Genome-wide Twist1 occupancy in endocardial cushion cells, embryonic limb buds, and peripheral nerve sheath tumor cells

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© 2014 Lee et al. Background: The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Twist1 has well-documented roles in progenitor populations of the developing embryo, including endocardial cushions (ECC) and limb buds, and also in cancer. Whether Twist1 regulates the same transcriptional targets in different tissue types is largely unknown. Results: The tissue-specificity of Twist1 genomic occupancy was examined in mouse ECCs, limb buds, and peripheral nerve sheath tumor (PNST) cells using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (Chip-seq) analysis. Consistent with known Twist1 functions during development and in cancer cells, Twist1-DNA binding regions associated with genes related to cell migration and adhesion were detected in all three tissues. However, the vast majority of Twist1 binding regions were specific to individual tissue types. Thus, while Twist1 has similar functions in ECCs, limb buds, and PNST cells, the specific genomic sequences occupied by Twist1 were different depending on cellular context. Subgroups of shared genes, also predominantly related to cell adhesion and migration, were identified in pairwise comparisons of ECC, limb buds and PNST cells. Twist1 genomic occupancy was detected for six binding regions in all tissue types, and Twist1-binding sequences associated with Chst11, Litaf, Ror2, and Spata5 also bound the potential Twist1 cofactor RREB1. Pathway analysis of the genes associated with Twist1 binding suggests that Twist1 may regulate genes associated with the Wnt signaling pathway in ECCs and limb buds. Conclusions: Together, these data indicate that Twist1 interacts with genes that regulate adhesion and migration in different tissues, potentially through distinct sets of target genes. In addition, there is a small subset of genes occupied by Twist1 in all three tissues that may represent a core group of Twist1 target genes in multiple cell types.




Lee, M. P., Ratner, N., & Yutzey, K. E. (2014). Genome-wide Twist1 occupancy in endocardial cushion cells, embryonic limb buds, and peripheral nerve sheath tumor cells. BMC Genomics, 15(1).

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