Lineage-specific enhancers activate self-renewal genes in macrophages and embryonic stem cells

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Science  21 Jan 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5510

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Differentiated macrophages can self-renew in tissues and expand long-term in culture, but the gene regulatory mechanisms that accomplish self-renewal in the differentiated state have remained unknown. Here we show that in mice, the transcription factors MafB and c-Maf repress a macrophage-specific enhancer repertoire associated with a gene network controlling self-renewal. Single cell analysis revealed that, in vivo, proliferating resident macrophages can access this network by transient down-regulation of Maf transcription factors. The network also controls embryonic stem cell self-renewal but is associated with distinct embryonic stem cell-specific enhancers. This indicates that distinct lineage-specific enhancer platforms regulate a shared network of genes that control self-renewal potential in both stem and mature cells.

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