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Nascent transcript analysis of glucocorticoid crosstalk with TNF defines primary and cooperative inflammatory repression

By Sarah K. Sasse, Margaret Gruca, Mary A. Allen, Vineela Kadiyala, Tengyao Song, Fabienne Gally, Arnav Gupta, Miles A. Pufall, Robin D. Dowell, Anthony N. Gerber

Posted 18 Jan 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/524975 (published DOI: 10.1101/gr.248187.119)

The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binds to specific DNA sequences and directly induces transcription of anti-inflammatory genes that contribute to cytokine repression, frequently in cooperation with NF-kB. Whether inflammatory repression also occurs through local interactions between GR and inflammatory gene regulatory elements remains controversial. Here, using Global Run-on Sequencing (GRO-seq) in human airway epithelial cells, we show that glucocorticoid signaling represses transcription within 10 minutes. Many repressed regulatory regions reside within 'hyper-ChIPable' genomic regions that are subject to non-specific interactions with some antibodies. When this was accounted for, we determined that transcriptional repression occurs without local GR occupancy. Instead, widespread transcriptional induction through canonical GR binding sites is associated with reciprocal repression of distal TNF-regulated enhancers through a chromatin-dependent process, as evidenced by chromatin accessibility and enhancer-reporter assays. Simultaneously, transcriptional induction of key anti-inflammatory effectors is decoupled from primary repression through cooperation between GR and NF-kB at a subset of regulatory regions. Thus, glucocorticoids exert bimodal restraints on inflammation characterized by rapid primary transcriptional repression without local GR occupancy and secondary anti-inflammatory effects resulting from transcriptional cooperation between GR and NF-kB.

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