Pluto Bioinformatics

GSE151015: The transcription factor EGR2 is the molecular linchpin connecting STAT6 activation to the stable epigenomic program of alternative macrophage polarization

Bulk RNA sequencing

Macrophages polarize into functionally distinct subtypes while responding to microenvironmental cues. The identity of proximal transcription factors (TFs) downstream of the polarization signals are known, but their activity is typically transient, failing to explain the long-term, stable epigenomic programs developed. Here, we mapped the early and late epigenomic changes of interleukin-4 (IL-4)-induced alternative macrophage polarization. We identified the TF, Early Growth Response 2 (EGR2), bridging the early-transient and late-stable gene expression program of polarization. EGR2 is a direct target of IL-4-activated STAT6, having broad action indispensable for 77% of the induced gene signature of alternative polarization, including its autoregulation and a robust, downstream TF cascade involving PPARG. Mechanistically, EGR2 binding results in chromatin opening and the recruitment of chromatin remodelers and RNA-polymerase II. Egr2 induction is evolutionarily conserved during alternative polarization of mouse and human macrophages. In the context of tissue resident macrophages, Egr2 expression is most prominent in the lung of a variety of species. Thus, EGR2 is an example of an essential and evolutionarily conserved broad acting factor, linking transient polarization signals to stable epigenomic and transcriptional changes in macrophages. SOURCE: Laszlo Halasz ( - Nagy Lab Johns Hopkins University

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