Antoine H.F.M. Peters

Group News

Aug 22, 2022
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May 12, 2020
A novel pathway ensuring chromosome stability in early mice embryo
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Stem Cell Center of Competence

Antoine H.F.M. Peters

Intergenerational and developmental epigenetics

Through the modulation of chromatin states, epigenetic mechanisms contribute to the reading of genetic information. Classically, epigenetic regulators are known to play conserved roles in the heritability of cell identity during somatic differentiation and in genome stability. More recent studies have shown that certain epigenetic modifiers also regulate the maintenance of differentiation potential and self-renewal capacity in stem cells.

Remarkably little is known about the epigenetic mechanisms regulating the acquisition of totipotency and subsequent lineage specification during early mammalian development. In mammals, fusion of an oocyte and a spermatozoon, two differentiated and transcriptionally silent germ cells, leads to the formation of the totipotent embryo. Based on nuclear transfer experiments, we and others suggested that epigenetic reprogramming occurring during gametogenesis facilitates re-acquisition of totipotency in early embryos. This hypothesis argues for a transgenerational epigenetic contribution towards early development.

Our research aims at obtaining a molecular understanding of the role of distinct epigenetic pathways in the control of gene regulation and lineage specification in pre-implantation embryos. We further investigate the functional significance of transmission of histone modifications for gene activity or repression in the subsequent generation.

Antoine H.F.M. Peters

This is a list of selected publications from this group. For a full list of publications, please visit our Publications page and search by group name.

Stäubli A. and A.H.F.M. Peters (2021) Mechanisms of maternal intergenerational epigenetic inheritance.

Current Opinion in Genetics & Developmental 67: 151-162 (open access).

Liu Z., Tardat M., Gill M., Royo H., Thierry R., Ozonov E.A. and A.H.F.M Peters (2020) SUMOylated PRC1 controls histone H3.3 deposition and genome integrity of embryonic heterochromatin.

EMBO Journal 39: e103697 (open access)

Du Z.*, Zheng H.*, Kawamura Y.K.*, Zhang K.*, Gassler J., Powell S., Xu Q., Lin Z., Xu K., Zhou Q., Ozonov E.A., Véron N., Huang B., Li L., Yu G., Liu L., Au Yeung W.K., Wang P., Chang L., Wang Q., He A., Sun Y., Na J., Sun Q., Sasaki H., Tachibana K., Peters A.H.F.M. # and W. Xie# (2020) Polycomb Group Proteins Regulate Chromatin Architecture in Mouse Oocytes and Early Embryos.

Molecular Cell 77(4): 825-839
Shared *first and # corresponding authorships.

Leonards K.*, Almosailleakh M.*,Tauchmann S.*, Otzen Bagger F.*, Thirant C., Juge S., Bock T., Mereau H., Bezzera M., Tzankov A., Ivanek R., Losson R., Peters A.H.F.M., Mercher T., and J. Schwaller (2020) Nuclear interacting SET domain protein 1 inactivation impairs GATA1-regulated erythroid differentiation and causes erythroleukemia.

Nat Commun 11, 2807 (open access)
* shared first authorship

Mark E. Gill, Antoine H. F. M. Peters (2018) Toward human egg-like cells in vitro

Science 362/ 6412: 291-292

Stavropoulou V, Kaspar S, Brault L, Sanders MA, Juge S, Morettini S, Tzankov A, Iacovino M, Lau IJ, Milne TA, Royo H, Kyba M, Valk PJ, Peters AH*, Schwaller J* (2016) MLL-AF9 expression in hematopoietic stem cells drives a highly invasive AML expressing EMT-related genes linked to poor outcome

Cancer Cell 30:43-58
* shared corresponding authorship

Eymery A, Liu Z*, Ozonov EA*, Stadler MB, Peters AH (2016) The methyltransferase Setdb1 is essential for meiosis and mitosis in mouse oocytes and early embryos

Development 143:2767-2779
* shared authorship

Royo H, Stadler MB*, Peters AH* (2016) Alternative computational analysis shows no evidence for nucleosome enrichment at repetitive sequences in mammalian spermatozoa

Dev Cell 37:98-104
* shared corresponding authorship

Siklenka K*, Erkek S*, Godmann M, Lambrot R, McGraw S, Lafleur C, Cohen T, Xia J, Suderman M, Hallett M, Trasler J, Peters AHFM#, Kimmins S# (2015) Disruption of histone methylation in developing sperm impairs offspring health transgenerationally

Science 350:aab2006
* co-first authorship and # corresponding authors

Tardat M*, Albert M*, Kunzmann R, Liu Z, Kaustov L, Thierry R, Duan S, Brykczynska U, Arrowsmith CH, Peters AHFM (2015) Cbx2 targets PRC1 to constitutive heterochromatin in mouse zygotes in a parent-of-origin-dependent manner

Mol Cell 58:157-7
* co-first authorship

van de Werken C, van der Heijden GW, Eleveld C, Teeuwssen M, Albert M, Baarends WM, Laven JS, Peters AHFM, Baart EB (2014) Paternal heterochromatin formation in human embryos is H3K9/HP1 directed and primed by sperm-derived histone modifications

Nat Commun 5:5868

Hisano M, Erkek S, Dessus-Babus S, Ramos L, Stadler MB, Peters AHFM (2013) Genome-wide chromatin analysis in mature mouse and human spermatozoa

