Gert Jan C. Veenstra

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Epigenetic mechanisms set apart the active and inactive regions in the genome of multicellular organisms to produce distinct cell fates during embryogenesis. Here, we report on the epigenetic and transcriptome genome-wide maps of gastrula-stage Xenopus tropicalis embryos using massive parallel sequencing of cDNA (RNA-seq) and DNA obtained by chromatin(More)
DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification in the genomes of higher eukaryotes. In vertebrates, DNA methylation occurs predominantly on the CpG dinucleotide, and approximately 60% to 90% of these dinucleotides are modified. Distinct DNA methylation patterns, which can vary between different tissues and developmental stages, exist on specific loci.(More)
Ten-Eleven Translocation (Tet) family of dioxygenases dynamically regulates DNA methylation and has been implicated in cell lineage differentiation and oncogenesis. Yet their functions and mechanisms of action in gene regulation and embryonic development are largely unknown. Here, we report that Xenopus Tet3 plays an essential role in early eye and neural(More)
The generation of distinctive cell types that form different tissues and organs requires precise, temporal and spatial control of gene expression. This depends on specific cis-regulatory elements distributed in the noncoding DNA surrounding their target genes. Studies performed on mammalian embryonic stem cells and Drosophila embryos suggest that active(More)
DNA methylation is a tightly regulated epigenetic mark associated with transcriptional repression. Next-generation sequencing of purified methylated DNA obtained from early Xenopus tropicalis embryos demonstrates that this genome is heavily methylated during blastula and gastrula stages. Although DNA methylation is largely absent from transcriptional start(More)
SUMMARY Accurate prediction of transcription factor binding motifs that are enriched in a collection of sequences remains a computational challenge. Here we report on GimmeMotifs, a pipeline that incorporates an ensemble of computational tools to predict motifs de novo from ChIP-sequencing (ChIP-seq) data. Similar redundant motifs are compared using the(More)
The general transcription factor TATA-binding protein (TBP) is a key initiation factor involved in transcription by all three eukaryotic RNA polymerases. In addition, the related metazoan-specific TBP-like factor (TLF/TRF2) is essential for transcription of a distinct subset of genes. Here we characterize the vertebrate-specific TBP-like factor TBP2, using(More)
The cardiac NK-2 transcription factors are the vertebrate relatives of the Drosophila tinman gene. Without the Drosophila tinman gene, fruit flies fail to form their heart (“dorsal vessel”), and mutations or altered expression of cardiac NK-2 genes may lead to abnormal heart formation in vertebrates. Although the cardiac NK-2 gene NKX2-5 is recognized as an(More)
To explore the origins and consequences of tetraploidy in the African clawed frog, we sequenced the Xenopus laevis genome and compared it to the related diploid X. tropicalis genome. We characterize the allotetraploid origin of X. laevis by partitioning its genome into two homoeologous subgenomes, marked by distinct families of 'fossil' transposable(More)
TATA-box-binding protein 2 (TBP2/TRF3) is a vertebrate-specific paralog of TBP that shares with TBP a highly conserved carboxy-terminal domain and the ability to bind the TATA box. TBP2 is highly expressed in oocytes whereas TBP is more abundant in embryos. We find that TBP2 is proteolytically degraded upon meiotic maturation; after germinal vesicle(More)