TALE factors are broadly expressed embryonically and known to function in complexes with transcription factors (TFs) like Hox proteins at gastrula/segmentation stages, but it is unclear if such generally expressed factors act by the same mechanism throughout embryogenesis. We identify a TALE-dependent gene regulatory network (GRN) required for anterior development and detect TALE occupancy associated with this GRN throughout embryogenesis. At blastula stages, we uncover a novel functional mode for TALE factors, where they occupy genomic DECA motifs with nearby NF-Y sites. We demonstrate that TALE and NF-Y form complexes and regulate chromatin state at genes of this GRN. At segmentation stages, GRN-associated TALE occupancy expands to include HEXA motifs near PBX:HOX sites. Hence, TALE factors control a key GRN, but utilize distinct DNA motifs and protein partners at different stages - a strategy that may also explain their oncogenic potential and may be employed by other broadly expressed TFs.
Keywords: Pbx; Prep; chromatin; developmental biology; gene network; maternal regulation; pioneer factor; regenerative medicine; stem cells; zebrafish.
© 2018, Ladam et al.