In this Letter, we claimed that hormone-regulated transcriptional control involves DNA demethylation mediated by MBD4. Subsequently, we corrected some figure panels that appeared to have been erroneously prepared (Corrigendum, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v480/n7375/full/nature10604.html). However, we later found that other figure panels contained data duplications. After further review, we now conclude that the results presented in the original figures had been inappropriately manipulated, and given these more serious concerns we no longer have confidence in the original figures. We therefore wish to retract this Letter and sincerely apologise for any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication.