Background: Synergistic transcriptional activation by different stimuli has been reported along with a diverse array of mechanisms, but the full scope of these mechanisms has yet to be elucidated.
Results: We present a detailed investigation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1 dependent gene expression in endothelial cells which suggests the importance of crosstalk between the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) β/δ and HIF signaling axes. A migration assay shows a synergistic interaction between these two stimuli, and we identify angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) as a common target gene by using a combination of microarray and ChIP-seq analysis. We profile changes of histone marks at enhancers under hypoxia, PPARβ/δ agonist and dual stimulations and these suggest that the spatial proximity of two response elements is the principal cause of the synergistic transcription induction. A newly developed quantitative chromosome conformation capture assay shows the quantitative change of the frequency of proximity of the two response elements.
Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that two different transcription factors cooperate in transcriptional regulation in a synergistic fashion through conformational change of their common target genes.