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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 May 3. pii: gkz273. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz273. [Epub ahead of print]

ONECUT transcription factors induce neuronal characteristics and remodel chromatin accessibility.

Author information

1
Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Remodeling of chromatin accessibility is necessary for successful reprogramming of fibroblasts to neurons. However, it is still not fully known which transcription factors can induce a neuronal chromatin accessibility profile when overexpressed in fibroblasts. To identify such transcription factors, we used ATAC-sequencing to generate differential chromatin accessibility profiles between human fibroblasts and iNeurons, an in vitro neuronal model system obtained by overexpression of Neurog2 in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We found that the ONECUT transcription factor sequence motif was strongly associated with differential chromatin accessibility between iNeurons and fibroblasts. All three ONECUT transcription factors associated with this motif (ONECUT1, ONECUT2 and ONECUT3) induced a neuron-like morphology and expression of neuronal genes within two days of overexpression in fibroblasts. We observed widespread remodeling of chromatin accessibility; in particular, we found that chromatin regions that contain the ONECUT motif were in- or lowly accessible in fibroblasts and became accessible after the overexpression of ONECUT1, ONECUT2 or ONECUT3. There was substantial overlap with iNeurons, still, many regions that gained accessibility following ONECUT overexpression were not accessible in iNeurons. Our study highlights both the potential and challenges of ONECUT-based direct neuronal reprogramming.

PMID:
31049588
DOI:
10.1093/nar/gkz273

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