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Feedback Regulation between Initiation and Maturation Networks Orchestrates the Chromatin Dynamics of Epidermal Lineage Commitment

By Lingjie Li, Yong Wang, Jessica L. Torkelson, Gautam Shankar, Jillian M. Pattison, Hanson H. Zhen, Zhana Duren, Fengqin Fang, Sandra P. Melo, Samantha N. Piekos, Jiang Li, Eric J. Liaw, Lang Chen, Rui Li, Marius Wernig, Wing H. Wong, Howard Y. Chang, Anthony E Oro

Posted 18 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/349308

Tissue development results from lineage-specific transcription factors (TF) programming a dynamic chromatin landscape through progressive cell fate transitions. Here, we interrogate the epigenomic landscape during epidermal differentiation and create an inference network that ranks the coordinate effects of TF-accessible regulatory element-target gene expression triplets on lineage commitment. We discover two critical transition periods: surface ectoderm initiation and keratinocyte maturation, and identify TFAP2C and p63 as lineage initiation and maturation factors, respectively. Surprisingly, we find that TFAP2C, and not p63, is sufficient to initiate surface ectoderm differentiation, with TFAP2C-initiated progenitor cells capable of maturing into functional keratinocytes. Mechanistically, TFAP2C primes the surface ectoderm chromatin landscape and induces p63 expression and binding sites, thus allowing maturation factor p63 to positively auto-regulate its expression and close a subset of the TFAP2C-initiated early program. Our work provides a general framework to infer TF networks controlling chromatin transitions that will facilitate future regenerative medicine advances.

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