Journal article

The elusive role of mitotic bookmarking in transcriptional regulation: Insights from Sox2

The ability of some transcription factors to remain bound to specific genes on condensed mitotic chromosomes has been suggested to play a role in their rapid transcriptional reactivation upon mitotic exit. We have recently shown that SOX2 and OCT4 remain associated to mitotic chromosomes, and that depletion of SOX2 at the mitosis-G1 (M-G1) transition impairs its ability to maintain pluripotency and drive neuroectodermal commitment. Here we report on the role of SOX2 at the M-G1 transition in regulating transcriptional activity of embryonic stem cells. Using single cell time-lapse analysis of reporter constructs for STAT3 and SOX2/OCT4 activity, we show that SOX2/OCT4 do not lead to more rapid transcriptional reactivation in G1 than STAT3, a transcription factor that is excluded from mitotic chromosomes. We also report that only few endogenous target genes show decreased pre-mRNA levels after mitotic exit or in other cell cycle phases in the absence of SOX2 at the M-G1 transition. This suggests that bookmarked SOX2 target genes are not differently regulated than non-bookmarked target genes, and we discuss an alternative hypothesis on how mitotic bookmarking by SOX2 and other sequence-specific transcription factors could be involved in transcriptional regulation.


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