Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with extensive down-regulation of genes controlling neuronal function, particularly in the striatum. Whether altered epigenetic regulation underlies transcriptional defects in HD is unclear. Integrating RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) and chromatin-immunoprecipitation followed by massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq), we show that down-regulated genes in HD mouse striatum associate with selective decrease in H3K27ac, a mark of active enhancers, and RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII). In addition, we reveal that decreased genes in HD mouse striatum display a specific epigenetic signature, characterized by high levels and broad patterns of H3K27ac and RNAPII. Our results indicate that this signature is that of super-enhancers, a category of broad enhancers regulating genes defining tissue identity and function. Specifically, we reveal that striatal super-enhancers display extensive H3K27 acetylation within gene bodies, drive transcription characterized by low levels of paused RNAPII, regulate neuronal function genes and are enriched in binding motifs for Gata transcription factors, such as Gata2 regulating striatal identity genes. Together, our results provide evidence for preferential down-regulation of genes controlled by super-enhancers in HD striatum and indicate that enhancer topography is a major parameter determining the propensity of a gene to be deregulated in a neurodegenerative disease.
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