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Imprinting control regions (ICRs) often harbor tandem arrays of transcription factor binding sites, as demonstrated by the identification of multiple YY1 binding sites within the ICRs of Peg3, Nespas, and Xist/Tsix domains. In the current study, we have sought to characterize possible roles for YY1 in transcriptional control and epigenetic modification of these imprinted domains. RNA interference-based knockdown experiments in Neuro2A cells resulted in overall transcriptional up-regulation of most of the imprinted genes within the Peg3 domain and also, concomitantly, caused significant loss in the DNA methylation of the Peg3 differentially methylated region. A similar overall and coordinated expression change was also observed for the imprinted genes of the Gnas domain: up-regulation of Nespas and down-regulation of Nesp and Gnasxl. YY1 knockdown also resulted in changes in the expression levels of Xist and Snrpn. These results support the idea that YY1 plays a major role, as a trans factor, in the control of these imprinted domains.

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