Nature Protocol 8:2449-2470

Erkek S, Hisano M, Liang C-Y, Gill M, Murr R, Dieker J, Schübeler D, van der Vlag J, Stadler MB, Peters AHFM (2013) Molecular determinants of nucleosome retention at CpG-rich sequences in mouse spermatozoa

Nat Struct Mol Biol 20: 868-875

Yokobayashi S, Liang C-Y, Kohler H, Nestorov P, Liu Z, Vidal M, van Lohuizen M, Roloff TC, Peters AHFM (2013) PRC1 coordinates timing of sexual differentiation of female primordial germ cells

Nature 495: 236-240

Posfai E, Kunzmann R, Brochard V, Salvaing J, Cabuy E, Roloff TC, Liu Z, Tardat M, van Lohuizen M, Vidal M, Beaujean N, Peters AHFM (2012) Polycomb function during oogenesis is required for mouse embryonic development

Genes Dev 26:920-32

Gill ME, Erkek S, Peters AHFM (2012) Parental epigenetic control of embryogenesis: a balance between inheritance and reprogramming?

Curr Opin Cell Biol 24:387-96

Brykczynska U, Hisano M, Erkek S, Ramos L, Oakeley EJ, Roloff TC, Beisel C, Schübeler D, Stadler MB, Peters AHFM (2010) Repressive and active histone methylation mark distinct promoters in human and mouse spermatozoa

Nat Struct Mol Biol 17:679-687

Puschendorf M, Terranova R, Boutsma E, Mao X, Isono KI, Brykczynska U, Kolb C, Otte AP, Koseki H, Orkin SH, van Lohuizen M, Peters AHFM (2008) PRC1 and Suv39h specify parental asymmetry at constitutive heterochromatin in early mouse embryos

Nat Genet 40:411-420
This paper is highlighted in: Packer A (2008) Epigenetics: across the generations. Nat Rev Gen 9:248-249

Terranova R, Yokobayashi S, Stadler MB, Otte AP, van Lohuizen M, Orkin SH, Peters AHFM (2008) Polycomb group proteins Ezh2 and Rnf2 direct genomic contraction and imprinted repression in early mouse embryos

Dev Cell 15:668-679
This paper is highlighted in: Wu H-U, Bernstein E (2008) Partners in imprinting: non-coding RNA and polycomb group proteins. Dev Cell 15:637-638

Full list of publications
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Group leader

In current position since 2004
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PhD students

In current position since 2018
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In current position since 2020
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In current position since 2020
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Postdoctoral fellows

In current position since 2016
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Technical/Research associates

In current position since 2018
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In current position since 2004
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Visiting scientists

In current position since 2019
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In current position since 2021
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External scientific collaborators

Vaya Stavropoulou (2007-2014)

PhD students

Eleonora Castelli (2018-2023)
Laura Gaspa Toneu (2015-2022)
Andrina Staeubli (2019-2021)
Lucia Pelloni (2015-2021)
Julia Bammer (2014-2018)
Philipp Bammer (2014-2018)
Ching-Yeu Liang (2010-2015)
Peter Nestorov (2009-2015)
Susanne Kaspar (2010-2014)
Serap Erkek (2008-2013)
Rico Kunzmann (2007-2011)
Eszter Posfai (2005-2011)
Urszula Brykczynska Kunzmann (2004-2009)
Mareike Puschendorf (2004-2008)
Tianke Wang (2005-2007)

Postdoctoral fellows

Yumiko Kitazawa (2016-2023)
Nhuong Nguyen (2018-2022)
Deepankar Singh (2014-2020)
Mark Gill (2011-2018)
Zichuan Liu (2011-2018)
Evgeniy Ozonov (2014-2017)
Helene Royo (2013-2017)
Mathieu Tardat (2011-2017)
Petr Strnad (2015-2016)
Andrea Boni (2015-2016)
Angeline Eymery (2010-2015)
Jorrit Tjeertes (2012-2013)
Stefano Morettini (2010-2013)
Nathalie Veron (2010-2013)
Shihori Yokobayashi (2006-2012)
Mizue Hisano (2008-2011)
Remi Terranova (2005-2009)
Philip Hublitz (2005-2008)
Pawel Pelczar (2004-2005)

Technical/Research associates

Zoe Gruenig (2019-2021)
Raphael Ortiz (2019-2020)
Alexia Rohmer (2019-2020)
Markus Rempfler (2018)
Xiaojun Hou (2015)
Carolin Kolb (2006-2008)


Daniel Ballmer (2018-2020)
Alexia Rohmer (2018)
Alexander Hanzl (2015-2016)
Olivier Svensek (2015)
Franziska Ackermann (2014)
Mattias Gedde (2014)
Sabine Vreeburg (2013)
Janine Zankl (2009-2010)
Diana Nijholt (2006-2007)
Carolin Kolb (2005-2006)
Anthony Kelly (2004-2005)

Visiting scientists

Zichuan Liu (2018-2019)
Sunwoo Chun (2014-2017)
Eszter Posfai (2011)
Tomoko Nakanishi (2010)
Mizue Hisano (2007-2008)


PhD in Genetics, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands
MSc in Molecular Sciences, Cum Laude, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands

Positions held

Adjunct Professor of Epigenetics, University of Basel, Basel
Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Junior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Staff Scientist, Research Institute for Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Institute for Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, USA


EMBO member
EMBO Young Investigator Award
Member, Epigenome Network of Excellence
"Talent" Fellowship, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)