Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an essential role in metabolic homeostasis by dissipating energy via thermogenesis through uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Previously, we reported that the TATA-binding protein associated factor 7L (TAF7L) is an important regulator of white adipose tissue (WAT) differentiation. Here, we show that TAF7L also serves as a molecular switch between brown fat and muscle lineages in vivo and in vitro. In adipose tissue, TAF7L-containing TFIID complexes associate with PPARγ to mediate DNA looping between distal enhancers and core promoter elements. Our findings suggest that presence of the tissue-specific TAF7L subunit in TFIID functions to promote long-range chromatin interactions during BAT lineage specification.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to animal use protocols (#R007) approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the University of California, Berkeley.
- James T Kadonaga, University of California, San Diego, United States
© 2014, Zhou et al.
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The diverse transcriptional mechanisms governing cellular differentiation and development of mammalian tissue remains poorly understood. Here we report that TAF7L, a paralogue of TFIID subunit TAF7, is enriched in adipocytes and white fat tissue (WAT) in mouse. Depletion of TAF7L reduced adipocyte-specific gene expression, compromised adipocyte differentiation, and WAT development as well. Ectopic expression of TAF7L in myoblasts reprograms these muscle precursors into adipocytes upon induction. Genome-wide mRNA-seq expression profiling and ChIP-seq binding studies confirmed that TAF7L is required for activating adipocyte-specific genes via a dual mechanism wherein it interacts with PPARγ at enhancers and TBP/Pol II at core promoters. In vitro binding studies confirmed that TAF7L forms complexes with both TBP and PPARγ. These findings suggest that TAF7L plays an integral role in adipocyte gene expression by targeting enhancers as a cofactor for PPARγ and promoters as a component of the core transcriptional machinery.
Different members of the TAF family of proteins work in differentiated cells, such as motor neurons or brown fat cells, to control the expression of genes that are specific to each cell type.