Abstract

Somatic cell nuclear transfer has established that the oocyte contains maternal factors with epigenetic reprogramming capacity. Yet the identity and function of these maternal factors during the gamete to embryo transition remains poorly understood. In C. elegans, LSD1/KDM1A enables this transition by removing H3K4me2 and preventing the transgenerational inheritance of transcription patterns. Here we show that loss of maternal LSD1/KDM1A in mice results in embryonic arrest at the 1-2 cell stage, with arrested embryos failing to undergo the maternal-to-zygotic transition. This suggests that LSD1/KDM1A maternal reprogramming is conserved. Moreover, partial loss of maternal LSD1/KDM1A results in striking phenotypes weeks after fertilization; including perinatal lethality and abnormal behavior in surviving adults. These maternal effect hypomorphic phenotypes are associated with alterations in DNA methylation and expression at imprinted genes. These results establish a novel mammalian paradigm where defects in early epigenetic reprogramming can lead to defects that manifest later in development.