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Computer Designed PRC2 Inhibitor, EBdCas9, Reveals Functional TATA boxes in Distal Promoter Regions

By Shiri Levy, Logesh Somasundaram, Infencia Xavier Raj, Diego Ic-Mex, Sven Schmidt, Ammar Alghadeer, Henrik Honkanen, David David Hawkins, Julie Mathieu, Yuliang Wang, David Baker, Karol Bomsztyk, Hannele Ruohola-Baker

Posted 17 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.16.385922

The critical process in development, bifurcation of cellular fates, requires epigenetic H3K27me3 marks propagated by PRC2 complex. However, the precise chromatin loci of functional H3K27me3 marks are not yet known. Here we identify critical PRC2 functional sites at a single nucleosome resolution. We fused a computationally designed protein, EED binder (EB) that competes with EZH2 and thereby disrupts PRC2 function, to dCas9 (EBdCas9) to direct PRC2 inhibition at a precise locus using gRNA. We targeted EBdCas9 to 4 different genes (TBX18, p16, CDX2 and GATA3) and observed epigenetic remodeling at a single nucleosome resolution resulting in gene activation. Remarkably, while traditional TATA box is located 30bp upstream of TSS, we identified a functional TATA box, >500bp of TSS, normally repressed by PRC2 complex. Deletion of this TATA box eliminates EBdCas9 dependent TBP recruitment and transcriptional activation. Targeting EBdCas9 to CDX2 and GATA3 results in trophoblast trans-differentiation. EBdCas9 technology is broadly applicable for epigenetic regulation at a single locus to control gene expression. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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