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E2F4 regulates transcriptional activation in mouse embryonic stem cells independently of the RB family.

  • Author(s): Hsu, Jenny;
  • Arand, Julia;
  • Chaikovsky, Andrea;
  • Mooney, Nancie A;
  • Demeter, Janos;
  • Brison, Caileen M;
  • Oliverio, Romane;
  • Vogel, Hannes;
  • Rubin, Seth M;
  • Jackson, Peter K;
  • Sage, Julien
  • et al.

E2F transcription factors are central regulators of cell division and cell fate decisions. E2F4 often represents the predominant E2F activity in cells. E2F4 is a transcriptional repressor implicated in cell cycle arrest and whose repressive activity depends on its interaction with members of the RB family. Here we show that E2F4 is important for the proliferation and the survival of mouse embryonic stem cells. In these cells, E2F4 acts in part as a transcriptional activator that promotes the expression of cell cycle genes. This role for E2F4 is independent of the RB family. Furthermore, E2F4 functionally interacts with chromatin regulators associated with gene activation and we observed decreased histone acetylation at the promoters of cell cycle genes and E2F targets upon loss of E2F4 in RB family-mutant cells. Taken together, our findings uncover a non-canonical role for E2F4 that provide insights into the biology of rapidly dividing cells.

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