The dynamic interaction of DNA methylation and transcription factor binding in regulating spatiotemporal gene expression is essential for embryogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms remain understudied. In this study, using mouse models and integration of in vitro and in vivo genetic and epigenetic analyses, we show that the binding of REST (repressor element 1 (RE1) silencing transcription factor; also known as NRSF) to its cognate RE1 sequences is temporally regulated by non-CpGmethylation. This process is dependent on DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and leads to suppression of adult cardiac genes in developing hearts. We demonstrate that DNMT3B preferentially mediates non-CpG methylation of REST-targeted genes in the developing heart. Downregulation of DNMT3B results in decreased non-CpG methylation of RE1 sequences, reduced REST occupancy, and consequently release of the transcription suppression during later cardiac development. Together, these findings reveal a critical gene silencingmechanism in developing mammalian hearts that is regulated by the dynamic interaction of DNMT3B-mediated non-CpG methylation and REST binding.
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