Trithorax proteins and long-intergenic noncoding RNAs are critical regulators of embryonic stem cell pluripotency; however, how they cooperatively regulate germ layer mesoderm specification remains elusive. We report here that HoxBlinc RNA first specifies Flk1+ mesoderm and then promotes hematopoietic differentiation through regulation of hoxb pathways. HoxBlinc binds to the hoxb genes, recruits Setd1a/MLL1 complexes, and mediates long-range chromatin interactions to activate transcription of the hoxb genes. Depletion of HoxBlinc by shRNA-mediated knockdown or CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genetic deletion inhibits expression of hoxb genes and other factors regulating cardiac/hematopoietic differentiation. Reduced hoxb expression is accompanied by decreased recruitment of Set1/MLL1 and H3K4me3 modification, as well as by reduced chromatin loop formation. Re-expression of hoxb2-b4 genes in HoxBlinc-depleted embryoid bodies rescues Flk1+ precursors that undergo hematopoietic differentiation. Thus, HoxBlinc plays an important role in controlling hoxb transcription networks that mediate specification of mesoderm-derived Flk1+ precursors and differentiation of Flk1+ cells into hematopoietic lineages. Hoxb genes play a critical role in mesoderm and hematopoietic development. Deng et al. find that HoxBlinc RNA specifies hemangiogenic/cardiogenic mesoderm and promotes hematopoietic development by upregulating hoxb gene expression. HoxBlinc acts as a regulator of chromatin loop structure by guiding Setd1a/MLL1 to hoxb genes to control lineage-specific transcription.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)