Mediator 1 ablation induces enamel-to-hair lineage conversion in micethrough enhancer dynamics.

Thaler R. et al.

Postnatal cell fate is postulated to be primarily determined by the local tissue microenvironment. Here, we find that Mediator 1 (Med1) dependent epigenetic mechanisms dictate tissue-specific lineage commitment and progression of dental epithelia. Deletion of Med1, a key component of the Mediator complex linking enhancer activities to gene transcription, provokes a tissue extrinsic lineage shift, causing hair generation in incisors. Med1 deficiency gives rise to unusual hair growth via primitive cellular aggregates. Mechanistically, we find that MED1 establishes super-enhancers that control enamel lineage transcription factors in dental stem cells and their progenies. However, Med1 deficiency reshapes the enhancer landscape and causes a switch from the dental transcriptional program towards hair and epidermis on incisors in vivo, and in dental epithelial stem cells in vitro. Med1 loss also provokes an increase in the number and size of enhancers. Interestingly, control dental epithelia already exhibit enhancers for hair and epidermal key transcription factors; these transform into super-enhancers upon Med1 loss suggesting that these epigenetic mechanisms cause the shift towards epidermal and hair lineages. Thus, we propose a role for Med1 in safeguarding lineage specific enhancers, highlight the central role of enhancer accessibility in lineage reprogramming and provide insights into ectodermal regeneration.

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July, 2023


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