Tip60 complex binds to active Pol II promoters and a subset of enhancers and co-regulates the c-Myc network in mouse embryonic stem cells

Epigenetics Chromatin. 2015 Nov 6;8:45. doi: 10.1186/s13072-015-0039-z. eCollection 2015.


Background: Tip60 (KAT5) is the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) of the mammalian Tip60/NuA4 complex. While Tip60 is important for early mouse development and mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) pluripotency, the function of Tip60 as reflected in a genome-wide context is not yet well understood.

Results: Gel filtration of nuclear mESCs extracts indicate incorporation of Tip60 into large molecular complexes and exclude the existence of large quantities of "free" Tip60 within the nuclei of ESCs. Thus, monitoring of Tip60 binding to the genome should reflect the behaviour of Tip60-containing complexes. The genome-wide mapping of Tip60 binding in mESCs by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) coupled with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) shows that the Tip60 complex is present at promoter regions of predominantly active genes that are bound by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and contain the H3K4me3 histone mark. The coactivator HAT complexes, Tip60- and Mof (KAT8)-containing (NSL and MSL), show a global overlap at promoters, whereas distinct binding profiles at enhancers suggest different regulatory functions of each essential HAT complex. Interestingly, Tip60 enrichment peaks at about 200 bp downstream of the transcription start sites suggesting a function for the Tip60 complexes in addition to histone acetylation. The comparison of genome-wide binding profiles of Tip60 and c-Myc, a somatic cell reprogramming factor that binds predominantly to active genes in mESCs, demonstrate that Tip60 and c-Myc co-bind at 50-60 % of their binding sites. We also show that the Tip60 complex binds to a subset of bivalent developmental genes and defines a set of mESC-specific enhancer as well as super-enhancer regions.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that the Tip60 complex functions as a global transcriptional co-activator at most active Pol II promoters, co-regulates the ESC-specific c-Myc network, important for ESC self-renewal and cell metabolism and acts at a subset of active distal regulatory elements, or super enhancers, in mESCs.

Keywords: Bivalent genes; Enhancers; H3K27ac; H3K4me3; Histone acetyltransferase (HAT); KAT5; MSL; Mof; Mouse; NSL; Pluripotency; Super enhancers; c-Myc.