Yu X. et al.
Background: ΔNp63 is a master transcriptional regulator playing critical roles in epidermal development and other cellular processes. Recent studies suggest that ΔNp63 functions as a pioneer factor that can target its binding sites within inaccessible chromatin and induce chromatin remodeling. Methods: In order to examine if ΔNp63 can bind to inaccessible chromatin and to determine if specific histone modifications are required for binding we induced ΔNp63 expression in two p63 naive cell line. ΔNp63 binding was then examined by ChIP-seq and the chromatin at ΔNp63 targets sites was examined before and after binding. Further analysis with competitive nucleosome binding assays was used to determine how ΔNp63 directly interacts with nucleosomes. Results: Our results show that before ΔNp63 binding, targeted sites lack histone modifications, indicating ΔNp63’s capability to bind at unmodified chromatin. Moreover, the majority of the sites that are bound by ectopic ΔNp63 expression exist in an inaccessible state. Once bound ΔNp63 induces acetylation of the histone and the repositioning of nucleosomes at its binding sites. Further analysis with competitive nucleosome binding assays reveal that ΔNp63 can bind directly to nucleosome edges with significant binding inhibition occurring within 50 bp of the nucleosome dyad. Conclusion: Overall, our results demonstrate that ΔNp63 is a pioneer factor that binds nucleosome edges at inaccessible un-modified chromatin sites and induces histone acetylation and nucleosome repositioning.