Genome-wide analysis of p63 binding sites identifies AP-2 factors as co-regulators of epidermal differentiation

Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Aug;40(15):7190-206. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks389. Epub 2012 May 9.


The p63 transcription factor (TP63) is critical in development, growth and differentiation of stratifying epithelia. This is highlighted by the severity of congenital abnormalities caused by TP63 mutations in humans, the dramatic phenotypes in knockout mice and de-regulation of TP63 expression in neoplasia altering the tumour suppressive roles of the TP53 family. In order to define the normal role played by TP63 and provide the basis for better understanding how this network is perturbed in disease, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) to identify >7500 high-confidence TP63-binding regions across the entire genome, in primary human neonatal foreskin keratinocytes (HFKs). Using integrative strategies, we demonstrate that only a subset of these sites are bound by TP53 in response to DNA damage. We identify a role for TP63 in transcriptional regulation of multiple genes genetically linked to cleft palate and identify AP-2alpha (TFAP2A) as a co-regulator of a subset of these genes. We further demonstrate that AP-2gamma (TFAP2C) can bind a subset of these regions and that acute depletion of either TFAP2A or TFAP2C alone is sufficient to reduce terminal differentiation of organotypic epidermal skin equivalents, indicating overlapping physiological functions with TP63.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cleft Palate / genetics
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional
  • Transcription Factor AP-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription Factor AP-2 / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • TFAP2A protein, human
  • TFAP2C protein, human
  • TP63 protein, human
  • Transcription Factor AP-2
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE32061