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Chromatin organizer SATB1 controls the cell identity of CD4+ CD8+ double-positive thymocytes by regulating the activity of super-enhancers

  • Feng, Delong
  • Chen, Yanhong
  • Dai, Ranran
  • Bian, Shasha
  • Xue, Wei
  • Zhu, Yongchang
  • Li, Zhaoqiang
  • Yang, Yiting
  • Zhang, Yan
  • Zhang, Jiarui
  • Bai, Jie
  • Qin, Litao
  • Kohwi, Yoshinori
  • Shi, Weili
  • Kohwi-Shigematsu, Terumi
  • Ma, Jing
  • Liao, Shixiu
  • Hao, Bingtao
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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CD4+ and CD8+ double-positive (DP) thymocytes play a crucial role in T cell development in the thymus. DP cells rearrange the T cell receptor gene Tcra to generate T cell receptors with TCRβ. DP cells differentiate into CD4 or CD8 single-positive (SP) thymocytes, regulatory T cells, or invariant nature kill T cells (iNKT) in response to TCR signaling. Chromatin organizer SATB1 is highly expressed in DP cells and is essential in regulating Tcra rearrangement and differentiation of DP cells. Here we explored the mechanism of SATB1 orchestrating gene expression in DP cells. Single-cell RNA sequencing shows that Satb1 deletion changes the cell identity of DP thymocytes and down-regulates genes specifically and highly expressed in DP cells. Super-enhancers regulate the expressions of DP-specific genes, and our Hi-C data show that SATB1 deficiency in thymocytes reduces super-enhancer activity by specifically decreasing interactions among super-enhancers and between super-enhancers and promoters. Our results reveal that SATB1 plays a critical role in thymocyte development to promote the establishment of DP cell identity by globally regulating super-enhancers of DP cells at the chromatin architectural level.

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