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The mammalian Peg3 domain harbors more than 20 evolutionarily conserved regions (ECRs) that are spread over the 250-kb genomic interval. The majority of these ECRs are marked with two histone modifications, H3K4me1 and H3K27ac, suggesting potential roles as distant regulatory elements for the transcription of the nearby imprinted genes. In the current study, the chromatin conformation capture (3C) method was utilized to detect potential interactions of these ECRs with the imprinted genes. According to the results, one region, ECR18, located 200-kb upstream of Peg3 interacts with the two promoter regions of Peg3 and Zim2. The observed interaction is most prominent in brain, but was also detected in testis. Histone modification and DNA methylation on ECR18 show no allele bias, implying that this region is likely functional on both alleles. In vitro assays also reveal ECR18 as a potential enhancer or repressor for the promoter of Peg3. Overall, these results indicate that the promoters of several imprinted genes in the Peg3 domain interact with one evolutionarily conserved region, ECR18, and further suggest that ECR18 may play key roles in the transcription and imprinting control of the Peg3 domain as a distant regulatory element. © 2013 Thiaville et al.

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