During thymic development and upon peripheral activation, T cells undergo extensive phenotypic and functional changes coordinated by lineage-specific developmental programs. To characterize the regulatory landscape controlling T cell identity, we perform a wide epigenomic and transcriptional analysis of mouse thymocytes and naive CD4 differentiated T helper cells. Our investigations reveal a dynamic putative enhancer landscape, and we could validate many of the enhancers using the high-throughput CapStarr sequencing (CapStarr-seq) approach. We find that genes using multiple promoters display increased enhancer usage, suggesting that apparent "enhancer redundancy" might relate to isoform selection. Furthermore, we can show that two Runx3 promoters display long-range interactions with specific enhancers. Finally, our analyses suggest a novel function for the PRC2 complex in the control of alternative promoter usage. Altogether, our study has allowed for the mapping of an exhaustive set of active enhancers and provides new insights into their function and that of PRC2 in controlling promoter choice during T cell differentiation.
Keywords: CapSTARR-seq; T cell enhancerome; enhancer and promoter usage; enhancer redundancy; long-distance enhancer-promoter interactions.
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