The epigenetic pioneer EGR2 initiates DNA demethylation in differentiating monocytes at both stable and transient binding sites

Karina Mendes, Sandra Schmidhofer, Julia Minderjahn, Dagmar Glatz, Claudia Kiesewetter, Johanna Raithel, Julia Wimmer, Claudia Gebhard, Michael Rehli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The differentiation of human blood monocytes (MO), the post-mitotic precursors of macrophages (MAC) and dendritic cells (moDC), is accompanied by the active turnover of DNA methylation, but the extent, consequences and mechanisms of DNA methylation changes remain unclear. Here, we profile and compare epigenetic landscapes during IL-4/GM-CSF-driven MO differentiation across the genome and detect several thousand regions that are actively demethylated during culture, both with or without accompanying changes in chromatin accessibility or transcription factor (TF) binding. We further identify TF that are globally associated with DNA demethylation processes. While interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is found to control hallmark dendritic cell functions with less impact on DNA methylation, early growth response 2 (EGR2) proves essential for MO differentiation as well as DNA methylation turnover at its binding sites. We also show that ERG2 interacts with the 5mC hydroxylase TET2, and its consensus binding sequences show a characteristic DNA methylation footprint at demethylated sites with or without detectable protein binding. Our findings reveal an essential role for EGR2 as epigenetic pioneer in human MO and suggest that active DNA demethylation can be initiated by the TET2-recruiting TF both at stable and transient binding sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1556
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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