H3.3 contributes to chromatin accessibility and transcription factor binding at promoter-proximal regulatory elements in embryonic stem cells

Amanuel Tafessu, Ryan O’Hara, Sara Martire, Altair L. Dube, Purbita Saha, Vincent U. Gant, Laura A. Banaszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The histone variant H3.3 is enriched at active regulatory elements such as promoters and enhancers in mammalian genomes. These regions are highly accessible, creating an environment that is permissive to transcription factor binding and the recruitment of transcriptional coactivators that establish a unique chromatin post-translational landscape. How H3.3 contributes to the establishment and function of chromatin states at these regions is poorly understood. Results: We perform genomic analyses of features associated with active promoter chromatin in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and find evidence of subtle yet widespread promoter dysregulation in the absence of H3.3. Loss of H3.3 results in reduced chromatin accessibility and transcription factor (TF) binding at promoters of expressed genes in ESCs. Likewise, enrichment of the transcriptional coactivator p300 and downstream histone H3 acetylation at lysine 27 (H3K27ac) is reduced at promoters in the absence of H3.3, along with reduced enrichment of the acetyl lysine reader BRD4. Despite the observed chromatin dysregulation, H3.3 KO ESCs maintain transcription from ESC-specific genes. However, upon undirected differentiation, H3.3 KO cells retain footprinting of ESC-specific TF motifs and fail to generate footprints of lineage-specific TF motifs, in line with their diminished capacity to differentiate. Conclusions: H3.3 facilitates DNA accessibility, transcription factor binding, and histone post-translational modification at active promoters. While H3.3 is not required for maintaining transcription in ESCs, it does promote de novo transcription factor binding which may contribute to the dysregulation of cellular differentiation in the absence of H3.3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalGenome biology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Chromatin accessibility
  • Differentiation
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Histone variants
  • Transcription factor binding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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