The chromatin organizer SATB1 is highly enriched in thymocytes and is essential for T-cell development. Although SATB1 regulates a large number of genes important for T-cell development, the mechanism(s) regulating expression of SATB1 during this process remain elusive. Using chromatin immune precipitation-seq-based occupancy profiles of H3K4me3 and H3Kme1 at Satb1 gene locus, we predicted four different alternative promoters of Satb1 in mouse thymocytes and characterized them. The expression of Satb1 transcript variants with distinct 5' UTRs occurs in a stage-specific manner during T-cell development and is dependent on TCR signaling. The observed discrepancy between the expression levels of SATB1 mRNA and protein in developing thymocytes can be explained by the differential translatability of Satb1 transcript variants as confirmed by polysome profiling and in vitro translation assay. We show that Satb1 alternative promoters exhibit lineage-specific chromatin accessibility during T-cell development from progenitors. Furthermore, TCF1 regulates the Satb1 P2 promoter switch during CD4SP development, via direct binding to the Satb1 P2 promoter. CD4SP T cells from TCF1 KO mice exhibit downregulation of P2 transcript variant expression as well as low levels of SATB1 protein. Collectively, these results provide unequivocal evidence toward alternative promoter switch-mediated developmental stage-specific regulation of SATB1 in thymocytes.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.