Mechanisms governing the pioneering and redistribution capabilities of the non-classical pioneer PU.1

Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 21;11(1):402. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13960-2.


Establishing gene regulatory networks during differentiation or reprogramming requires master or pioneer transcription factors (TFs) such as PU.1, a prototype master TF of hematopoietic lineage differentiation. To systematically determine molecular features that control its activity, here we analyze DNA-binding in vitro and genome-wide in vivo across different cell types with native or ectopic PU.1 expression. Although PU.1, in contrast to classical pioneer factors, is unable to access nucleosomal target sites in vitro, ectopic induction of PU.1 leads to the extensive remodeling of chromatin and redistribution of partner TFs. De novo chromatin access, stable binding, and redistribution of partner TFs both require PU.1's N-terminal acidic activation domain and its ability to recruit SWI/SNF remodeling complexes, suggesting that the latter may collect and distribute co-associated TFs in conjunction with the non-classical pioneer TF PU.1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / physiology*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hematopoiesis / genetics*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leukapheresis
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Domains
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA-Seq
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Nucleosomes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • proto-oncogene protein Spi-1
  • DNA