé1, Maria J. Barrero1, Maria-Carme Fabregat1, Veronika Sander1 and Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte*,1,2

1Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain and 2Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA

ABSTRACT Histone modifying enzymes play critical roles in cell differentiation and development. In this study, we report that SMYD2 (SET and MYND domain containing protein 2), a histone lysine methyltransferase, is induced during human embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation and it is preferentially expressed in somatic cells versus pluripotent cells. Knockdown of SMYD2 in human ES cells promotes the induction of endodermal markers during differentiation, while overexpression has opposite effects. In vivo experiments in zebrafish revealed that knockdown of smyd2a (a homologue gene of human SMYD2) causes developmental delay and aberrant tail formation, which is coincident with low expression of ntl and over induction Nodal-related genes during gastrulation. Taken together, these findings suggest that SMYD2 plays a critical role at early stages of development and in human ES cell differentiation.

Keywords:

SMYD2, differentiation, development, stem cell, methyltransferase

*Corresponding author e-mail: belmonte@salk.edu