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© 2016 He et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Usp29 (Ubiquitin-specific protease 29) is a paternally expressed gene located upstream of another imprinted gene Peg3. In the current study, the transcription of this long coding gene spanning a 250-kb genomic distance was truncated using a knockin allele. According to the results, paternal transmission of the mutant allele resulted in reduced body and litter sizes whereas the maternal transmission caused no obvious effects. In the paternal mutant, the expression levels of Usp29 were reduced to 14-18% level of the wild-type littermates due to the Poly-A signal included in the knockin cassette. Expression analyses further revealed an unusual female-specific up-regulation of the adjacent imprinted gene Zfp264 in the mutant. Consistent with this, the promoter of Zfp264 was hypomethylated only in the female mutant. Interestingly, this female-specific hypomethylation by the knockin allele was not detected in the offspring of an interspecific crossing, indicating its sensitivity to genetic background. Overall, the results suggest that the transcription of Usp29 may be involved in DNA methylation setting of Zfp264 promoter in a sex-specific manner.

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