The KRAB repressor domain can trigger de novo promoter methylation during mouse early embryogenesis.
The Krüppel-associated box (KRAB) domain is a transcriptional repression module responsible for the DNA binding-dependent gene silencing activity of hundreds of vertebrate zinc finger proteins. We previously exploited KRAB-mediated repression within the context of a tet repressor-KRAB fusion protein and of lentiviral vectors to create a method of external gene control. We demonstrated that with this system transcriptional silencing was fully reversible in cell culture as well as in vivo. Here we reveal that, in sharp contrast, KRAB-mediated repression results in irreversible gene silencing through promoter DNA methylation if it acts during the first few days of mouse development.