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Phase separation of YAP reorganizes genome topology for long-term, YAP target gene expression

By Danfeng Cai, Daniel Feliciano, Peng Dong, Eduardo Flores, Martin Gruebele, Natalie Porat-Shliom, Shahar Sukenik, Zhe Liu, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz

Posted 11 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/438416 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41556-019-0433-z)

Yes-associated Protein (YAP) is a transcriptional co-activator that regulates cell proliferation and survival by binding to a selective set of enhancers for potent target gene activation, but how YAP coordinates these transcriptional responses is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that YAP forms liquid-like condensates in the nucleus in response to macromolecular crowding. Formed within seconds of hyperosmotic stress, YAP condensates compartmentalized YAP’s DNA binding cofactor TEAD1 along with other YAP-related transcription co-activators, including TAZ, and subsequently induced transcription of YAP-specific proliferation genes. Super-resolution imaging using Assay for Transposase Accessible Chromatin with photoactivated localization microscopy (ATAC-PALM) revealed that YAP nuclear condensates were areas enriched in accessible chromatin domains organized as super-enhancers. Initially devoid of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II), the accessible chromatin domains later acquired Pol II, producing newly transcribed RNA. Removal of YAP’s intrinsically-disordered transcription activation domain (TAD) prevented YAP condensate formation and diminished downstream YAP signaling. Thus, dynamic changes in genome organization and gene activation during YAP reprogramming is mediated by liquid-liquid phase separation.

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