Carm1-arginine methylation of the transcription factor C/EBPα regulates transdifferentiation velocity
Here, we describe how the speed of C/EBPα-induced B cell to macrophage transdifferentiation (BMT) can be regulated, using both mouse and human models. The identification of a mutant of C/EBPα (C/EBPαR35A) that greatly accelerates BMT helped to illuminate the mechanism. Thus, incoming C/EBPα binds to PU.1, an obligate partner expressed in B cells, leading to the release of PU.1 from B cell enhancers, chromatin closing and silencing of the B cell program. Released PU.1 redistributes to macrophage enhancers newly occupied by C/EBPα, causing chromatin opening and activation of macrophage genes. All these steps are accelerated by C/EBPαR35A, initiated by its increased affinity for PU.1. Wild-type C/EBPα is methylated by Carm1 at arginine 35 and the enzyme’s perturbations modulate BMT velocity as predicted from the observations with the mutant. Increasing the proportion of unmethylated C/EBPα in granulocyte/macrophage progenitors by inhibiting Carm1 biases the cell’s differentiation toward macrophages, suggesting that cell fate decision velocity and lineage directionality are closely linked processes.
Developmental biology; Gene regulation; Transcription factor
Torcal Garcia G, Kowenz-Leutz E, Tian TV, Klonizakis A, Lerner J, De Andres-Aguayo L, et al. Carm1-arginine methylation of the transcription factor C/EBPα regulates transdifferentiation velocity. Elife. 2023 Jun 27;12:e83951.
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