McBride MJ, Pulice JL, Beird HC, Ingram DR, D'Avino AR, Shern JF, Charville GW, Hornick JL, Nakayama RT, Garcia-Rivera EM, Araujo DM, Wang WL, Tsai JW, Yeagley M, Wagner AJ, Futreal PA, Khan J, Lazar AJ, Kadoch C
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is defined by the hallmark SS18-SSX fusion oncoprotein, which renders BAF complexes aberrant in two manners: gain of SSX to the SS18 subunit and concomitant loss of BAF47 subunit assembly. Here we demonstrate that SS18-SSX globally hijacks BAF complexes on chromatin to activate an SS transcriptional signature that we define using primary tumors and cell lines. Specifically, SS18-SSX retargets BAF complexes from enhancers to broad polycomb domains to oppose PRC2-mediated repression and activate bivalent genes. Upon suppression of SS18-SSX, reassembly of BAF47 restores enhancer activation, but is not required for proliferative arrest. These results establish a global hijacking mechanism for SS18-SSX on chromatin, and define the distinct contributions of two concurrent BAF complex perturbations.