Embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency is controlled by defined transcription factors. During cellular differentiation, ESCs undergo a global epigenetic reprogramming. Female ESCs exemplify this process as one of the two X-chromosomes is globally silenced during X chromosome inactivation (XCI) to balance the X-linked gene disparity with XY males. The pluripotent factor OCT4 regulates XCI by triggering X chromosome pairing and counting. OCT4 directly binds Xite and Tsix, which encode two long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that suppress the silencer lncRNA, Xist. To control its activity as a master regulator in pluripotency and XCI, OCT4 must have chromatin protein partners. Here we show that BRD4, a member of the BET protein subfamily, interacts with OCT4. BRD4 occupies the regulatory regions of pluripotent genes and the lncRNAs of XCI. BET inhibition or depletion of BRD4 reduces the expression of many pluripotent genes and shifts cellular fate showing that BRD4 is pivotal for transcription in ESCs.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.