Panatta E, Lena AM, Mancini M, Smirnov A, Marini A, Delli Ponti R, Botta-Orfila T, Tartaglia GG, Mauriello A, Zhang X, Calin GA, Melino G, Candi E
The mechanisms that regulate the switch between epidermal progenitor state and differentiation are not fully understood. Recent findings indicate that the chromatin remodelling BAF complex (Brg1-associated factor complex or SWI/SNF complex) and the transcription factor p63 mutually recruit one another to open chromatin during epidermal differentiation. Here, we identify a long non-coding transcript that includes an ultraconserved element, uc.291, which physically interacts with ACTL6A and modulates chromatin remodelling to allow differentiation. Loss of uc.291 expression, both in primary keratinocytes and in three-dimensional skin equivalents, inhibits differentiation as indicated by epidermal differentiation complex genes down-regulation. ChIP experiments reveal that upon uc.291 depletion, ACTL6A is bound to the differentiation gene promoters and inhibits BAF complex targeting to induce terminal differentiation genes. In the presence of uc.291, the ACTL6A inhibitory effect is released, allowing chromatin changes to promote the expression of differentiation genes. Thus, uc.291 interacts with ACTL6A to modulate chromatin remodelling activity, allowing the transcription of late differentiation genes.