The BTB transcription factors ZBTB11 and ZFP131 maintain pluripotency by repressing pro-differentiation genes


In pluripotent cells, a delicate activation-repression balance maintains pro-differentiation genes ready for rapid activation. The identity of transcription factors (TFs) that specifically repress pro-differentiation genes remains obscure. By targeting ∼1,700 TFs with CRISPR loss-of-function screen, we found that ZBTB11 and ZFP131 are required for embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency. ESCs without ZBTB11 or ZFP131 lose colony morphology, reduce proliferation rate, and upregulate transcription of genes associated with three germ layers. ZBTB11 and ZFP131 bind proximally to pro-differentiation genes. ZBTB11 or ZFP131 loss leads to an increase in H3K4me3, negative elongation factor (NELF) complex release, and concomitant transcription at associated genes. Together, our results suggest that ZBTB11 and ZFP131 maintain pluripotency by preventing premature expression of pro-differentiation genes and present a generalizable framework to maintain cellular potency. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Authors Garipler G, Lu C, Morrissey A, Lopez-Zepeda LS, Pei Y, Vidal SE, Zen Petisco Fiore AP, Aydin B, Stadtfeld M, Ohler U, Mahony S, Sanjana NE, Mazzoni EO
Journal Cell reports
Publication Date 2022 Mar 15;38(11):110524
PubMed 35294876
PubMed Central PMC8972945
DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110524

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