After fertilization of the transcriptionally silent oocyte, expression from both parental chromosomes is launched through so-called zygotic genome activation (ZGA), occurring in the mouse at the 2-cell stage. Amongst the first elements to be transcribed are the Dux gene, the product of which secondarily induces a wide array of ZGA genes, and a subset of evolutionary recent LINE-1 retrotransposons, which regulate chromatin accessibility in the early embryo. The maternally-inherited factors that activate Dux and LINE-1 transcription have so far remained unknown. Here we identify the paralog proteins DPPA2 and DPPA4 as responsible for this process.
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