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Sox17 and β-catenin co-occupy Wnt-responsive enhancers to govern the endodermal gene regulatory network

By Shreyasi Mukherjee, Praneet Chaturvedi, Scott A Rankin, Margaret B Fish, Marcin Wlizla, Kitt D. Paraiso, Melissa MacDonald, Xiaoting Chen, Matthew T Weirauch, Ira L. Blitz, Ken W. Y. Cho, Aaron M. Zorn

Posted 20 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.19.956565 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.58029)

Lineage specification depends on the integration of lineage-determining transcription factors (TFs) and signaling effectors on enhancers to establish gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Sox17 is a key regulator of definitive endoderm development, and yet, its genomic targets remain largely uncharacterized. Here, using genomic approaches and epistasis experiments, we define the Sox17-governed endoderm GRN in Xenopus gastrulae. We show that Sox17 functionally interacts with the canonical Wnt pathway to specify and pattern the endoderm while repressing alternative mesectoderm fates. Together, Sox17 and β-catenin bind hundreds of key enhancers. In some cases, Sox17 and β-catenin synergistically activate transcription in the absence of Tcfs, whereas on other enhancers, Sox17 represses β-catenin/Tcf-mediated transcription to spatially restrict gene expression domains. Our findings establish Sox17 as a tissue-specific modifier of Wnt responses and point to a novel paradigm where genomic specificity of Wnt/ β-catenin transcription is determined through functional interactions between lineage-specific Sox TFs and β-catenin/Tcf transcriptional complexes. Given the ubiquitous nature of Sox TFs and Wnt signaling, this could be a general feature of Sox proteins across numerous contexts of development and disease. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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