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The tumor suppressor p53 is a well-characterized transcription factor that can bind gene promoters and regulate target gene transcription in response to DNA damage. Recent studies, however, have revealed that p53 binding events occur predominantly within regulatory enhancer elements. The effect of p53 binding on enhancer function has not been systematically evaluated. Here, we perform a genome-scale analysis of enhancer activity from p53-bound sequences using a series of massively parallel reporter assays (MPRAs) coupled with the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin (ATAC-Seq). We find that the majority of sequences examined display p53-dependent enhancer activity during the DNA damage response. Furthermore, we observe that p53 is bound to enhancer elements in healthy fibroblasts and poised for rapid activation in response to DNA damage. Surprisingly, our analyses revealed that most p53-bound enhancers are located within regions of inaccessible chromatin. A large subset of these enhancers become accessible following DNA damage indicating that p53 regulates their activity, in part, by modulating chromatin accessibility. The recognition and activation of enhancer elements located within inaccessible chromatin may contribute to the ability of the p53 network to function across the diverse chromatin landscapes of different tissues and cell types. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


Scott T Younger, John L Rinn. p53 regulates enhancer accessibility and activity in response to DNA damage. Nucleic acids research. 2017 Sep 29;45(17):9889-9900

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PMID: 28973438

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