The functions of the TAF subunits of mammalian TFIID in physiological processes remain poorly characterised. Here we describe a novel function of TAFs in directing genomic occupancy of a transcriptional activator. Using liver-specific inactivation in mice, we show that the TAF4 subunit of TFIID is required for post-natal hepatocyte maturation. TAF4 promotes pre-initiation complex (PIC) formation at post-natal expressed liver function genes and down-regulates a subset of embryonic expressed genes by increased RNA polymerase II pausing. The TAF4-TAF12 heterodimer interacts directly with HNF4A and in vivo TAF4 is necessary to maintain HNF4A-directed embryonic gene expression at post-natal stages and promotes HNF4A occupancy of functional cis-regulatory elements adjacent to the transcription start sites of post-natal expressed genes. Stable HNF4A occupancy of these regulatory elements requires TAF4-dependent PIC formation highlighting that these are mutually dependent events. Local promoter-proximal HNF4A-TFIID interactions therefore act as instructive signals for post-natal hepatocyte differentiation.
Animal experimentation: Animal Experiments were performed in compliance with National Animal Care Guidelines (European Commission directive 86/609/CEE; French decree no.87-848).
- Michael R Green, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States
© 2014, Alpern et al.
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