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Dismissal of RNA Polymerase II Underlies a Large Ligand-Induced Enhancer Decommissioning Program


Nuclear receptors induce both transcriptional activation and repression programs responsible for development, homeostasis, and disease. Here, we report a previously overlooked enhancer decommissioning strategy underlying a large estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-dependent transcriptional repression program. The unexpected signature for this E2-induced program resides in indirect recruitment of ERα to a large cohort of pioneer factor basally active FOXA1-bound enhancers that lack cognate ERα DNA-binding elements. Surprisingly, these basally active estrogen-repressed (BAER) enhancers are decommissioned by ERα-dependent recruitment of the histone demethylase KDM2A, functioning independently of its demethylase activity. Rather, KDM2A tethers the E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase NEDD4 to ubiquitylate/dismiss Pol II to abrogate eRNA transcription, with consequent target gene downregulation. Thus, our data reveal that Pol II ubiquitylation/dismissal may serve as a potentially broad strategy utilized by indirectly bound nuclear receptors to abrogate large programs of pioneer factor-mediated, eRNA-producing enhancers.

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