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PAX3-FOXO1 coordinates enhancer architecture, eRNA transcription, andRNA polymerase pause release at select gene targets

By Susu Zhang, Jing Wang, Qi Liu, W. Hayes McDonald, Monica Bomber, Hillary Layden, Jacob Ellis, Scott Borinstein, Scott W. Hiebert, Kristy R. Stengel

Posted 04 Oct 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.03.462944

Transcriptional control is a highly dynamic process that changes rapidly in response to various cellular and extracellular cues1. Thus, it is difficult to achieve a mechanistic understanding of transcription factor function using traditional genetic deletion or RNAi methods, because these slow approaches make it challenging to distinguish direct from indirect transcriptional effects. Here, we used a chemical-genetic approach to rapidly degrade a canonical transcriptional activator, PAX3-FOXO12-6 to define how the t(2;13)(q35;q14) disrupts normal gene expression programs to trigger cancer. By coupling rapid protein degradation with the analysis of nascent transcription over short time courses, we identified a core transcriptional network that rapidly collapsed upon PAX3-FOXO1 degradation. Moreover, loss of PAX3-FOXO1 impaired RNA polymerase pause release and transcription elongation at regulated gene targets. The activity of PAX3-FOXO1 at enhancers controlling this core network was surprisingly selective and often only a single element within a complex super-enhancer was affected. In addition, fusion of the endogenous PAX3-FOXO1 with APEX2 identified proteins in close proximity with PAX3-FOXO1, including ARID1A and MYOD1. We found that continued expression of PAX3-FOXO1 was required to maintain chromatin accessibility and allow neighboring DNA binding proteins and chromatin remodeling complexes to associate with this small number of regulated enhancers. Overall, this work provides a detailed mechanism by which PAX3-FOXO1 maintains an oncogenic transcriptional regulatory network.

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