Chemical screen for epigenetic barriers to single allele activation of Oct4.

Affiliation

Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States of America; Curriculum for Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States of America; Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, 120 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States of America. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Here we utilized the chromatin in vivo assay (CiA) mouse platform to directly examine the epigenetic barriers impeding the activation of the CiA:Oct4 allele in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF)s when stimulated with a transcription factor. The CiA:Oct4 allele contains an engineered EGFP reporter replacing one copy of the Oct4 gene, with an upstream Gal4 array in the promoter that allows recruitment of chromatin modifying machinery. We stimulated gene activation of the CiA:Oct4 allele by binding a transcriptional activator to the Gal4 array. As with cellular reprograming, this process is inefficient with only a small percentage of the cells re-activating CiA:Oct4 after weeks. Epigenetic barriers to gene activation potentially come from heavy DNA methylation, histone deacetylation, chromatin compaction, and other posttranslational marks (PTM) at the differentiated CiA:Oct4 allele in MEFs. Using this platform, we performed a high-throughput chemical screen for compounds that increased the efficiency of activation. We found that Azacytidine and newer generation histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors were the most efficient at facilitating directed transcriptional activation of this allele. We found one hit form our screen, Mocetinostat, improved iPSC generation under transcription factor reprogramming conditions. These results separate individual allele activation from whole cell reprograming and give new insights that will advance tissue engineering.

Keywords

Chemical screen,DNMT inhibitor,Epigenetics,HDAC inhibitor,Pharmacology,

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