Nucleic acids research

A novel requirement for DROSHA in maintenance of mammalian CG methylation.

PMID 28934503


In mammals, faithful inheritance of genomic methylation patterns ensures proper gene regulation and cell behaviour, impacting normal development and fertility. Following establishment, genomic methylation patterns are transmitted through S-phase by the maintenance methyltransferase Dnmt1. Using a protein interaction screen, we identify Microprocessor component DROSHA as a novel DNMT1-interactor. Drosha-deficient embryonic stem (ES) cells display genomic hypomethylation that is not accounted for by changes in the levels of DNMT proteins. DNMT1-mediated methyltransferase activity is also reduced in these cells. We identify two transcripts that are specifically upregulated in Drosha- but not Dicer-deficient ES cells. Regions within these transcripts predicted to form stem-loop structures are processed by Microprocessor and can inhibit DNMT1-mediated methylation in vitro. Our results highlight DROSHA as a novel regulator of mammalian DNA methylation and we propose that DROSHA-mediated processing of RNA is necessary to ensure full DNMT1 activity. This adds to the DROSHA repertoire of non-miRNA dependent functions as well as implicating RNA in regulating DNMT1 activity and correct levels of genomic methylation.