The role of Smarcad1 in retroviral repression in mouse embryonic stem cells

Igor Bren, Ayellet Tal, Carmit Strauss, Sharon Schlesinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) replication is suppressed in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by the Trim28-SETDB1 complex. The chromatin remodeler Smarcad1 interacts with Trim28 and was suggested to allow the deposition of the histone variant H3.3. However, the role of Trim28, H3.3, and Smarcad1 in MLV repression in ESCs still needs to be fully understood. Results: In this study, we used MLV to explore the role of Smarcad1 in retroviral silencing in ESCs. We show that Smarcad1 is immediately recruited to the MLV provirus. Based on the repression dynamics of a GFP-reporter MLV, our findings suggest that Smarcad1 plays a critical role in the establishment and maintenance of MLV repression, as well as other Trim28-targeted genomic loci. Furthermore, Smarcad1 is important for stabilizing and strengthening Trim28 binding to the provirus over time, and its presence around the provirus is needed for proper deposition of H3.3 on the provirus. Surprisingly, the combined depletion of Smarcad1 and Trim28 results in enhanced MLV derepression, suggesting that these two proteins may also function independently to maintain repressive chromatin states. Conclusions: Overall, the results of this study provide evidence for the crucial role of Smarcad1 in the silencing of retroviral elements in embryonic stem cells. Further research is needed to fully understand how Smarcad1 and Trim28 cooperate and their implications for gene expression and genomic stability.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number4
JournalMobile DNA
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Epigenetic silencing
  • H3.3
  • Retrovirus
  • Smarcad1
  • Trim28


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